Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I don't normally talk of such things, but what else is there.

The House of Eggerts is covered in snot. Well, maybe not the ENTIRE house, but the boy and I to be sure. I’m not sick. YET. But covered in contaminated baby snot makes it a pretty sure thing. I’m like dead woman walking over here.

So last night was atrocious because of said snot. I finally gave up on trying toget Noah back to sleep at 3 am and took him downstairs. Not before shooting death rays at a peacefully sleeping Mark. Don’t get me wrong – I know he has to get some sleep because he has work in the morning and can’t join in on one of his bosses naps. But in the middle of the night I couldn’t quite get that reasoning to quell the thoughts of “Damn him for sleeping.” But Mark’s time was soon to come. At 3:45 am our power went out. And though I might take full responsibility for caring for an awake sickly baby in the middle of the night I wasn’t about to do it in the dark. So I woke him up so he could find the candles, lighters and flashlights. Fun stuff.

I called the pediatrician who after being told he was still eating and didn’t have a temperature told me to just let him drip it out. Well, my words – not hers, but you get the drift. My mom said to put some Vicks on the boy, but the pediatrician advised against it. She told me to just keep using the humidifier and put a pillow under his crib mattress so he’s on an incline. She said if he gets real bad I could give him some Benadryl.

I have plans to go downtown today in two hours to watch them light up the Christmas tree at City Hall. I can’t decide whether to abandon them or not. On one hand I don’t know if being outside will be detrimental to the boy, on the other he could use the distraction, as could I. He’s awfully sleepy though and is having napping problems because when I lay him down he can’t breath right. Maybe leaving the house with him would be a nightmare, or maybe he’d blissfully fall asleep upright in his stroller. What say you?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Noah news, Bella praises and Nicole desperation

I haven’t been reporting too much Noah news so I must rectify that first thing. He’s started doing a couple of really sweet things that make me smile. We listen to music nonstop during the day and he’s always enjoyed it. When he’d like a particular song he’d bounce up and down a bit, but now he’s started dancing by spinning in circles. If a song comes on the stereo that he particularly enjoys he’ll go stand in front of it and start spinning. I have to say that he seems to favor The White Stripes, The Beatles and other rockin’ fare – though Mark thinks that Noah’s song choice is based on my reactions. He’s also starting to cuddle and kiss more – at the moment that’s still focused almost exclusively on me (though he loves to pat Mark on the back), but soon I’m sure he’ll branch out more. His version of kissing is still coming at me with a wide open mouth going “Ahhhh” as if he plans to swallow my head. Noah’s ongoing mouth fixation is still in full effect as one of the few words he says is “teeth.” He uses it interchangeably to refer to teeth and the toothbrushes he loves to carry around with him and chew on. In fact Mark and I keep losing our toothbrush because I tend to give Noah the one on the sink to occupy him while I’m trying to blow dry my hair in the morning. He’s also been enjoying throwing balls lately. He tosses them vehemently on the floor in front of him with a “Gah!” He’s also really digging the band in a box set I got him at Toys R Us. Last night after dinner the three of us spent a great deal of time sitting on the kitchen floor kicking out the jams on maracas, the tambourine and drums. And last but not least in our chain of Noah facts is that he’s been using his scrunched up, squinty, smiley face a lot more to express his excitement. I have to catch it on film so I can post it. It’s both super cute and odd.

What else to report? We’ve been busy, but oddly I can’t remember what blogworthy things I can share. Yesterday Noah and I went out to Ldale for a playdate with The Milliceccobachs. Patrice made us a lovely lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup and sugar cookies – and we went to a little playground right by their house. The kids really loved the slide and Noah spent some time just walking around the basketball court and playing with a found basketball (obviously infected with killer cooties) until he rolled over the ball and in some unimaginable way got a brush burn below his nose and nowhere else. Then we chilled in Bella’s playroom for awhile where unfathomably Noah began playing with one of the toys he has at home and never touches rather than the scores of things he’s never seen before. And I have to gush about Baby Bella. She is an adorably chatty little thing – SO advanced verbally that it’s amazing. She’s a sweet smiley ray of sunshine – and the best playdate goin’.

I keep listing things in my head that I haven’t gotten around to blogging about but now I’ve got nothing. In regards to comments on the last post – Missuz J gave the invaluable suggestion of taking Noah to the library to get out of the house when it is cold. Brilliant! Lonnna mentioned Mickey D’s – however the urban McDonalds tend to be a bit unclean and often house a cast of unsavory characters which is probably why most of them don’t have Playlands. I’ve also decided that the Ikea showroom would be a fun place to roam too. It’ll be like visiting other people’s homes but without the hosts.

Oh. I keep forgetting about my coffee shop encounter last week. Noah and I went to Canvas Coffee shop in Fishtown more for the out-of-houseness then the lovely cranberry muffin and Chai Latte we enjoyed. The only other customers there were a tall thin woman and her precociously cute blonde ringleted daughter who greeted us when we entered by exclaiming “Look! It’s a mama and a baby!” The little girl was ALL over Noah, completely enchanted with him and instantly in his face. To the point that Noah backed up and clung to my leg while she got nose to nose with him. She looked and sounded about six, but was in fact 4 and a half. The mom explained that her husband was French and they just moved to Fishtown from France (as you do…) and that they hadn’t really met many people yet which is why the little girl was SO desperate for attention. I talked a little bit about the neighborhood and the local parks and then gave her my email address and phone number should she be interested in going to the park or something. And after they left I realized that there is NO WAY to offer your contact information to a complete stranger on first meeting without seeming completely desperate. THIS is why I hated dating.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Loosened belt

The holiday weekend was a whirlwind. Here’s a quick recap before I go downstairs to stare blankly at the TV for an hour before I go to bed. On Thanksgiving Day we spent the afternoon at my Dad and Oma’s place eating “nibbles” and a small and quick taste of their turkey, ham and fixings with my brother Jim’s family. Then we moved on to Mom’s place where we ate another gut busting meal with my stepfather, Aunt Jill and my in-laws. The food was fantastic at both venues and there was plenty of love and attention for the boy as he walked about in circles marveling at all the folks. The boy, the folks and the love – these are the things for which I am most thankful. Friday we hosted our second annual Black Friday Leftover Potluck – which was poorly attended but still a blast with the best and the brightest – by which I mean Ms. Bella. Again we stuffed ourselves silly. Saturday we took the boy to Lowes and a pet store for no other reason but to run down his energy. I imagine this to be what most of my winter days will consist of – finding someplace I can take Noah to let him run free for a bit. That evening Mark and I watched Palindromes, which was demented, sad and wrong – but brilliant. Todd Solondz is a sick weirdo and a genius. You can’t beat his depictions of the frail and the flawed. Today we had breakfast at Silk City diner, Mark cleaned out the car and turned Noah’s car seat forward facing, we went to the park to enjoy the warm spell and I finally finished the thank you notes for Noah’s birthday.

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday – feeling thankful to be spending their time with favorite people in favorite places eating favorite foods.

I have to add that as of late I am horribly, horribly behind in my email correspondence. If you’ve written me recently and I haven’t gotten back to you, please know that it’s weighing on me heavily and I will be in touch very soon. And with that I am off to do nothing for an hour because I NEED to.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ties that bind

I went to Quizzo last night. It was great being out with friends in an adult setting - well, as adult as these folks can be. Is it surprising the table containing the Quizzmaster's bedmate won? I think not. Alas when I returned home at 11:45 pm I was greeted by Mister Mark and Master Noah - who had already been up for a half hour. It was a rough night for all. And morning too. But I'll bore you with those details later. Maybe. Right now I only have a second to pop something on this page and not feel negligent in my duties one more day.

I wrote the following little article for our local neighborhood newsrag. Though it's typically delivered to our front door step, last week I never got a copy. Noah and I stopped by their office yesterday to pick it up and were flaberghasted to find our photo on the front cover as a teaser for the special section on "Family." We're STARS.

The Importance of Family
By Nicole Eggerts

Like so many others my age, I grew up in a disjointed family. My parents split when I was five, and with the divorce began a legacy of half-siblings, ex-step-parents and general confusion about how I was related to some of these folks. Family doesn’t exactly seem like the ties that bind when you grow up related to a vast assortment of people you never see, and I’ve often taken my family for granted. Last year that changed in a way I didn’t anticipate.

My husband Mark and I started our own family unit a year ago when our son Noah was born. His presence has changed our lives wholesale. Every day starts bright and early with his smiling toothy grin, and is measured in new learning, giggles and hugs. Now we consider his needs and well-being in every thing we do, and we try not only to shape him into a smart, loving adult but also to make his world a good place to grow up. When I started thinking about Noah’s future, the importance of family became clear. Mark and I benefit from each pair of helping hands, and Noah benefits immeasurably from the involvement of others.

The African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” often is used to explain why community is an important resource for a child, and it applies equally to the importance of making the most of an extended family. Each loving, involved person in Noah’s life is a gift, a resource and a potential source of confidence. As a mother I feel it is my responsibility to populate Noah’s village by valuing and nurturing the relationships he has with our family members. I make an effort to have Noah spend time with any relative who shows an interest in being a part of his life. I involve our family in Noah’s world every day, providing access to pictures, stories and developmental updates via my website. And I let family members know that we value the impact they can have on Noah’s life, whether they are half-, step-, once removed or far away.

In some cases, this mission to restore and grow our family bonds required me to set aside old issues that caused rifts in my relationships; it also reminds me to ignore some of the formerly bothersome quirks each of us has and appreciate each family member as a valuable asset. The process has had a positive outcome for me as well. I’m learning to let old problems fade away and savor the positives in my past and in the people in my life. I believe that on Noah’s path he’ll gain different things from each caring person, things that Mark and I as parents may not be able to give him at any given moment—a different perspective, additional knowledge, a sympathetic ear, a helping hand.

Preserving family bonds is sometimes difficult, but the payoffs are huge for us and our children. So during the holidays if Grandma is being a bit of a pill but her love for your child is clear, the cousins are dying to see the kids but you don’t feel like trekking out to the hinterlands, or you’ve fallen out of touch with your brother because of distance or laziness—think about the impact on your village.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I like plain Rice Krispies with a little sugar on top and I don't drink the milk.

We saw THREE movies this weekend. Crazy! Yesterday we went to the THEATER to see Goblet of Fire. “It was Potterrific!” The otherworldly escapism was just what I needed. I’m amazed at the level of quality they’ve maintained for the series. I really think I like each one a little more than the last. The only weirdness is that steamy 17 yo Rupert Grint looks about as close to 14 as he does 50. What are they gonna do for the next three films? Friday and Saturday night we watched Netflix movies we’ve had lying around the house for nearly two months. I totally recommend the Italian film “I’m not scared” but wouldn’t say the same for “Bride and Predjudice” – visually stunning (not just Aishwarya Rai) and a cool idea to combine Bollywood and Pride and Prejudice but would’ve helped loads had they had a less crap Darcy.

Saturday we went to Franklin Fountain for Francesca’s birthday party. Noah, Mark and I shared a Mt. Vesuvius sundae – vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, brownies, whip cream and malted powder. YUM. Only problem – not enough fudge. Course I prefer more fudge than ice cream so I’m ALWAYS saying that. If I had known Franklin Fountain existed while I was pregnant I would have gained 90 pounds. It was a beautiful crispy sunshiney day and it was nice to get out of the house briefly. It should be no surprise that Noah spent the first half of the birthday party clinging and the second half running back and forth in the ice cream parlor. That afternoon I mopped the kitchen and Mark started on weatherizing our home. Unfortunately he did SUCH a good job putting that sealant tape around the door to keep out drafts that when he was finished we couldn’t get the door shut. Oops.

So now more on our trip to the movies. As I mentioned, I LOVED the movie, and once it started I was nowhere but Hogwarts. But on the way to the theater I was a horrible clenched up ball of anxiety and sadness. I said to Mark “WHAT is wrong with me that I’m so freaked out about leaving my son with my mother for three hours when I know she’s more than capable of caring for him and he’s probably going to have a great time?” Mark was nice enough to say there wasn’t anything WRONG with me, that I just was worried that Noah would get upset and I wouldn’t be there to comfort him. And Mark was dead right. The way I think of it is that as his mother and his primary caretaker it is my job to fulfill his needs, and in the instances when I can’t fill a particular need (like the need to eat a crayon or stick his finger in a socket) that I should at the very least be there to comfort him. He trusts me to do so and it’s of the utmost importance to me to preserve that trust. So when it’s time for me to be away from him during his waking hours I have this horrible fear that there will be a moment when he’ll really need me, really want me for comfort and I won’t be there – and he’ll feel abandoned, betrayed. And not only will our bond be weaker but his perception of his world will be altered. A little over the top, right? I KNOW. I’m just explaining my thought process which I think has some small truth to it, even if it’s a bit overinflated and overdramatic. I can go to the movies and leave the boy with his Grandma and he’ll have a wonderful time and all will be well. And is well. But this is where my head goes when I’m driving away. This same feeling is what prevents me from leaving Noah to cry it out. As it is now, Noah KNOWS I will be there for him because I ALWAYS am – and I’m not comfortable changing that quite yet. Sure, learning to self comfort is part of growing up, but I don’t think he’s ready for it quite yet. And I know I’m not. And of course I need to end by saying that all kids and parents are different – and there are just as many “RIGHT” ways to do things as there are flavors of breakfast cereal. You can share in my box and eat it as is, top it with bananas or go get your own. Thanks for your comments and support.

A true sign of impending holiday cheer - they were hanging the snowflakes on Market Street on Saturday afternoon.  Posted by Picasa

The Eggerts men man the door at the Franklin Fountain - a super cute ice cream parlor at 116 Market Street.  Posted by Picasa

What a bunch of soda jerks! Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 18, 2005

Not quite practically perfect in every way.

I have a million more important things I should be doing. But I can’t stand not blogging every weekday. It’s seriously causing me stress. Weird, right? While I have been a little more busy lately with some freelance work, errands and whatnot the real thing keeping me from blogging is Noah. There was a time, just a few short weeks ago, when he was content occasionally playing with something on the floor by my feet while I checked email or got some things done around the house. That time has passed. Now he doesn’t want to stay penned into the office with me, he wants to run around. And that constant activity requires near constant supervision which means I’m not getting crap done while he’s awake. And then when he finally naps I have things to do, which sometimes includes sleeping because his night sleep has been so patchy. So that is the story with my reduced blogging. Maybe once we fall into a new pattern I’ll get better. I hope. Honestly I’m feeling a bit rundown this week and in serious need of some ME time.

And because I need ME time, and I’m (as I’ve mentioned) a total dork – this past Monday I bought tickets to see Harry Potter on Sunday. The last movie Mark and I went to go see at the theater was Charlie & The Chocolate Factory – and maybe SOMEDAY I may have interest in going to see something slightly more adult. Which causes me to mention that today I bought Mary Poppins on DVD. I’ve been hungering for it as of late as a result of a recent blog conversation. We went to Toys R’ Us to exchange a couple of Noahs’ birthday gifts and rather than just spending our store credit I went a little nuts and picked up more than I needed. I’ll blame it on a customer service faux pas, my poor math and retail therapy. I hope Noah has some genuine interest in some of the toys we got – otherwise it’s just more clutter.

Tomorrow we go to Franklin Fountain (think Grandees) to celebrate Francesca’s first birthday with her family. I’ve been thinking about having a sundae all week. Yum… fudge. At least they better have fudge. I hate when a place only has chocolate syrup on their sundaes and not thick, warm, rich fudge. There should be some sort of law against that.

And now I have a little bit of a rant brought on in part by this article, and in part by some well meaning advice from my Mom. (Hi Mom! Love you.) I don’t like Ferberizing and I don’t like Cry-it-out. And that may make me a clingy, oversentimental mother who is depriving herself of sleep needlessly – but so be it. I’ve done MORE than enough reading and listening about parenting methods and everyone (including myself and Mark) is going to have to have faith that though I might not be doing what is considered by one or the majority to be “the best method,” I AM adhering to what is best for me, and what I think is best for Noah. At the moment I don’t have the heart to turn a deaf ear on the cries of my son. Some day in the not too distant future I may decide enough is enough and abandon the boy in his room to weep his head off, but it ain’t gonna be today. ‘Nuff said.

‘Kay. I best go do something useful for the four remaining minutes before Noah awakes. Have a good weekend y’all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Noah's waiting patiently for me to stop putting on my damn lipstick and get on the road.  Posted by Picasa

That's where I'm a viking!

Last night was a bad night. Originally there had been plans for me to go out with some friends for Quizzo, but only one person remembered. When Brian called I decided it was probably best I not go out. Noah had been a bit cranky all day, drooling a lot and feeling a bit warm so I had the hunch that he might not go to bed on time for me to make it the bar. It was a good hunch. My plan for the evening after Quizzo fell through was to work on Thank You notes, watch Amazing Race and get to bed early. I started trying to put Noah to bed shortly before 8 pm, and finally completed the task at 10. Whenever it takes that long for me to get him to sleep I end up feeling totally frustrated and last night was certainly no exception. I was too tired to work on notes and I was REALLY pissed off when I realized Amazing Race wasn’t on because of the damned CMAs. (I could go off on a rant here about how much I HATE contemporary country music, big hats, Americana, trucks and macho men but I’ll spare you.) I putzed around for an hour and went to bed at 11. At 1 am Noah woke up crying. For an hour I tried to get him back to sleep, and for an hour he fussed. At 2 I decided we best leave the room so Mark could get some decent sleep. We went into Noah’s room and for the next two hours he pulled the entire contents of the room apart. He emptied nearly every drawer and every cabinet on to the floor and giddily spread it around while I sat half comatose on the floor trying to keep my eyes open. At 4 I was finally able to settle him down and get him to sleep in the guest bedroom so Mark wouldn’t wake us when he got up at 6:30 to get ready for work. When we woke up at 8:30 I was feeling pretty strung out. It was looking to be a long day. Surprisingly I’m not feeling quite as zombified as I had expected. It’ll probably hit me tomorrow morning.

As you know I had built up Francesca’s birthday luncheon as some sort of grand event. Those who know me will attest to the fact that I seldom wear makeup. I’m not skilled at applying it and I honestly don’t like the way it feels on my (bad) skin. Whenever I ‘ve tried to wear more makeup I’ve felt like a clown. Before Noah I’d wear a bit of powder to mask some of my shininess, an occasional coat of nude lipstick and when going out on the town some mascara. Since Noah was born I’ve probably put on mascara less than ten times, and I’m normally too busy running around the house getting a diaper bag ready for me to even find my powder. But TODAY I put on powder, lipstick AND mascara, so you can tell I was worried about making a good impression on the other moms. I carefully picked out my v-neck black sweater that is like 5 years old but still my favorite, a pair of black pants and my clunky loafers. (I decided after looking at photos from the party that my only new sweater was decidedly unflattering since it accentuated my lumpy midsection.) I even put on a necklace AND perfume - which I never wear because I’m worried it will bother Noah. Of course it was all a ridiculous waste of time. There were only two other moms there that I didn’t know and we were all so busy with our kids that I barely got to talk to them. Noah was the only walker in total takeoff exploration mode so I was alone in having to repeatedly chase my child all the way through the house to the kitchen. The other kids actually played together and with toys while Noah stared, pointed and then went on walkabout. Ho hum. Maybe I need to join some sort of Mommy and Me group to meet other moms – but honestly I don’t know if I care to wear lipstick that often.

It seems pretty obvious at this point that Noah is shy. In a new place with new people it takes him quite a bit of time for him to warm up. He spends a great deal of time clinging and watching. Mark worries about it – he doesn’t’ want his son to be as introverted and lonely as he felt as a child. He wants to know what we can do to prevent it. I told him I don’t think there’s much we can do. Sure, we can make sure to get Noah in social situations so that he’s not afraid of other kids and we can instill him with self confidence by lavishing him with love, but I still think his reserved manner in new situations is a part of his innate personality. I’m not at all worried about it. Once he opens up he’s a real charmer with a smile that melts hearts. And I always preferred the shy, smart boys anyhow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Mailings, Mommy dates and Monsters

A tip for the wise: when preparing media kits to be sent to press make sure to check that the folders FIT in the mailing envelopes before you label them all. Duh. And that my friends is what makes me a professional. I’m happy to say however that the salon press kits are complete and will be off in the mail the moment the boy awakes from his nap. I’m not gonna post our work product, but you can check out an article on the salon here. Now I have a break on that front until after the holiday, when my follow-up calling will begin. I can finally get around to doing the thank you notes for Noah’s birthday gifts. And even more mailing fun will ensue! Christmas cards are already on my radar too. I have to get the ball rolling on an executable idea, design, order and mailing list or I’ll be mailing them in February.

Noah’s pal Francesca turns one next week. Her mom is holding a Mommy luncheon tomorrow at her home. Maybe I’ll meet someone interesting for future play dates. Someone cool, but not too cool to hang with me. Someone smart and interesting but not so smart and interesting they think I’m a dullard. Someone funny who needs someone to laugh at their jokes. Someone who lives nearby and is home with their one year old but doesn’t fit the quintessential SAHM mold. Maybe I’ll meet Mrs. Mommy Right. I’m such a DORK. I’m already stressed out about making a good impression and not having anything to wear. There isn’t much I can do on the wardrobe front anyway so I don’t know why I bother. I have to remind myself that one of hidden savings in staying home with Noah is clothes and I can’t really go out and buy a bunch of new outfits despite the fact that all I have now are old T shirts and holey stretched out sweaters. I’ll have to live by my cardinal rule: when in doubt wear black. Even if it’s just a stretched out long sleeved T. Still tres’ chic. Right?

Time for a Noah tale. One of the gifts Noah received for his birthday was a Hokey Pokey Elmo. And though my first inclination was to send it back to the shrieking pits of hell from whence it came, I figured the boy would probably like it. For some odd reason small children are inexplicably drawn to Elmo like Fishtown teens to Oxycontin. Noah certainly seemed to like the look of Elmo. He kept gesturing towards the box where it was perched on the steps to be taken up to his bedroom. So I activated the hokey pokey mode and kiddie Armageddon ensued. Though initially enchanted by the singing when Elmo MOVED Noah started squealing in abject horror. He turned beet red, screaming and crying – honesty afraid for his life. The only other time I saw this severe a reaction is when he put his hand in the Halloween candy bowl at Party City and the withered plastic corpse hand touched him. The cashier had to move the bowl under her register before I could get him to calm down enough so that we could finish our transaction. Needless to say we’ve put Hokey Pokey Elmo away for the time being.

Monday, November 14, 2005

This babies made for walkin'

The following are some action photos taken in the last week. Walking the dog. Walking in the park. Walking in the woods. As you can see Noah is ALL into this walking business. He wants to GO and GO. It makes me feel bad trapping him into smaller playzones with gates - especially after he spent his entire visits to both my Mom and Dad's place walking around their houses in circles.

This weekend we taught Noah how to go down steps backwards. I figured it was safer then just trying to prevent him from throwing himself head first down the four steps from the kitchen to the dining room. It only took a couple times walking him through it (get down on the floor, move your knees down, now your feet, now your hands) before he got it. I am constantly amazed by his capacity to learn and master new tasks. At what age do we lose that? I wish I could still learn as quickly as a one year old. Of course I'm potty trained - so I'm still a few steps ahead of him.

Noah hasn't been showing any interest in playing with toys, he'd rather run in circles and pull things out of cabinets. The only exception to this rule is THIS dog. He received it as a birthday gift from Carol who lives across the street. She stopped by with it after I merely mentioned that he was about to turn one - so sweet. She's a practicing Grandma who obviously knows her stuff because Poochie and Noah were in love at first sight. Patrice and I were in disbelief today when we realized that both Bella and Noah were in love with this same dog. Great minds think alike. Posted by Picasa

Time to take the pooch for a walk.  Posted by Picasa

Chillin' on the playground.  Posted by Picasa

Mark took this photo in the park on Saturday. We've been going to the park almost every day, trying to allow Noah to savor every last moment of outdoor life before we are trapped in the house. I'm already worried he's going to be like a caged animal.  Posted by Picasa

We took a walk in the woods with Grandma on Friday.  Posted by Picasa

A soakin' wet Noah after his first experience with a mud puddle.  Posted by Picasa

When the blog lifted

I get anxious when I don’t blog regularly. I feel like I’m out of my routine. That there is yet another thing I'm not getting around to doing. That I’m falling out of touch with the world around me. I also just miss it. Miss taking the opportunity to take a step back from the daily goings on and my inner workings, to think about them, to sum them up.

I’ve been real busy for the last week. A combination of missed naps, freelance work, family obligations and household chores have prevented me from blogging. And I can’t really blog too much today either since oddly the man pounding on our roof at full force is a bit distracting to even the sleepiest of one year olds. But I wanted to let you know I was thinking about blogging and writing lots of entries in my head. And hopefully soon I’ll get something down. Or at the very least some new pictures posted.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The only cure for cranky is busy

I think I need to call FEMA to help us with our post-party cleanup. I can’t get it together to attack the danger zones – both because I’m tired and busy. Noah has been really, very cranky and high maintenance the last couple of days. Uncharacteristically so. I think we can lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of teething, or maybe demonic possession. If he is fully engaged in something he’s fine, but the moment he isn’t 100% focused he’s a mess. And he's so easily frustrated. When he’s like this the best thing to do is to get him out of the house. The only break in a really LONG, weepy Monday was an hour and a half watching the boy teeter around the playground equipment at Liberty Lands Park. And it’s official that he’s a little boy now and not a baby. He’s already climbing up and over the equipment, going down the slide and playing happily in the dirt. It made me both proud and sad to watch him.

Since our outing on Monday was our only crankiness break I decided that on Tuesday we should go to the zoo. The warm, sunny fall days are on their way out, and I intend to make the best of them before my energetic little boy is trapped in the house by the blustery cold. The zoo trip turned out to be a very wise decision – Noah was so captivated by the animals and the people that he forgot he was miserable. We hopped a trolley just before 11 am and hung out at the zoo for three hours. We watched a plethora of primates, a bevy of birds, and a smattering of small animals. And Noah seemed to enjoy our trip even more than the last time. Now he walked around, stood in front of the displays, pointing and grunting – trying to make eye contact with the nearby older children and point them in the direction of the lemurs. I felt kind of bad for him because he obviously wanted to connect with these older kids but they paid him no mind because he’s so little. He toddled around the primate house walking up to four year old boys who nearly mowed him over. Poor little guy. He so badly wants to play with the big kids. Someday… too soon.

Today we went to Julie’s salon to discuss some business and as a bonus Noah got a quick trim. Thank goodness too – he was approaching entry into baby-mulletdom. Julie’s older daughter was at the salon because her school had no water as a result of a water main break. I guess it’s a bad idea to have a hundred or so small children and no operating toilets. It was a blessing though - Noah was so captivated by her four year old beauty that he was quiet while Julie and I had an exciting discussion about media kits.

Tonight I have to run to Staples, pick up some of this hell hole, help take out the garbage and then settle in for Lost. Damn ABC for making us wait two whole weeks for a new episode. I’d like to fool myself into believing that I’ll also start on the thank you notes – but not even I am that delusional.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The hostess with the mostest ridiculous worries.

When we were house hunting I told the realtor I was looking for something with a really open floor plan on the ground floor so that we could entertain. When we walked into our current home we knew immediately it was the right place – you could see from the front door all the way through to the back door. And over the years we’ve thrown two big house parties a year as well as three bridal showers and a wedding rehearsal dinner. But Noah’s birthday party ushered in a new kind of shindig – welcoming family, babies a plenty and our drunkard friends all to one bash. Though it was my original idea to have one party for everyone, as the day got closer I started worrying. That IS what I do best. Would it be too crowded? Would everyone enjoy themselves? Would the older folks be appalled by the behavior of the younger folks? Would the childless be put off by the sheer number of infants in attendance (7!)? Would the in-laws mesh? Would my divorced folks get on okay? Would everyone leave at 9 pm? It was an incredible number of variables. And the morning of the party I was filled with a bit of dread after it took three tries to make coffee and Mark accidentally set off both the car and house alarm. Clearly it was going to be a challenging day.

But GOD I am such a ridiculous worry wart! The first hour Mark and I were a bit harried because we were running behind schedule. The sandwich trays weren’t ready on time so Mark was stuck at the shop waiting for them and I spent a ridiculous amount of time meticulously hanging streamers rather than readying the rest of the food. I lost my chance to freshen up before the party with a shower or even a moment to run a brush through my damn hair – but I have only bad time management to blame for that. But once everyone settled in and started eating, chatting and drinking all was well. I always get a warm feeling in my heart when I see an odd couple talking at one of our parties - my Oma speaking German to Mark’s cousin’s husband Bill, band man Frazier flirting with Mark’s Grandma Laima, my cousin Tammy’s three year old Aelan asking to sit on our friend Audrey’s lap, Jen Oliver playing peek-a-boo in Noah’s new tent. These are the memorable moments at parties. And Noah – he seemed to enjoy himself too. I guess he didn’t get the memo about the birthday boy crying because he observantly checked it all out for a few hours and shortly after began toddling around the floor as if nothing was amiss. Every once in awhile I’d just think “who has my baby?” and I’d spot in the arms of one of the grandparents or a friend. In my opinion it turned out to be a really lovely evening. And it really touches me that to know that Noah has such a large group of people who came out to celebrate him – well, and drink beer. Though the invite said we’d be serving beer til the last guest left, we ran out. Mark advised me we’d never drink a keg and if we bought four cases we’d have plenty to spare. Did he forget who he was dealing with? This crowd drank a lot and didn’t eat enough. People – how dare you leave me here with so much freaking dip? Next time – EAT. Luckily after the beer was gone we had wine and Patty’s cherry vodka to pacify the crowds until the house shut down at 1:30 am. Boy were we beat yesterday. And today for that matter. The house is still in a semi-shambles. If you come over and clean it I will reward you with dip.

Thanks folks. We love you.

He's got post party depression?

I've got to post about the party - but Noah is out of sorts today. Real short tempered and a bit cranky. It seems unquestionably tooth related since he keeps rubbing his mouth. Anyway - have to wait for the afternoon nap to blog more.

In the meantime you can check out JenO's blog and Mr. Frazier's website for some really beautiful photos of the party.

I think Noahpalooza was a success. Thanks to all of you who were here. If you have pictures please pass them on to me - we were too busy hosting to adequately photograph all who attended. Posted by Picasa

It was a really nice turnout - over 50 in family and friends. Hope everyone enjoyed being a part of the close quarters.  Posted by Picasa

Noah needed a little help blowing out his candles. Posted by Picasa

But I'd rather be eating CHEESE.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 04, 2005

To Noah, about your birth

It's Noah's first birthday! And here are some details of the blessed event.

Written November 15, 2004

Dear Noah,

You are a constant surprise. Little did I know that the night I wrote you your first letter, you were already planning your entrance. On Wednesday November 3rd your father and I had vegetarian chili for dinner, watched TV and went to bed around 11:30 pm. At 12:30 am. I woke up wet. My first thought was that I had passed gas in my sleep and peed myself. Classy, huh? I went to the bathroom and when the water kept coming I called to your father. "Mark... Mark... I think my water broke." We were really dumbfounded because you were not due for over two more weeks. I called the doctor's office and they told us to go to the hospital. We gathered our stuff and headed downtown. On the way to the hospital I started getting contractions at about 1 am.

When we got to the preliminary examination ward they hooked you and me up to monitors. My contractions were coming fairly regularly but they weren't too strong, they weren't too close together and I was only 1-2 centimeters dilated. They gave us two options - they could take us over to Labor & Delivery immediately and start me on a pitocin drip to make my contractions stronger and to help me dilate, or they could put us in a room for the night and we could hopefully get some sleep while my contractions hopefully regulated naturally. We opted for the room as I really wanted to have you without many medical interventions unless necessary. Your Dad got a cot and caught Zzss but my contractions were too distracting and I was too nervous and excited to get any sleep.

Early in the morning I got a tray of clear foods (yum!) for breakfast and they moved us over to Labor and Delivery. Unfortunately my contractions were still not regulated and I was not dilated so they put me on the pitocin drip around 9 am. It was already looking to be a long day since I had technically been in labor for eight hours and not much had changed. It took them three tries to put in my IV, I nearly passed out, and it was one of the worse parts of your delivery. Dad and I played Skipbo and talked. He was very calming, entertaining and patient. By the time Grandma Carol showed up at 1 pm I was in a lot of pain. Grandma was fast and furious with the questions – she wanted to know everything that we going on. The combination of the pain, my lack of sleep, and that the finish line was not in sight caused me to request an epidural after making it through twelve hours of labor without one. I was really afraid of the spinal needle, but at the time the pain was so great I put my fear aside. The epidural went fine and from 2 pm until about 7 pm I was feeling no pain. I tried to doze off a bit but I was too excited.

Because my water had broken they didn't do too many pelvic exams to check how dilated I was, because to do so would introduce possible infection into the birth canal. The many friendly doctors and nurses told me to let them know when I started feeling intense pressure "in your bottom." Though the epidural took away the pain of the contractions it didn't take away the intense pressure created in the pelvis when it got close to the end. I told the staff that I was feeling incredible pressure and they were like "YAY! That is fantastic!" I didn’t feel as exciting as they made it out to be. At 7:30 pm it was go time. Your Dad and Grandmom helped hold my legs while I started trying to push you out. The doctors told me to take breaks, but the pressure was so intense I wanted you out immediately. I didn't yell at your Dad or curse, just grunted and doubted my ability to do it. At one point I was so tired I said "Can't you just go in there and get him?" But I only had to push for 25 minutes, and out you came. They immediately put you on top of me and your Dad cut the cord. You were SO beautiful. Everyone was so stunned at how alert you looked, how healthy, how perfect. I am tearing up just thinking about it. Your father was overwhelmed by the whole experience. He wasn't sure if he was going to be able to watch the whole birth but he was transfixed by it, as was Grandmom. We got you nursing immediately, so we could start you off right and forge that bond. You weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces and were 20 inches long. And though you were born at exactly at 8:00 pm on Thursday, November 4, 2004, just in time to watch Survivor Vanuatu as I had requested, I was too preoccupied with you to watch the show.

We stayed in Pennsylvania Hospital until Saturday morning. Everyone was really great. You had a lot of visitors too - Jen Oliver, Grandpa Joe, Jen McCleaf, Tracey Coyle, Grandpa Martin & Sylvia. Everyone thought you were absolutely precious.

You had a little trouble nursing at first, but only until my milk came in, but the conflicting advice from all the lactation consultants and nurses made me a little edgy. You had a little bit of jaundice so we had to go to the hospital lab and pediatrician the two days after we got home to make sure your billirubin levels didn't get out of control. But for the most part you were perfectly healthy. Your Dad kept needing reassurance that in fact everything was okay.

Those nineteen hours of labor, the stitches, the stretch marks, and the baby pouch - are all trivial inconveniences when I look at you. Your Dad and I fawn over you constantly - your little toes, fingers, mouth and ears. It's not easy to have a newborn - but we are doing pretty well. Your father is, as always, amazing. He gets more sleep during the night so when we nap during the day he takes care of the chores around the house - makes sure we don't want for anything. And he is far better with you than I am when you are crying uncontrollably. He sings you songs and walks the floor with you patiently - when you you are crying and I can't fix it I feel sad and soon we are both crying. Your Dad is SO affectionate with you and SO proud. His father isn't a very affectionate person so it is really miraculous to see your father dote on you. I pray you will always be close - that he will always unabashedly shower you with affection without doubting himself.

You were very sleepy this first week. We call you Count Milkula because you don't seem fond of the light and you nurse a lot. We call you Bee-bo, the Turtle King, Boobert, and other assorted silly names. We haven't been able to figure out how to put you down quite yet. You are always in our arms and I sleep at night with you nestled on my chest like a little marsupial. I have been sleeping propped up a bit with you snuggled in - the position is probably not great for my back, and your Dad isn't getting much cuddling, but just having you there makes my heart melt. And though we have to transition you to sleeping in your co-sleeper bassinet soon, I know I will miss having you sleeping on me. Part of the reason we haven't been able to let you sleep in the bassinet is because you wake yourself up by waving your arms about whenever you are on your back You have remarkable arm strength for a baby and you may be an escapist later in life. Whenever we try to swaddle you, you jerk around until you liberate your hands because you prefer to have them up by your head. You don't suck your thumb, but you have to have your hands in front of your face constantly.

You have another pediatrician appointment tomorrow and we have a million questions - about the rash you have on your butt, your belly button, etc. We are so paranoid that we aren't doing things right but I am sure we will figure it all out.

We found a picture of your Dad at ten days old and I think you look almost identical to him so it will be interesting to see how you look as you grow.

You have changed our lives overnight. The sleeplessness, chaos and lack of social interaction at this point are all very small prices to pay to have something so wonderful to devote our time to.

We love you Noah McCormack Eggerts. We love you unconditionally and forever.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

My boy wants to party all the time.

Running around like a mad woman the last couple of days. Been to Party City to order balloons and buy brightly colored paper products, Payless to size the little man for shoes (‘tween a 3 and a 4), Melrose Diner to order the cake, BJs to purchase mass quantities of veggies, cheese and soda, and Children’s Place to buy my cousin’s daughter a birthday present. Now all we have to do is pick up the cake, balloons, hoagie trays and keg on the big day. Oh, and hang streamers. I have no idea why I bought streamers. They never look nice unless you hire a streamer hanging professional. We’ve also been trying to concentrate on straightening room by room with the actual scrubbing set aside for tomorrow and party prep and pickup for Saturday. Mark is off tomorrow both for Noah’s one year check-up and to clean. I’m hoping to squeeze in a celebratory breakfast at Silk City Diner before we spend the day vacuuming, mopping and swiffering.

Thanks so much for all the comments on Noah’s first letter. They meant a lot to me. I’m planning on posting the letter I wrote to Noah about his birth and I also hope to post about Noah’s one year check-up. But party gets time priority – so we shall see.

I hope everyone has a good time. Though it’s really more of an adult house party as opposed to a baby birthday, in attendance will be an interesting mix of family and friends. It’s both exciting and scary to think about your friends having to interact with your Oma – especially if one or both of them are drinking. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Enjoying the last few sunny warm days of November. Posted by Picasa

I took the boy to the park to go on the swings and the jungle gym, but all he wanted to do was run in circles, point at things and push his stroller around.  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

To Noah in utero

I wrote this letter to Noah on Wednesday, November 3 2004. That night after I went to bed my water broke and Noah was born 15 days early.


You're almost here, and we are SO thrilled. Our lives are going to change radically the moment you enter this world and we couldn't be more ready. We're a little nervous too , but I believe that often the most worthwhile decisions in life are also the scariest to make.

This is my first letter to you and I hope to keep up with these occasionally though out the course of your life so you’ll always have reminders of your past and of how much you were loved and thought of.

Your Dad and I knew from early on that we wanted to have a family some day. As we were both raised alone as only children from broken homes, we both envisioned having a large loving and affectionate family with two parents and several children who really enjoy being together, even when they're driving each other a bit crazy (as family does).

So in July of 2003 we 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 you were on your 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. After several months of charting my cycle and disappointing outcomes, on March 11th I found out I was finally pregnant. The funny thing was that I had done a pregnancy test a few days earlier and it came back negative. But when I still hadn't gotten my period after a few more days I decided to take another one on a whim. Your Dad was already at work when I got a positive result. I went to work beaming and from my cubicle I called your Dad. "I have a HUGE surprise for you. Guess what it could be?" I said. And your Dad cautiously said he didn't know. I said "It's what you’re afraid to guess" and instantly he knew. We were both SO excited. We met for a long lunch at an Italian restaurant across the street from his office to celebrate.

In terms of my early pregnancy, I was really blessed with few symptoms. I would get a bit nauseated if I wasn't eating constantly, but I had no serious morning sickness. I had cravings for almost everything – and I developed a sweet tooth like I had never known before. I could eat chocolate constantly and could not pass up a single dessert. I had a couple of weeks where I wanted to eat nothing but large bowls of carbs - buttered noodles, rice, macaroni & cheese or mashed potatoes. I was going to prenatal yoga the first couple of months and generally felt really good. Unfortunately the acid reflux I've always had soon caught up with me and it was even worse than usual. I had to start avoiding yoga because bending brought acid into my esophagus. I just dealt with it until I reached my third trimester when one of my doctors's put me back on reflux meds. By then I was too big to bend.

We were really concerned about you for a couple of months during the pregnancy. 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 SO pleased that you 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 your heart during the ultrasound. She told me many times that it was nothing to worry about but that they had seen a small bright spot in your heart and on the very slim chance that it was a signifier of a chromosomal disorder that they would want 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, your father and I discovered the bright spot or "echogenic focus" they saw in your heart 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 your 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 your 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 you 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 your ultrasound just increased the possibility that you 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. Your Dad and I talked about it a lot and because an amnio holds a risk for miscarriage, and because finding out if you had Downs Syndrome would not effect our decision to keep you - I felt really strongly that it was not necessary to have the amnio. My mom 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 you having Downs Syndrome and our feeling that we would have you 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 small handful of people 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 you a high risk birth - but both of them saw no negative signs - in fact both the bowel and heart cleared up. And though as your father said "Whatever you have in there is ours and we will love him regardless," we are very hopeful that you will make your entrance into this world with your health.

It seemed to take forever to come up with your name. If you were a girl we had quickly decided that your name would be Muriel - after your late grandmother. But we were having big problems with boy names. We wanted something old and traditional but not something too common or too odd. We would add names to a list and then remove them. We would feel almost decided on something and then suddenly decide we didn't like it. Noah was the only one that stood the test of time and when we told people we were thinking of Noah, there was almost always a positive reaction. Of course we considered that you'd be overwhelmed with references to the arc and Noah Wylie of ER - but decided the name was a good one and the right one.

By September I was already HUGE. And I was getting more and more anxious for you to come out. The first week of September your Dad's best friend Ed came to help paint the nursery. Your first room was sunlight yellow, lime, and poolside blue. I wanted to give you bright vibrant colors and not boring pastels. Of course our friend Tracey instantly told me it was too bright, you'd never sleep, and that you'd have to constantly wear sunscreen.

It was really a blessing for me to share my pregnancy with my best friend Patrice. It's nice to have another pregnant lady to complain to about pains and mood swings and to daydream and plan with. You will always be just a little younger than Bella Milligan, and I hope you are lifelong friends too.

Patrice helped Grandmom Carol plan your baby shower. Grandmom totally outdid herself and held a really nice party at an Italian restaurant in King of Prussia. The food was great and there was so much love and excitement about your impending birth. There were 32 people there total - lots of friends and family. You got so many cute outfits and little toys. We could barely fit everything in our car. And with all the stuff Grandmom has been buying since the day she found out I was pregnant it's clear you'll want for nothing. Grandmom really is overwhelmingly excited and helpful. She's constantlyshopping and planning. It's obvious you're going to be one indulged little grandson. She had a nursery set up at her house before we had ours set up. Your Dad and I make jokes that it’s clear that we’re giving birth to her baby and we hope she lets us see you.

In the last few weeks we took classes in everything Pennsylvania Hospital offered. We took Child birthing, Breastfeeding, Baby Care Basics and Infant CPR. Though I had some experience with babies when I was younger, your father has never even changed a diaper. But he is so excited. It really just makes my heart melt to see how thrilled he is to see a baby on the subway or hear a little boy talk to his parents. He is so excited to be a Dad and it makes me tear up to think about how much he already loves you. Even without one day of real practice, I know you have a fantastic father.

On the morning of November 2nd, not only did we think we might end the day with a new president, but also with you. At my 37-week checkup my doctor was concerned that my increased blood pressure and some protein in my urine sample meant that I was developing pre-eclampsia which would put both you and I in danger. So she sent me to the hospital for more monitoring with the off chance that if I did have pre-eclampsia that they would induce labor. My blood pressure went down while monitored and I was scheduled for a follow-up doctors visit on November 2nd - with the knowledge that if my results pointed to pre-eclampsia that they’d induce that day. After going to the polls to vote for John Kerry your Dad and I went to the doctor's office with our hospital bags packed, totally convinced that it could be your day. Happily my test results were good - and they aren't concerned you're suffering any ill effects due to my blood pressure so they decided to let you hang out in there. But it was a bit disappointing to come home afterwards with our bags still packed and without you. In the next couple of weeks up until your due date we might have several doctor visits like this.

I'm home on rest now and I'm eagerly anticipating your arrival. And though I am a bit scared of childbirth, I can't wait to hold you in my arms and to have you join us. Your father and I have so much love, for each other and for you, and I really do feel that will make us good parents. We'll definitely screw-up occasionally because we'll be making things up as we go along (after much research) - but I think our intentions for you to have a wonderful life filled with love, wonder, and promise will outweigh our blunders.

I hope when you read this stuff when you’re older you are able to nod your head and think we did what we set out to do. That you felt loved and cherished not only as an individual but also as part of a close-knit family.

Noah, we can't wait to meet you. I plan to write you again after you've been born - so that you can hear all about the day of your birth. All the gorey, bloody details.

With so much love,
Your mom