Saturday, December 27, 2008

A New Day

For three nights in a row this week, Harry did not nap. Each of those nights, he went to sleep between 6:30 and 7:00 PM with no fighting and slept until 6-7 AM the next morning. Yesterday, he seemed tired, so we let him nap for 90 minutes, from 12:15 to 1:45 PM. That should be early enough not to mess with bedtime, right? HA! He didn't go to be until 9:45 PM and was hell on wheels.

Daddy and I have decided: No more naps. We just cannot abide this late night schedule. He gets worked up and overtired and everyone gets cranky and miserable. The only fly in the ointment is that he sleeps really deeply when he goes down late and is a bit restless in his sleep when he goes down early. We'll take that over the late nights, though. My job has an early schedule (8-4) and I have to be in bed early and up early. We are not night people around here.

So today is a new day. Here is our routine model:

Toddler Schedule - No Naps

7:00 - Wake
7:00/7:30 - Breakfast
9:30 - Light snack
12:00 - Lunch
1:00 - Quiet/Rest time (45 minutes to 1 hour)
3:30 - Afternoon Snack
5:30 - Dinner
6:30 - Begin bedtime routine
7:00 - Bedtime

He was up at 6:45 today, so we are on track. Those of you who know me well, know that I thrive on this kind of stuff. I'm sure some of you have guessed by reading this that I probably have made lists of meal/snack ideas and activity ideas for each part of the day. You are correct. I have had enough of this haphazard life being held hostage to an unpredictable sleep schedule. It's really demoralizing to think at the end of every day, "Ugh. Do we have to do battle tonight? Is he going to fight or give in? Can I handle 3-4 hours of trying to get him to bed?" It is especially hard when he gets worked up and energized when I'm home alone. Pregnant Mama can't take much of that.

We are also changing up his going to sleep routine. No more bedtime video. He can have that for quiet time and after his bath, but bedtime will be rocking and books. Plus, I cannot spend 45 minutes wearing him in a baby carrier to get him to sleep. My back cannot take it. He's not going to like any this, but if we are consistent, I hope we can change. We have 5 days until Irving leaves for SF. They will not be easy. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Harry Joseph, Seventeen Months Old

(Sorry for the late post!)

Dear Harry,

Today almost passed me by without my realizing that you are seventeen months. Time seems like it has either sped up or stood still. I can't tell which. We've all been sick for about a month, off and on. I haven't been "stay-in-bed" sick since before you were born, until this week. It's been rough. You have your usual amount of energy, and it's just Daddy dealing with you. I know he is tired and has a cold too. If you could just slow down a bit, that would be nice. The other day, I was trying to catch a nap and every time I dozed off, you started shrieking as you ran around the house. Happy shrieks, but still, noisy shrieks.

You are such fun to be around, Harry. Everything is exciting to you and you just overflow with joy when you get excited. You've had your first experience playing in the snow, which you thought was delicious. You've gotten into "cooking" and "cleaning" which means a lot of noise and distraction in the kitchen. You are really interested in animals and the sounds you make. You insist that horses say, "moo" no matter what we tell you. It's pretty cute. You love to help yourself to snacks in the kitchen whenever we turn our backs. One of your habits is taking us by the hand and leading us to whatever it is you desire: the refrigerator, the TV, the front door, the computer. You may not say much yet, but you know how to get your point across.

Speaking of words, you have given me the greatest Christmas gift I have ever received. Even better than the 10-speed bike when I was 10 years old. You said "Mama" and gave me a big hug. I know you have been able to say it for many months. You said it at around 8 months and then very infrequently since, and it was rarely specific. It was just part of your babbling on occasion. Now, you say it more each day and you have given it real meaning. I can't think of anything I have ever wanted more. Thank you, sweetie. I hope you are just as happy with your Christmas gifts this year.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Night night, nursies.

Dear Harry,

As I write this, you are doing something we never thought possible: You are letting Daddy put you to sleep. Very suddenly, last Tuesday, November 25, 2008, you weaned yourself from breastfeeding. I'm talking cold turkey, man. You have not asked for it since. You have been very sick with an ear infection and I thought maybe you were refusing to nurse because of pain when you lay down. But nursing has always been your comfort. I've been your "binky" for 16 months. It seemed like you would need me more than ever with your first real illness.

On Tuesday, I was putting you to bed. We laid down and put "Charlie Bird" on the iPod, like always. You were fine through at least "Four Funky Fish Play Fiddle" and then you popped off, sat up and leaned against the bed rail. You sighed and rubbed your eyes. I knew your ear was hurting you, so I sat up and said "Come to Mama." You came and put your head on my shoulder and fell asleep almost instantly. You have never done that. I eased you onto the bed after a few minutes and you stayed put. You didn't nurse all night and have not nursed since.

The next few days were full of illness, the harrowing kind with high fevers and severe congestion. You didn't even want me to comfort you. All you wanted was Daddy. I'll admit that that made me very sad. When you let me hold you, it was for snuggling and sleeping only. No nursies. You spent the better part of 4 nights in my arms while I lay awake listening to your labored breathing. After 3 doctor's visits, you are finally on the mend, but still not nursing.

Last night, you slept with Daddy all by yourself. I haven't slept all night without you next to me since before you were born, but I had only slept an average of 3 hours a night for 4 days and needed some rest. You didn't wake once and were just as pleased to cuddle with him. I never thought I'd see the day.

I had heard terrifying tales of night weaning, involving several nights of crying and fighting, but you did this all on your own. Just like everything you have done - rolling, crawling, walking - once you decide to do it, you just take off. I guess you decided that nursies were "ALL DONE!" (your favorite exclamation) and that you didn't need to look back. I'm still kind of in shock. Keep in mind that, until September when we day weaned you, you were the baby who never went more than 2-3 hours without your milkies. Ever. Never mind what the books and doctors said. At the beginning, we were nursing 12 out of 24 hours a day. Needless to say, we were experts. I thought you would be very tough to wean, since you were so hooked. As usual, you proved me wrong.

I'm very happy I was able to give you the best of what I had for so long. I'm also very sad that it ended before I knew what was happening. I know I've complained about your booby-monster ways, but I really cherished our special time together. You have just grown up so fast that I kind of liked that you were still a baby in that one way.

So, before I start weeping, here is a funny story that really shows just how done you are with this whole breastfeeding thing. The other morning, I was getting out of the shower. Sometimes, you like to come in and say hi to me (and your bath toys). As I wrapped up in my towel, you looked at me and signed "milk." I smiled. You then proceeded to pick up my bra from my pile of clean clothes and hand it to me, as if to say, "Geez, Mom. Put those things away, will ya?" I get it, Harry. "ALL DONE!"


Monday, November 17, 2008

Harry Joseph, Sixteen Months Old

Dear Harry,

This month has been a long one. Between Daddy's audition and gig schedule, you and Mommy have logged many hours alone, both at home and at work. This week, we get to return to normal, which is a huge relief.

You have done some exciting things this month. You have 3 new teeth and are working on a 4th. You started making some new sounds, including some that you haven't made in ages (read: "Mama"). You've had a big growth spurt which makes me think I should have bought more 24 month winter clothes than 18 month clothes. You have spent several hours with your new babysitter (while with me at work) and actually let me and Daddy have lunch out ALONE for the first time in nearly a year. Pretty cool.

You continue to LOVE music like crazy. We finally moved your cello downstairs so you could access it at any time. You like to play it throughout the day and it's funny how you pretend to rosin your bow and turn on your metronome before you start. Also, you like to take it into the kitchen, using the oven door as a mirror, just like in Daddy's practice room.

Speaking of the kitchen, that is your favorite room right now. We got you a new booster seat because I was sick of cleaning your highchair 3-4 times a day. You want to climb in it all by yourself, but you still need help. One thing you can do is climb on the kitchen table. We don't like that. Also, you love to pretend to cook. You have made up your own baby signs for "cooking" and "hot". If I give you a little pot with a few dry noodles and unopened spices, you are in hog heaven. I foresee a play kitchen in your near future.

You have exhibited a bit of a preview of what they call "the terrible twos" already. We have seen full-blown toddler tantrums from you lately. Arching your back and resisting the car seat and stroller. Screaming, crying and throwing things when you don't get your way. It's pretty impressive. I shudder to think how much more we are in for, but I've ordered the book "Raising Your Spirited Child" so we can be prepared.

The other exciting news is that you are going to be a big brother. We are very excited and terrified about becoming parents of two children. We think you will like having a sibling to play with, since you love other kids (that you aren't even related to!) and we didn't want you to be an only child. Considering some of the family dynamics on your Daddy's side of the family, we thought it best that you have a close ally and not be the only grandchild.

You and your brother or sister will be 22 months apart, which is close, but not too close. You will probably not remember this brief time of being an only child and you probably will not understand about the new baby for a long while. But I hope you know that it does not mean that Daddy and I will love you any less. When you add a new member to your family, your heart grows to make room for MORE love, instead of further dividing the love you already have. There is always room for more love. We never knew our hearts could hold so much love until you came. So, when your brother or sister comes, we will be ready this time. And we can't wait to see your heart open up to make room for more love.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bottomless Pete

It's 8 PM on the East Coast. Since Harry woke up at 4 PM, he has eaten the following:

4 oz YoBaby Yogurt, Apple flavor
Roasted chicken, potatoes and green beans
1 Fig Newton
1.5 Raspberry popsicle
.25 cups baby oatmeal with whole milk
1.25 slices of enriched white toast with butter

I don't know what else we can give him tonight, but I think we had better start saving for when he is a teenager.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Vote for Change

(Please note that I'm a life-long, bleeding-heart, liberal Democrat. I respect anyone who disagrees, but this is a personal essay.)

Two years ago on election day, the 2006 mid-term election, I woke up early. I was anxious about voting, even though Massachusetts is always reliably Democrat. I really wanted to see a change in the house and senate and have a Democratic majority so we could send a message to the White House. I was also anxious because it was the day I was supposed to take a pregnancy test. We had been trying for several months with no luck, so I was not optimistic. I certainly didn't feel pregnant.

I got up at 6:00 and decided to test first thing. When the second (positive) line came up, I was floored. Luckily, the test was part of a three pack. I took another. Also positive. I tiptoed back into the bedroom and climbed back into bed. Hubby was listening to NPR. I said to him, "The Democrats are going to take the house and the senate today. Do you know why?" He groggily asked why. I said, "Because I am pregnant." That certainly woke him up.

We went and voted and eagerly watched the returns that night giddy with both our secret, and the election results. The Democrats, indeed, took back the house and senate that day. Our Harry has gone with us to every election since then and election day, always a special day in our house, has taken on a new significance to us because of our memories of 2006.

Yesterday, election day 2008, was probably the most significant, historic election of our lives. So, we thought it was a fitting day to announce that we are expecting our second child. I'm about 13 weeks (3 months) pregnant with our second child, who is due on Mother's Day, 2009. We have always wanted two children, and this one will be just about two years younger than our Harry. We couldn't be more pleased. This will most likely be our last child, so we are trying to enjoy this special time.

With the election results clear this morning, I'm very hopeful about the world that this child will be born into. I hope both our children will grow to understand what these results mean for so many people. I hope they grow up into a world that no longer sees its leaders as black or white, male or female, but as qualified or unqualified. I hope they see that, with the results of this election, anything is possible if you believe in it and fight for it. They will learn about this election in school as they get older, and I will be proud to tell them that they were both there that day, bringing their own little changes to the world.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Harry Joseph, Fifteen Months Old

Dear Harry,

Oh, Harry. What a month you have had! You have decided that 10 PM is your ideal bedtime and it is slowly killing your mother. You see, we are morning people in this family. That is when we have our energetic, most productive time. You seem to be the opposite. Mornings and then again in the late afternoons, you are sluggish and calm, happy to read books and play quietly, or watch a video. But then, Nighttime Harry arrives. He comes around 6 PM, right after bath time and is heralded by squeals and squeaks and running up and down the hall. Nighttime Harry dances and screams, climbs on chairs and tables, giggles and grins, and demands snacks to fuel his bacchanalia. This goes on until about 9:30 when you start to wind down - only climbing on smaller things - until you are ready to nurse down at about 9:50. You conk out easily at that point and usually sleep until 7 or 7:30 AM with only a small peep in the night. I don't know what is causing this, but it has become routine, at this point. I hope it is just a phase.

We got you your first cello this month. Since my last post about your love of music, we have just watched your curiosity and determination grow. It is very hard for us (and not good for our instruments) to hold you and let you play the cello and bass. So, we thought we'd see what you did with a "Harry-sized" cello. It was love at first sight. You have a little stool that you sit on and bow back and forth. You are quite serious about it, which is adorable, I must admit. You ask to play all day long and we sometimes have to take it away from you when you get a bit *ahem* enthusiastic with it. (Cellos don't like to be hit!) We'll see where this goes. It may pass, but we didn't want to discourage you from something you obviously love. If you continue to show interest, we can start Suzuki next year. Until then, we'll just play.

You are doing so much new physical stuff these days. You can go down the slide all by yourself both at home (on your bum) and at the park (on your belly). You can climb anything that is not standing still. (Please note that the kitchen drawer handles are NOT a ladder.) (Nor is the oven door a chin-up bar.) The other night, I was trying to contain Nighttime Harry to the downstairs, so I closed the door to the third floor. You were running around in the hallway with a pillowcase on your head, pretending to be a scary ghost, when suddenly it got quiet. I waited a moment and then heard what I thought was a baby gate closing. I ventured out to see that you had opened the door to the third floor, turned on the stairway light, climbed upstairs and closed the baby gate and were playing with your beach ball. I must say, I was too impressed to be mad. I think we need to get you on some sort of sports team.

You are indeed an amazing little boy. So smart, so full of energy, so full of love. Nothing you do is small. When you come in for hugs and kisses, you crash into us full force. When you fall down, it is a big splat. And no matter what, you keep going. Each month, when I write to you, I'm just floored at how much you change over each week. You are just barreling ahead so quickly that Daddy and I have to run to keep up. I can't imagine what you'll think up next, but I'm very excited (and exhausted!) at the possibilities.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Put Another Nickel In

I swear we didn't do this to him. Harry came up with this all on his own. Yeah, right, you say. A pair of classical musicians for parents and they're NOT pushing him towards music. It is true, I tell you. He has led the way. Harry has always responded well to music, whether it is me singing to him or playing one of his CDs in his room. He will stop and listen and then start dancing. He recently learned the sign for "music" and uses it all the time. It's always been a great tool for calming him and we didn't think too much of it. Until now.

Harry's obsession is centered on Daddy's double bass, which Hubby let him touch at an early age. (Mommy's cello is a forbidden object for now - too delicate.) Hubby is preparing for the upcoming BSO audition and has to put in a lot of practice time. Harry was curious at first, and then started signing for "more music" when Daddy would play. He started letting Hubby actually practice during the day while he played with his toys (or tore down DVDs from the shelf) and when Hubby would stop, Harry would walk over and sign "more." It was cute. Now, it has gone even further.

This morning, Harry woke up around 7:00 and as soon as he got out of bed he ran for Daddy and signed "music" before running to the stairs. I followed him and found him pounding on the practice room door signing "more." I told him "after breakfast" and guess where he went at breakneck speed after his prunes and waffles? Hubby tells me he was able to practice an entire hour (more than I've done in over a year) while Harry alternately played and danced and tore things down off shelves. I think Harry wants Daddy to do well at this audition as much as anyone.

So, you can see why we think he might have a "thing" for music. We are shopping for a toy violin (just try finding a toy cello or bass - impossible!) so he can have his own instrument to "play." As much as we joked about him having to be a lawyer or doctor so he could support his starving artist parents, I'll admit, it is pretty cool to see your passion reflected in your child. Just knowing the whole world he has waiting for him and getting to watch him discover it for himself is pretty amazing.

Yesterday, Harry and Hubby stopped by work to drop off some music I'm lending to the BSO. I took Harry upstairs to see the Tchaikovsky 5th Symphony reading session. As I held him up to the door to peek through the window, I saw his eyes get big and he signed "more music" and started reaching for the door handle, squacking loudly. If they had been playing something other than the slow movement, I would have let him run in to the room and just get lost in the sound. He's too young to understand the quiet that needs to proceed the horn solo, so I had to hold him back. But I understand what it feels like to want "more music" and I look forward to sharing that with him.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Harry Joseph, Fourteen Months Old

Dear Harry,

This post is late, but there is a reason. You have been putting us through sleeping hell for the last five days. After a record breaking night on Monday where you were up until midnight, you went to bed at 9:30 last night and were still asleep this morning when I left at 8:00. I actually got some sleep which means I don't feel like I'm going to die today. Thank you for that.

There are a few reasons that your sleep has been rocky this month. First, you FINALLY have two teeth and two more started peeking out yesterday. Second, you've had a nasty cold since we returned from South Carolina. Third, we set up your big boy room over the weekend. You love your new bed and like to roll around and bounce on it, which does not help you sleep. And fourth, we've begun gentle "mother-led weaning." You no longer get any milkies during the day, so you have been making up for it at night. However, these past few days, that has been letting up. Maybe we are turning a corner?

Some fun firsts this month included your first trip to Mimi & Pop's house in South Carolina. You loved everything from the ceiling fans, to the tile floors, to the ceiling fans, to the glass door, to the porch ,to the ceiling fans, to the ice maker, to the ceiling fans, to the neat toys they had. Did I mention the ceiling fans? You LOVED the ceiling fans. Now, everywhere we go, you point to the fans and make a ffffssssss sound. If they are not turned on, you keep pointing, hoping that they will move on your command.

Another first this month was your first ride on a carousel at Slater Park. You were obsessed with the carousel and would waddle over there whenever I put you down. You danced to the carillon and clapped and generally had a fantastic time. We were there to listen to Daddy play a concert, and you clapped at all the right times, but you were really there for the carousel and the food. We let you taste our fried chicken and you then proceeded to take your own whole piece out of the bag. Same for the chocolate chip cookies. You do love to eat!

This month was long, Harry. Traveling, teething, illness, starting the school year. I felt like I was saying you were "almost 14 months" for a very long time. Even though it seems slow, I know time is really flying by. This morning, I wish I could have pressed pause and stayed snuggled with you and Mu-Mu kitty in your big boy bed. You are turning into a little boy a little more each day and you want to be the "big boy" so much. Baby steps, little one, baby steps.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Harry Joseph, Thirteen Months Old

Dear Harry,

You are officially a walker now. Does this mean you are a toddler instead of a baby? I hate to think that your babyhood went by so quickly! You took your first steps at around 11.5 months, but it took you a good month to use walking as your main mode of transport. Now you think crawling is for chumps. Even if something is a foot away from you, you'll get up and walk to it. You are trying to run, but you don't have enough balance to keep you going. I'm sure that will happen soon enough. It's funny pretty to see you drunkenly walking around the yard. You (and all babies) are so top heavy, that if you look in a certain direction when you're walking, your whole body starts to go that way. When you fall, you just get yourself back up and keep going. We're teaching you to brush off your hands when that happens outside. Otherwise, you'll have dirt and pebbles stuck to them all the time.

The big recurring hurdle around here is still sleep. Oh, Harry. Why won't you sleep? You know that feeling? When you are just mad at the world and you have to rub your eyes every 30 seconds and you start falling down a lot? That means you are tired. That means you should lie down and close your eyes and go to sleep. Sleep is really nice! If you sleep, you'll be able to have more energy (!) for all those things you want to do. You don't seem to be able to stop your body from moving, even when I'm nursing you down on the bed. You have these crazy baby legs that just won't stay still. Plus, you now try to do a headstand while nursing.

I really just don't understand why you fight it so much. It's worse lately and I'm really at the end of my rope. Last night, I had to leave you to cry for 2 minutes so I could get myself together after fighting you for 3 hours. When I went back to you, I got you to sleep in under 5 minutes. I don't like doing that, but I felt I had run out of options. I had been holding out hope that this would let up as your teeth came in, but you still have none and it's been months and months. I don't know how much more of this we have in store or how much more of this I can take. Let's work on it, shall we?

You understand so much now that it is getting easier to communicate with you. You use signs, sounds and pointing to let us know what you want. You say "k-k-k" for kitty, "oof oof" for doggie and "shhh" for fish. Daddy and I are still both "Dada" even though you can say Mama" perfectly well. You just prefer not to say it. You sign "more" for everything you like or want. If you don't get what you want, you protest very loudly. Often, you can be found by following the shrieks. When you get what you want, you are full of happy nonsense sounds. I hope we can record those before you stop making them.

I hope I haven't made you sound too awful. It has been a rough summer. Lots of rain, sleep set-backs and schedule upheaval. You are a challenge sometimes, but the good kind of challenge. The kind that makes you a better person for having met it. I'm kind of looking forward to getting back to our fall routine. I think some structure will be good for all of us. Until then, let's enjoy the last of your second summer by spending lots of time running barefoot through the grass.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

10 Things I've Learned This Year

1. All the words to "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"
2. Even though the book,"Charlie Bird" says "Eight excited Eagles play electric bass" both in the text of the story and on the back cover CD listing, the CD says "Eight excited Emus play electric bass."
3. When destroying block towers, explosion sound effects are hilarious. And you must do them Every. Single. Time.
4. Babies know the difference when you remove batteries from cell phones, remotes, laptops, etc.
5. If you wait until after the closing credits on Baby Neptune, you will see the lobster dance.
6. Baby shoes are over priced and overrated.
7. So is jarred baby food - especially when your baby won't eat it.
8. Cloth diapers stink less than the litter box.
9. Three little words - Dye Free Tylenol.
10. What works today may not work tomorrow, or even later today.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cabin Fever

I feel like this whole summer has either been blazing hot so we can't go outside or pouring rain so we can't go outside. My inner three year old is having a tantrum and yelling at the top of her voice, "I WANNA GO TO THE PARK!!" Seriously, there is only so much we can do inside. I've built elaborate houses made out of blocks, played basketball with our toy bins, read all his books a million times and on and on. Harry is too young for arts and crafts or pretend games, so I'm going crazy. If he's awake and I'm home, he won't let me do anything alone without crying for me. I think we've watched more Baby Neptune than a sane person can stand in one week.

All I can say is that it had better clear up this weekend.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Baby Customer Service

You'll have to speak up. I'm wearing a diaper.
(See this image for cultural reference.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Harry Joseph, Twelve Months Old

Dear Harry,

Happy Birthday, baby boy. So many changes in one year, little one. You've really turned into a little boy right before our eyes. This month, you have had many firsts: your first steps, your first outdoor concert, your first trip to the beach, your first time staying with your auntie, uncle and cousin while Mama and Daddy work, your first taste of ice cream. You still have no teeth, but we hope they are coming soon, because you are a miserable drooling mess right now. For future record, here is what you are like at one year old. I'll try to remember all your favorite things. Next week, I'll post the story of how you were born.

You charm everyone you meet with your dimples and your giggles. You are the Mayor of Foster Street, waving at everyone and everything you see all over the neighborhood. You will wave at things all day long. It's your hobby. Everywhere we go, people comment on how happy and handsome you are. We agree! You are tall for your age and everyone says you are going to be a big boy. We think so too and I think I will like having you and Daddy reach things on high shelves for me.

Your favorite food is goldfish crackers (though you love all food and love feeding yourself) and your favorite books have pictures of kitties and doggies. Your favorite toy is the guiro we bought you in Maine. You have learned how to make the right sound with it and you like to hand it to other people so they can try. You love music of all kinds and will stop whatever you are doing to dance a little bit when you hear some. Sometimes you will conduct the music by waving your arms and shaking your head. You love bath time and bubbles. You love animals of all kinds and you love other babies and kids. You love going to the pool and the playground mostly so you can see other kids. You can sign "more," "milk" and "all done" very clearly and you love letting us know what you want. You can say "Mama" "Dada" and "K-K-K" which means "kitty" (or pretty much any other animal). You also make a little sighing sound for "meow." You can point out our eyes and noses when we ask you, but we'd prefer if you wouldn't stick your fingers in them.

Getting you to slow down and rest is still a challenge. The world is just so exciting and you don't want to miss a minute. We take the sleep whenever and wherever it comes - if it comes at all. But waking up to your smile makes it worth the exhaustion. In the morning, when you crawl over to Daddy whispering "Dada-da-da-da," I'm pretty sure that makes his day. I know it makes mine.

There is so much I want to say to you, but it all comes down to this: your Daddy and I love you more than we ever thought it was possible. Our lives will never be the same. You have made our hearts grow. You have opened up a whole world for us. We can't wait to see how you continue to grow and change this year. Time has gone by so fast. I know that at 6 months, we had no idea what would come to be by 1 year. I now cannot imagine what you'll be like by 18 months. Whatever comes, I'm looking forward to the ride.

All my love,

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Milky Musings

As we approach the end of Harry's first year, I find myself reflecting on our nursing relationship.
Several people have asked me if I'm looking forward to weaning him or if I'm tired of nursing him. A year ago, I would have thought so. I thought it would be weird to nurse such a long time. I joked about the "Nipple Nazis" and the "Hippie Mamas" who nursed their walking, talking toddlers and how that would never be me. I believed the old wives' tale of "if they're old enough to ask for it, they're too old to have it." Funny how things change, isn't it? Now, I can't imagine NOT nursing him. I'm not alone, either. More and more mothers in this country are practicing child-lead weaning. This article has more information on extended breastfeeding and its benefits. Here is some information on weaning after a year: link.

I guess, what I'm trying to say is that I'm planning to continue nursing past a year. I have no plans to wean him completely yet, and I'd like to follow his cues. We have started "pump" weaning him this week. I've been off work with no pumping since 6/26, and do not plan to start up again. By eliminating the midday feeding now, it should be easier to have him day-weaned by the fall. He'll learn that he gets milkies when Mama is home and he gets other food with Daddy. He loves his solids, so milkies will no longer be his main source of nutrition. But I can't see us giving up sleepy-time nursies or comfort nursies anytime soon, and I don't mind one bit. In fact, I'm proud that I can still offer him immunities and comfort into his second year, and maybe beyond. Yes, it can be tiring being the "mommy binky" but rest assured, he won't graduate from high school needing to be nursed to sleep. I'm pretty sure he'll wean before he graduates preschool (though, talk to me then). This has worked well for us so far, and has produced a thriving, outgoing, joyful boy. We couldn't ask for more.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Here are the highlights and lowlights of our recent trip to Maine for hubby's gig with the Portland Symphony.

For the faint of heart: Be warned that this story contains baby poop details! It is one of the perils of reading a parenting blog.

For those veterans out there: Keep track of the night time poops detailed below and remember that we were supposed to be here for 3 nights, so I brought 4 overnight diapers. He almost never poops at night - he is a lunchtime pooper and only ever once a day. Plus, these were the last of the overnight diapers. I had bought a new package that I left in Newton, foolishly thinking we had no need for them.

Day 1: Left late (getting out the door is slow with a baby) and couldn't make a rest stop. Hubby's bus was to leave at 5:30. Harry cried for the last 20 minutes of the ride and was visibly shaken when we arrived. No time for dinner, but Harry did manage to poop shortly after we changed him for bed. He crashed out at 5:00 only to wake at 6:00 and stay up until 9:00. I'll spare you my room service debacle during that time, but it included really poor timing (almost had him back to sleep) and Harry's first (accidental) taste of bacon. He pooped again before going to bed and I tried to bathe him, but the tub stopper was defective. He slept well, but I was restless because I was nervous co-sleeping in a different bed. I kept waking to check on him. Overnight diapers used: 2

Day 2: We took Harry to Old Orchard Beach. We had taken him to the ocean at 6 weeks old, but we just walked and he slept. This time, we went on the sand and actually brought him to the water. He LOVED it. Every time a wave came, he squealed with joy. He kept signing "more" and just had a grand old time. Afterwards, we went to lunch at Governor's restaurant and he got a balloon that he kissed with his blueberry applesauce face. In the afternoon, we rested and then walked around Portland. I bought a new baby sling and a special toy for Harry. (We had decided that he and I would take the train home on day 4, rather than waiting for the concert to end and then drive late at night.)

He crashed at 5:00 again and I was sure I was in for it again, but by 8:00, he was still out. He was wearing a Gdiaper that was not set up for sleeping and would surely leak. I was afraid to change him and wake him for the evening, but I bit the bullet and put him in an overnight diaper at about 8:15 and got him back down. Hubby got home at 10:30 and Harry stirred. Then, Harry pooped. Another quick change and he slept through from 11:00 until 5:00! Overnight diapers used: 2

Day 3: LL BEAN! Well, Harry hated LL Bean. We forgot the baby carrier and he was not in a stroller mood. So we traded carrying him and pushing the stroller. He had more fun in the Starbucks down the street. We had better luck in Carter's and Oshkosh, plus a fun "learning" toy store. Heading back to Portland, Harry melted down. It was nap time and he didn't want to nap. We put on AM 730 (sister station to our favorite AM 740 back home - same announcer) and he settled into a nap. We attempted to go have lunch at our favorite seafood joint, Newick's, to find it gone. Torn down. Strip mall in its place. Sad. So, we went to Hannaford's got lunch and headed to the local park. Best. Idea. Ever. There were swings, slides, kids, dogs, and a splash park. If you haven't taken a kid to a splash park, you are missing out. Harry took right to it and got soaked. It was pretty awesome.

After drying off and resting at the hotel, we tried to find a quick, early dinner. It was surprising how few places around here have high chairs. We ended up doing Mexican, but it wasn't really kid friendly. Back at the room, I was ready for the 5:00 conk out. He pooped in the late afternoon and we were now out of overnight diapers and were doubling Gdiaper liners. I got him ready for bed and he crashed at 6:30. He stirred at 8:30 and went back down. Hubby came home and the pooping started. First a small one. We changed him. 10 minutes later - a big one. We changed him again. He was crying by then. Poor little guy! By this time, I'm thinking he must have a tummy bug. 3 times in 8 hours is a lot for him.

Day 4: Remember the train idea? We were all set. I was packed, bought the ticket online for the 12:50 train. We had a good morning and came back to the room for naptime. Harry and Daddy napped. I got organized. We had the special toy ready, snacks, books, the last 3 disposable diapers. I loaded up a double Gdiaper for the trip so I wouldn't have to change him until we got home, unless he pooped. But, why would he poop? We got in the car for the 10 minute ride, printed my ticket in the station and sat down. Harry was fussing, so I took him out of the carrier and I smelled it. Poop. I peeked - a diaper buster. Luckily hubby was waiting with me. We went back to the car and it was the king of all poops. If he was starting this now, there was no way I was getting on a train with him. I only had two diapers after the one we put on him and I couldn't afford to risk it. We got back in the car. Of course, he was fine after that, but we had to book another night's stay to avoid crazy logistics after the concert. First thing we did after the train station? Bought diapers. I'm waiting to see if we have another late night visit from the poop fairy.

Some quick highlights:
  • Harry took several steps unassisted, several times. (Step, step, step, Boom! Step, step, step, Boom!)
  • When watching the Food Network with me, I asked him "Is she making something good for your belly?" He started slapping his belly and laughing. Hilarious!
  • His signing is taking off. He knows how to do "all done" (and says "DA!" and shakes his head when he does it) "more" and "milk" and just started doing "twinkle" for "Twinkle, twinkle little star." We went into Stonewall Kitchens today and he saw all the food and frantically signed "MORE" all over the place.
  • His love of music is really showing. We bought him a toy guiro and when we play it for him, he really gets his groove on.
  • He loves to pretend to feed us! Finally, WE get to eat instead of him.
It's our last night. He conked out at 7:45 and is still out. We're meeting a friend for breakfast and then heading home for Harry's first Fourth of July. We hope to drive during nap time. Please pray to the gods of poop that we make it home without incident.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Secret Language of Babies

We are in Portland, Maine this week for hubby's gig. Whenever we see another baby, Harry gets really excited. He waves hello with both arms (and really his whole body). The funny thing is that other babies do the same thing. Amid all the other people and things to look at, they recognize another of their kind. Their body language is amazing. I wonder what they would say to each other if they could speak? I think it would have a lot of exclamation points.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Harry's Babies

This happened a couple of weeks ago at out Saturday play group and again today, but I hadn't had a chance to write about it.

So, we were at group when one of the other babies (a girl we'll call E) came in riding in her stroller. E had fallen asleep on the walk to group, so her mom had put her baby doll in the back pocket of the stroller. From across the room, Harry spotted it and made a beeline. He took the baby out of the stroller pocket and started patting it and giving it kisses. It was really sweet. I thought he'd then start tossing it about (his form of love is a little rough sometimes) but he was very gentle and kind. He saw it again today and did the same thing, though this time he took it right out of E's hands. Oops. Later, he and E had a little case game going and he kept trying to pat her head and kiss her.

I'm not sure what my point is, but it was pretty cute. He just loves other kids and animals and isn't afraid to show affection. I love that he is so outgoing, but I just have to wonder where it comes from, with a pair of introverts for parents.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Harry Joseph, Eleven Months Old

Dear Harry,

I can hardly believe that we are so close to your first birthday. You are such a big boy in so many ways, but still such a baby boy in many other ways.

This month, you have started to show a lot of interest in walking. You have learned how to push your Radio Flyer up and down the hallway and you love to cruise (walk holding onto furniture) all over the house. You will also walk if we hold one or both of your hands. You can also stand up by yourself and have given yourself a round of applause after doing so, several times. You can climb up and down the stairs (with a spotter!) and can climb up and down from your mattress (without help!) and love to do so. Over and over and over again.

This month's picture shows you with your early birthday present from your grandparents in South Carolina. It is called a "Kangaroo Climber" and within 24 hours of its arrival, you figured out how to climb UP the slide to the little platform and then DOWN to the ground from the platform and out the back swinging door (shown above). Holy cow. You are a monkey! Sometimes you like to climb up the slide and then slide back down on your belly. That makes you laugh, which makes us laugh back.

With all the nice weather we've been having, it is really fun for us to take you outside. It gets tiring being in the house all day, so we take a blanket into the yard with some toys and just hang out. The funny thing is that you HATE the grass. I can put you on the blanket and trust that you will not move from it. That comes in handy if there are any forbidden objects around. If I want to have the laptop nearby, I can put it on a chair in the grass, away from the blanket and I may as well have put it on an island surrounded by burning lava. You retract your legs like a turtle if we dare try to put you on that foul substance. It is a relief not to have to chase you for once!

Sand, however, does not seem to bother you. During last week's heat wave, we took you to a lake at a local state park. You loved squishing your toes in the sand and splashing in the water. I can't wait to take you to the ocean and see what you think. Otherwise, it is great to go to the park and play. There is a pool at our local park that we plan to join so we can beat the heat as the summer wears on. We got you your first bathing suit and you look pretty cute, I must say.

You like to talk to us and sing songs and we love hearing your voice. Your laugh is infectious, your appetite is insatiable, your joy in life is palpable and your smile is bigger than you are. That gets us through the sleepless nights, the teething and the nap fighting. You are thriving and developing so well and so fast that these 11 months will be nothing but a blur when we look back. There is still so much to look forward to, but it is bittersweet that your first year is almost over. Just remember that even when you grow up, you'll always be our baby.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Up to date

Now that I'm through with the archive posts, I'll be writing a bit more regularly between the monthly letters. Tonight, though, it's too damn hot.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Harry Joseph, Ten Months Old

May 13, 2008

(Reposting this one to get the letters in order.)
Dear Harry,

This week, you turn 10 months old. Double digits my boy! How is that possible? We are so close to a year now that I'm having to come to terms with your looming toddler-hood.

I've been saying all along that I feel like I gave birth to a toddler, and I do believe that you are going to come into your own once you are walking. Right now, you are lazy, though. We try to encourage you to walk with rolling toys and by holding your hands, but you are impatient for us to let you get down and crawl. You're like, "Screw this! I can get there faster on all fours! Let me go!" You can balance pretty well standing, but you don't quite realize the potential that position has. You only see letting go of the furniture as a means to lower yourself to the floor, but Daddy claims he has seen you take a couple mini steps without realizing you aren't holding on to sanything. I'm not trying to rush you, but let's keep that up! I know certain things will be easier when you can walk. I've thrown my back out a couple of times carrying you, so it would be nice to have options.

Sleep is still an elusive thing. Yesterday and today were good nap days, but last night was restless. We are still waiting for your first tooth and I think we're getting closer, but they really seem to bother you some nights and you want to nurse the pain away. You now sleep in your room on a "big boy bed" which is a full size mattress we recently bought for you. I've been in here with you for about a week. You've just been too active at night to be in our bed. We're looking at this as a transition to when we night wean this summer. I think I'll get the neighbors some ear plugs for that because I can't imagine you'll like going without your nursies. I miss being with Daddy, but the good news is that you will give us a nice chunk of time between 7:30-ish to about 9:30-ish where we can do grown up things. I usually have to go nurse you back down at least once, but it's getting more consistent all the time.

You love going to play group and seeing the other babies. You have started wanting to kiss all the babies you see - in the mirror, in books, photos, real life. It's cute, but your version of kissing is pressing your open wet mouth to their faces and going, "MWAH." It's sweet, yet slimy. I'm not sure the real babies appreciate it the way your Daddy and I do. You are really starting to enjoy "playing" (if you can call it that) with other kids and we look forward to bringing you to the park and the pool this summer. We've got a good group of parents and kids all around the same age that do regular meet-ups and you are pretty comfortable with them. It's nice to see you crawl over to one of the other moms to smile and babble hello. You usually reserve that for the mom who has the snacks, though.

Next week, I start my summer work schedule, which is very light. I'm looking forward to getting a good routine down so that we have a solid schedule in place for the fall. This school year has been really hard on me. I feel like I've been dropping the ball all over the place. I need a break to get my act together. We'll be able to enjoy some vacation days together and I hope get some much needed rest. In fact, I think I'll go join you in bed right now.


Harry Joseph, Nine Months Old

April 15, 2008 @ 7:33 pm

Dear Harry,

As of this week, you have been on the outside as long as you were on the inside. How do you like it so far? I like you much better on the outside, I can tell you. It’s way more fun.

This month has kicked us all in the butt. It started with the big trip out West and went downhill from there. We’ve had back-to-back colds, teething trouble (still no teeth!), separation anxiety, sleep regression, crappy naps, growth spurt, daytime gigs for dad throwing off our pumping schedule leading to formula supplements. It has been rough. We are counting down to the end of classes when I can go to work at 9 instead of 8. Then, after commencement, I can go in at 10. I think things will be better after April. This month is just full of so much stuff that we are, once again, in survival mode. I think we all have bags under our eyes.

We have given up on the idea that you will ever sleep in the crib. You will go from co-sleeping straight to a big-boy bed, it seems. We put a full size mattress on your floor and use that when we want to put you down alone. You love climbing up and down on it all day long and will sleep on your own there for as long as an hour! As long as we can get a little alone sleep from you every now and again, your parents will retain their sanity. The crib will be a play pen for you until such time that we set it up as a full size guest bed and you inherit your great-grandparent’s bedroom set. I even went out and bought linens for you this week because I heard they were discontinuing the line. Since I call you my “Harry-Bear” and my “Pumpkin-Bear” (I know, “Mom! You’re embarrassing me!”) we went with the Woolrich Bear collection:

It is very soft and cuddly, just like you. I hope you like it. I know I will like snuggling with you under the quilt and Daddy will like to pretend we are camping.

Despite our difficulties this month, you have started doing some exciting things like dancing to your favorite music imitating Daddy when he does the growly bear noise at you, making little “Brrrrp!” noises at the kitties and waving hello and goodbye. You are exploring your voice and can shriek with the best of them and your laugh is quite contagious. You are cruising on the furniture to beat the band and have earned the nick-name “destructo-boy” as you like to tear down all our DVDs from the bookcase. When that is done, you proceed to pull off the plastic “child-proof” protector from the DVR and press the buttons. After that, it is time to see if you can unplug the cable cord. When that fails, it’s off to inspect the outlet covers. Then maybe it’s time to find every little speck of something gross on the carpet and try to eat it. And on and on. You keep us on our toes, Harry-Joe.

You have boundless energy and will stay up and play all day, if we let you. We finally broke down and started playing a video for you because it helps you slow down and transition into quiet time. We chose “Baby Neptune” from the Baby Einstein series because of the fish. You love the fish tank and this video is all about water. You love it and it only takes about 10 minutes for your body to relax and get into night-night mode. It is the only time you will sit quietly on our laps, my little Energizer Bunny. I can sneak in all the kisses I want during movie time. Or, have a phone conversation or straighten up the room. Amazing.

I can’t believe we only have 3 months until your birthday. Every month that passes, I look back at how you have changed. 3 months ago, you were just starting to crawl. What will you be doing in another 3 months? I can’t even begin to imagine. Our days and our hearts are so much fuller than we ever could have imagined 18 months ago when I peed on that stick on election day. The time has gone so fast that I just want to press pause sometimes. I already look at you and wonder where my baby has gone. You are in such a hurry to be a little boy. Let’s slow down and take a nice nap and enjoy 9 months. OK?



Friday, May 30, 2008

Harry Joseph, Eight Months Old

March 14, 2008 @ 7:40 am

Dear Harry,

This month, we have been visited by the personality fairy. You are quite a character, full of belly laughs and babbling sounds! Everyone comments on how happy you are. They ask if you are like that all the time, and for the most part, yes you are. In the last few weeks, you have become responsive to so many things. You react to us when we do something silly, instead of just staring at us like we are crazy (that will come back when you are a teenager). You smile and laugh when we put your rubber duck on our heads or try to eat your toes.

Another change is how you can now show a true attachment to your parents. Now that you are so mobile and can move away from us, like you’ve been dying to do since birth, you will seek us out after a time of separation. You’ll be playing and suddenly crawl across the room into my lap and bury your head. Or, I’ll leave the room for a moment to come back and find you out in the hall looking for me. This morning when I was leaving for work, you crawled over to me and pulled up on my pant legs as if to say, “Mama, don’t go!” Believe me, I’d stay if I could. You do these things to Daddy, too, which makes me so happy. They say when Dads stay at home, children show less of a preference between Mom & Dad. You and Daddy have lots of fun together and I know he can’t wait to take you to the park to play frisbee.

On the language front, you did something amazing this week. You had just had your bath and Daddy was getting you dressed. You were not happy about it, so you were fussing and squirming. Daddy put you on his shoulder so I could pull your PJ bottoms up. When they were on and he turned you around you looked at me and said, “Mama!” Well, I tell you, we made such a big deal about that that you forgot why you were mad and started smiling away. I know you probably don’t realize what you did, but you know you did something. It’s only a matter of time before you figure it out for real. Just the same, my heart melted hearing you say that.

We are so glad that you are such a happy kid. We are hoping that your personality will help us on what will most likely be a very difficult trip to meet your Daddy’s family on the West Coast. Traveling with an 8 month old is a huge logistical feat. Although you won’t remember this trip, you can be sure that your parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles will never forget it. I know that, they all love you and can’t wait to meet you. I hope that someday you have nice memories of them. Meanwhile, I’ll try not to have a panic attack.

Last night we took you to the playground so you could ride on the swings. You thought that was the greatest thing ever. Almost better than nursies! Seeing you, in your little jacket and hat, looking more and more like a little boy than a baby, made me think of what you’ll be like as you get older. I hope you retain your sense of fun and cheerfulness. Life can be hard, but it is ever so much easier if you can maintain a positive outlook. Being happy is a choice, in most cases, and it can be a hard choice sometimes, but I see it as a sign of strength and inner peace. If you are happy with yourself first, many of life’s little troubles just melt away. Rock on with your giggly self, little one.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Harry Joseph, Seven Months Old

February 18, 2008 @ 10:22 am

Dear Harry,
It is hard to believe you are seven months this week. I have to admit, I was so focused on reaching 6 months with nursing that I haven’t really thought beyond that point. What do I do with a seven month old? Well, I’ll tell you. I will be chasing you around the house! I have joked since you were born that I gave birth to a toddler. You are a big boy and you have done everything early from the very beginning. You seem to be in a hurry to get to all your milestones. First, smiling, then head control, rolling, sitting, pushing up, rocking and now babbling, crawling and standing. No wonder you hardly sleep. You’re too busy!

Speaking of sleep, since we finally decided to admit to co-sleeping, you and I have both slept better. Not to say that we haven’t had a few nights of hourly wake-ups, but you have gone down easier and slept sounder since coming to bed full-time and since becoming mobile. I think the physical activity has been good for you. You now like to sleep on your tummy with your feet tucked up and your bum in the air. It is quite adorable, and it’s all I can do to keep from patting your caboose all night long. Daddy even says your naps are better, and there have been several times in the last few weeks that I have been able to nurse you down and leave you for 45 minutes to an hour for some alone time with Daddy. Unheard of! In fact lately, we’ve noticed that you give us 4-5.5 hours at a stretch if you go to bed later. That means less alone time for us, but I’ll take the sleep for now. Today is a holiday and we all slept until 9:00. What bliss!

In other news, we got you your first ball this week and you knew just what to do with it. You spent a good 10-15 minutes batting it up and down the hallway, babbling with joy. We also got you a toy cell phone to distract you from our real cell phones. It says 18+ months, but there are no small parts, so have at it! You have taken to your vegetables much more in the last week or so. So far, you’ve had squash, sweet potato, carrots and peas. You even had your first applesauce this week, because you were a little (ahem) “blocked up” from too much oatmeal. You don’t take that much solid food, and you still nurse like a champ, but you seem to enjoy what you have. You’re too young to have solids replace nursing, but it is good practice.

I got a new toy for myself this week: a Storchenwiege Baby Sling. You have always loved being wrapped. First in the Moby wrap and then in the one I made. In between, we have used a Babyhawk Mei Tai. The “storch” (Anna print - lovely!) has been great so far. I have been able to soothe you to sleep by walking and singing to you. Imagine that! Sleep without nursies first! We have also used it when out on errands and I like being able to pre-tie it and pop you in and out. I need to practice some different positions. I hope by the Summer I’ll be good enough to get you on my back.

One thing that is bothering you is your teeth. They aren’t here yet, but boy are they tough. We feel so bad for you when you wake up crying and rubbing your gums. Tylenol helps a bit and so do Hyland’s teething tablets and frozen toys and washcloths, but the best remedy will be for them to just hurry up and break through. For a couple of nights in a row, you woke up between 11:30 and 1:00 needing Tylenol. The first night, you couldn’t get back to sleep, so Daddy took you upstairs from 1:30-3:00. The next night, Daddy walked you for a few minutes and you fell asleep in his arms. He laid you down next to me and you turned over on your tummy and slept for 3.5 hours. Daddy is my hero. It’s so sweet how you try to remain your chipper self while in pain. You try to smile and be happy, but then you whimper and cry and try to smile at the same time. What a trooper!

Another thing bothering you is the car seat. The last few days have included major car meltdowns to the point of us pulling over so I can try to calm you down. I don’t know if it is separation anxiety or your deep hatred of shoulder straps, but you haven’t done this since you were a wee one. Can we get over it, please? Daddy and I would like to get out of the house sometimes. I’ve noticed that you are ok when we go places, but then, after I get you out and walk you around somewhere in the cozy wrap, you don’t transition well back to the car seat. The other day, I sat in back with you to try to keep you calm and you were grabbing at the wrap and wailing like, “Why did you take me out!?” If I could hold you in the car, I would, but it’s not safe. It breaks your mother’s heart a little bit, Harry.

When I think of all the things you have outgrown in the last seven months (the swing, the bumbo seat, the exersaucer, the changing table, the bath pad, the buckle carrier, the co-sleeper bassinet and countless outfits) it makes me wonder if we’ll even recognize the little guy you’ll be at one year. We’re getting closer every day and you are moving so fast. I wish I could slow you down just a little so we could make sure we remember all these “baby days.” Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up, Harry, it ain’t all they promise it to be.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Humbling moments in parenting

February 6, 2008 @ 9:29 am

Harry started to crawl last week. (Can I get a “woo-hoo” for early development, please? Thank you.) I have been looking forward to this with eager anticipation and a bit of dread (can we say, baby proofing?) and it has proved to be all I thought it would. In our house, there is a long hallway off of which are all of the main rooms: 3 bedrooms, my office, the bathroom and the kitchen. When we moved in, 2 weeks before Harry was born, I had visions of him crawling up and down the hall with me and hubby playing hide and seek in the doorways. We used to do the same with our older cat and it was great fun. What better incentive to get him to move than a playful parental unit calling out “come and get me!” He’d come catch me and we’d laugh and I’d reflect on the joys of babyhood. (Cue sappy music here.)

This morning, I put Harry at the end of the hall and hid in the doorway of the guest room. He smiled when I peeked out at him from the doorway. He continued to smile each time I repeated the action, but he made no move. About the third time I did it, he moved, but it was to make a 90 degree turn away from me and towards my filthy shoes under the hall table. When I looked again, he had completed a 180 and was headed for the wire cat toy on the floor behind him. So much for expectations! He’s had enough of me, on to forbidden (and delicious, apparently) objects!

We really need to clean the house.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I made this post about Harry's sleep when he was a little over 6 months old. There were some links attached to the last paragraph of the original post that I have to dig up.

Though we have made strides in some ways (he does let me leave him for an hour or so at a time), I am still struggling to make peace with his sleep, or lack of it. We are in another rough patch and I'm having a hard time. I know he's doing fine - he is happy, healthy and energetic as hell. I just wish we could get some sort of routine down. Or, if we could just bottle his energy, we could solve the gas crisis.

January 24, 2008 @ 10:39 am

I’ve written about how Harry is a big eater and not a big sleeper. About how he likes to be held all the time. About how active and strong he is. And about how exhausted I am. I have come to the conclusion that Harry is a “High Needs Baby.” The characteristics describe him perfectly, except that he is not a cranky, grumpy child. He is just demanding. He knows what he wants and will not rest until he gets it. That means no rest for us until we give him what he wants. Coming to this realization has been a big thing for me. It is not the easiest thing to admit, because I felt like his “issues” were a result of our parenting. The more I come to terms with it, I realize that he just is the way he is because that is who he is. Once I let go of feeling like I was to “blame,” for lack of a better word, I could start to see that I just need to change my expectations of him and my expectations of myself. He is not like other “easy” babies and I can’t make him what he is not.

That being said, hubby and I made a big step last night. Since Harry came home, we have tried all sorts of transitional props to get him to sleep somewhere other than in our arms or in our bed. First was the Moses basket. Then, the co-sleeper bassinet. Then the side-car crib. The only one he ever slept in for any amount of time was the basket, and that was before I was working full-time. The side-car crib (taking off the front of the crib and butting the mattress up to the bed) would have been great, if we had done it sooner. However, Harry is already sitting up and getting ready to stand. So, the other day, I read that you could get bed risers for the crib and then lower the crib mattress, so there would be more railing to prevent a fall. We did that only to have the crib fall off the risers in the middle of the night. Luckily, Harry was in the bed. That’s the thing, though. Harry is always in the bed.

Hubby and I have discussed many times how the location of Harry’s sleep was not what bothered us. Co-sleeping is fine and dandy. It is the lack of independent sleep. The fact is that he either needs to be nursed, held, driven or swung to sleep. Or, if I nursed him down in our bed, I have to stay there in order for him to sleep more than 30 minutes. He has never been able to transfer from swing, arms or car seat to the crib or bed without waking and then staying awake. This means we get no time without one of us attached to Harry. Hard times in our house.

So, last night, we got rid of all pretenses and finally admitted where Harry spends the night: in our bed. We took down the side car and put bed rails on our bed. We decided that I would nurse him down in our bed after bath time, when he usually sleeps for about two hours (7-9 PM). Once asleep, I would start trying to slip away from him. If he woke, I’d go and try again. Wash, rinse, repeat until my bed time, which is 10 PM. From there, we would co-sleep. This way, we could move towards getting one stint of independent sleep from him, but still feel rested ourselves by making it at a time when we are still up. Last night, he gave us 30 minutes before he cried and I had to nurse him back down. We will continue working on it.

The thing that got to me was how cathartic it was to get rid of the side car. This was the first time since he was born that there was no transitional sleeping apparatus on my side of the bed. I didn’t realize until it was gone that all of those things were putting a lot of negative pressure on me, reminding me that my baby didn’t sleep “correctly” and it was my fault and that I needed to “fix” him, and the sooner the better. I felt so relieved after we removed it, like I was coming out of denial. It was like a physical weight being lifted from me and I now feel free. Hi, I’m Harry’s Mom and we co-sleep.

The notion that babies should sleep in a crib in their own room is really a 20th century, American idea. We pride ourselves on our independence and frown upon shows of weakness, even from our infants. Harry’s doctor told us to leave him alone and let him cry at night. There are studies now that say this is detrimental to the child. (Not that we ever considered doing it. Harry increases his tension when he cries.) There are studies that show that co-sleeping can be developmentally beneficial. There are studies that show it is normal with primates. Everyone has to do what works for them, and right now, this is working. I feel empowered. I feel confident. I feel relieved to finally have admitted that my child is high needs and I feel satisfied that I am meeting his needs to the best of my ability. I truly hope that my efforts will help nurture his strong personality and strong attachment and make for a confident, happy little boy.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Harry Joseph, Six Months Old

January 16, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

Dear Harry,

Happy half birthday! If these first 6 months are any indication, the next 6 are going to fly by. Half a year with you and I already forget what it was like before you (but maybe that is the sleep deprivation talking). You’re starting solid food this week and have not liked it very much. I know you still prefer your “nursies” but I’m excited to start cooking for you. We have learned that bananas make you cringe. We’ll keep that up for the next few days. Next week, we try squash! I’m looking forward to those leftovers.

One new thing we’re dealing with is a milk shortage. I took a pumping break over winter vacation and our freezer stash dwindled and died. Then heading back to work, my pumping output dropped by half. Top that off with some lost bottles that were left out too long and you’ve got yourself a food shortage. I’ve had to pump 4 times today to try to make up some ground. Even so, by the end of my work day, you have had it with bottles and you typically fuss until I get home. I’m hoping you take to the solids so that your milk intake during the workday slows down some. I’m willing to nurse all evening long (note, I said “evening” not “night!) and get up early and feed you. I can manage 3 pumps a day, but 4 is really pushing it.

The other big thing we are working on is sleep. You don’t sleep well. You are a crappy sleeper and have been from day one. There. I said it. You sleep lightly and not a lot and you do not like to sleep unless you are held, or driven or walked. This means that mom and dad have NO alone time together, unless we drive you to sleep and keep you in the car seat to extend the nap. Let’s just say that 6 months of that is taking its toll. That and the waking every two hours to nurse have meant that I’m constantly tired and stressed, both at work and at home.

We are using a book called “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” to try to gently transition you to more independent sleep. You now have a lovey bear and a blanket that we use at bed time to try to cue you to sleep. We have the crib in a side-car position to the bed and are trying to gradually get it so we can put you in there for bed time. (Naps are another issue.) You are starting to give us one 4 hour stretch to start the night, followed by 2 hour chunks. This is where we were at around 11 weeks, when I went back to work. My return to work then set us way back and we’re only just recovering. I hope we can continue on this better path.

You’d never know you were a rough sleeper, though. You are so cheery and active and alert. (All. The. Time.) You are very mobile and verbal. Your new thing is getting from all fours to feet flat on the floor, supported by your hands. I read that this is called the “Bear Crawl.” You are already good at the “Crab Crawl” which is backwards, much to your dismay. You have even tried to pull yourself to standing a couple of times. It hasn’t worked yet, but I know you won’t be happy until you succeed. We’ve got to get baby-proofing before you start walking! On the verbal front, you love to babble and shreik. When you’re upset, you say “Mumumumum, nininini, na ba da ga” or some variation of that. (The “mum” part makes me happy.) You don’t repeat things yet, but you have learned to bang things. Loudly. In rhythm. Over and over. With single -minded purpose. Oh what fun!

Right now, I am holding you while you sleep and typing with one hand. I do this a lot. But looking down at your sweet, sleepy face, I know I won’t be doing this forever. Someday, you’ll run from my kisses and cuddles. Someday, you’ll sleep in your own bed all by yourself…until noon. Someday, you’ll drink milk from the gallon jug in the fridge. So, forgive my typos as I cherish this time just a little bit.



Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Crappy Mother's Day!

Dear Harry,

You certainly made my first Mother's Day memorable! We got up at 6:00 and Daddy was still sleeping. By the time he was up, we really needed to get ready for the day, so we both got cleaned up. By 8:00, when we wanted to go out, you wanted a nap. I had almost gotten you down and had formulated a new game plan (involving Daddy getting us bagels and having brunch at home) when your toy car went off saying, "Let's go for a ride!" There went that nap.

We put you in the car (the real one, not the toy!), hoping we could get you to sleep and then get to have brunch. Nope. You cried. We pulled over, nursed, gave you Tylenol for your teeth and kept going. You cried. We pulled over, put you in the wrap, walked around a supermarket and calmed you down and then kept going. You cried. We went home.

I nursed you down on the Boppy after a little "Baby Neptune." Daddy brought me Dunkin' Donuts. (They got my order wrong.) After 45 minutes, you woke up because I was trying to sneak a sip of my iced mocha. You love straws, cups and ice. There went that nap.

We took a walk to try to get you out again. No dice. Daddy left for work. I changed you and we played. You were fussy and clingy. Then you dived for me, wanting to nurse and cracked my lip open. I sat there and bled into a cloth diaper while you nursed. I changed you and went to get ice for my lip. I came back and you had pooped in your new diaper. I changed you again. I think I cursed a little.

You were very cranky from teeth and lack of sleep, and I was cranky too, so I decided to administer more Tylenol and get in the car for a little ride to Target. You were very happy on the way there and fell asleep just as we pulled in. (This is where the readers should yell at the screen "Turn around! Go home!") I put you in the wrap and went shopping. You woke up, but seemed sleepy and calm. I shopped quickly, hoping you would drift back to sleep in the car. I even opted to take the back roads home so you could have a leisurely snooze. As soon as I passed the highway ramp, with no way to go back, you started to cry, which turned to wailing, which turned to screaming. All the way home. We're talking biblical proportions here. I cried with you, baby.

We got home and put "Baby Neptune" back on. I was hoping for another Boppy nap (without the mocha distraction from earlier) but you were having none of it. At this point, it was after 4 PM. You had not had a single real nap and you had been up since 6 AM. Daddy got home at 5:30 and took you for a walk to go pick up something crappy for dinner. You were still awake when you got home. I had Daddy bathe you while I ate and then I nursed you down at 6:30 and you were down for the count. Then, it was my turn to meltdown over the fact that Daddy didn't even get me a card.

I just have to say that it was a crappy day by anyone's standards. It's not your fault. You are a baby, and a very sweet one at that. You didn't know it was Mother's Day. I know crappy days are the days you need me the most, but it was really rough. I felt like I needed a "real" mom to come in and take over. Nothing I did was working. I felt like I was flunking motherhood.

You have made it up to me the last two days, though. We had a great day home together today. Daddy had a triple service day, so I stayed home and you have been a pleasure. I think next year, I will just disappear for a few hours on Mother's Day, even if it is just for a nap. It's nothing personal, but I'll be a better Mommy if I can have a little breather.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Harry Joseph, Five Months Old

December 31, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

Dear Harry,

OK, so this post is about two weeks late. Blame it on the holidays. This season is always hectic, but add a baby to the mix and, man, you’ve got fun! You are doing great, little guy. You’re rolling over (and over and over), getting up on your hands and knees and rocking, scooting yourself backwards, sitting up (almost) unassisted, pulling up (with help) to a standing position. You make some really funny sounds, including raspberries and belly laughs. You’ve reached 20 pounds and about 29 inches and are wearing 9-12 month clothes. I will predict that you’ll be crawling by 6 months and walking by 9 months. Prove me wrong, boy!

You’ve had your first taste of baby cereal, but you’re not wild about it. It seemed to help you sleep, though. In fact, you slept through the night a couple times in the last few weeks. Trouble is that you now have a nasty cold. I feel so bad with your nose running and your barky cough. I know it is good for you to be exposed to illness, but you’re so helpless that it just makes me sad and worried. You try to be your usual chipper self, but it’s hard when you feel like crap. Believe me, I know how you feel! Once you’re a bit better, we’ll get back on the cereal train and hope for better sleep.

You have fallen in love with our cats. Every time you see them, your whole body shakes with excitement and you reach out your hands. They have let you touch them, but they mostly keep their distance. I wish that Carmen would keep her distance from me. My poor, neglected, first baby will not leave me alone most days. She does not understand that I refuse to disturb you in order to pay attention to her. If she would just hang out and sit with me/us, it would be fine, but she must be petted with both hands, or fed, or brushed, or she will pick at me/us with her claws. I bet your first words will be, “Carmen, no!”

You survived your first holiday season with a house full of people and days full of family outings and obligations. This was supposed to be my winter break, but I feel less rested than I do when I’m working. I think we need to start a family tradition of taking a tropical vacation at this time of year. Let’s get away from the overeating, over-shopping, commercialized crap and just go relax. We’ll go build sandcastles while Daddy goes snorkeling. What do you say?

Happy new year, baby.



Friday, May 9, 2008

Harry Joseph, Four Months Old

November 28, 2007 @ 8:51 am

Dear Harry,

Oh my, but 4 month olds are challenging! You are a busy little guy: rolling, teething, cooing, reaching for toys and really playing, trying to sit up, blowing raspberries, trying to sing and explore your voice, still nursing around the clock, still sleeping in our bed. But hey. These are all good things. You are doing everything you are supposed to be doing and more. You’re pretty amazing, kid.

Mommy and Daddy have had it rough, though. We have both been sick for much of the month and have not slept in the same bed in about 2 weeks. Our schedules have made it really hard to have any “grown-up” time alone together. I know it’s a phase, but it’s a tough one. Daddy is leaving on a Christmas Pops tour two days after Thanksgiving and your Mimi & Pop are going to come stay with you. We are going to miss Daddy. There was a day last week that he was so sick, I had to take you to work with me. We stayed out all day to let him rest. When we got home and you saw him, I don’t know who lit up more - you or Daddy. I hope his being gone for a week won’t make you forget him. I love how you two have settled in together like old pals.

The semester here at school is winding down. I’m really trying to power through with the pumping and nursing to make it to my 6 month goal, which is January. I’m not ready to wean you and you show no signs of being ready to wean. But January will be a new semester, a new year, your 6 month birthday and the introduction of solid food. At that point, I hope to ease off on the pumping and see how we do. Right now is a bad time to try to change anything. Everything I’ve read on 4 month olds convinces me that we need to keep doing what we’re doing. This is a big growth spurt and a time of huge neurological & physical development. You have two top teeth coming in, so that is a factor too. I can pretty much feed you in my sleep now, so I should feel pretty good, once I’m no longer sick.

It’s now nearly 10 days later and I’m just getting to finish this post. We still haven’t worked out the “giving Mommy free time when she’s home” thing, so I have to write about you at work. It’s nice, though, because I miss you all day long. As tired as I am and as challenging as you can be, I don’t want to miss a moment with you. Every day is something new and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Harry Joseph, Three Months Old

October 19, 2007 @ 7:31 am

Dear Harry,

You turned 3 months old this week. Where has the time gone? I’ll tell you…nursing. You are still a big eater. Every two hours around the clock. You will usually give me one good long stretch of sleep, and by good I mean anywhere from 3-5 hours at a time (read: not great). That stretch usually comes between 8 PM and 1 AM, but the start time is not consistent. The end time (1 AM) however, is very consistent. You are hungry at 1. I get it. And also at 3 and 5 AM and sometimes 6 & 7 AM. The only way I’m getting any rest is to have you in bed with us. You are ok in the cosleeper, but I’m usually too tired to move you after you’re done eating. This morning was not good. I fed you at 6, then got up at 6:30, showered, pumped at 7 and was about to eat breakfast, when guess who wanted to nurse again in my last 10 minutes at home? No, the answer is not Daddy. I’m hoping this is just a growth spurt, because I can’t keep this up.

The nice thing is that you are a very happy, smiley, cuddly baby. You even wake up happy (unless you’re hungry, which again, I get it!) and will look over and give me a big smile first thing in the morning. I melt just thinking about it. You also give us wonderful giggles and coos like you are talking to us and you try to raspberry back to us when we make silly sounds. You love tummy time and play time and are just starting to be interested in people and toys. It is really fun to take you to the developmental play group on Thursdays and see what the other babies are doing and to see you watching them. Bath time has also become play time for you. You are so strong that I’ve got to get in the tub with you and hold you with both hands so you won’t fling yourself into the water. You love to kick and splash and get everything soaking wet and then you love to scream when we get you dressed. You still can’t keep a pacifier in because you constantly stick out your toungue, but you are starting to find your thumb. Not that I want to wish away your babyhood, but I’m looking forward to seeing you sit, roll and crawl. Each stage is more and more fun. But when are you going to hit that “sleeping through the night on a regular schedule” stage? You did one night last week from 11-7 and I thought I would keel over. Can we have a repeat performance?

You are also a very healthy baby. You weigh a whopping 16 pound at 3 months and are wearing 6 month clothes (See paragraph about “eating” above). You aren’t prone to rashes or eye boogers or ear crud or anything. You get gassy, but that only sometimes bothers you. Mostly you just toot and belch like a champ without batting an eye. You’ve had some colicy episodes, but we are hoping they have passed in time for teething to start. You are already looking like you might have some chompers on the way. Lucky Mommy!

It’s been tough leaving you to go to work, even though I love my job. I feel like I don’t have enough hours in the day to be with you and keep up with the library. It’s a big struggle right now. The first week, you wouldn’t eat until I got home and then it was a 12 hour nurse-a-thon from 5 PM to 5 AM (read: no sleep for Mommy). The second week, you hit a growth spurt and started eating us out of house an home, both while I was at work AND at home. This week has been different becuase you have come to stay with me at work a couple of times when Daddy had rehearsals. The whole time you were here, I felt guilty that I couldn’t give my full attention to you or to my work. You were very clingy and fussy until Daddy came back and then you were like “I’m cool!” In the end, it was exhausting for both of us. Even though everyone loves seeing you, we may have to rethink these arrangements. Just like we may have to think about buying a dishwasher and hiring a cleaning lady twice a month. Our priorities have shifted, and rightly so, but a lot of things are starting to slip around here. It’s hard to make yourself wash the dishes in the only 20 minutes of down time you have in an evening.

Sine this has taken me a few days to write, and I feel like I could spend weeks writing about your every move and change, I’ll wrap up. First, it’s now a day later thank the first paragraph and you gave me very good “sleeps” last night. 8:30-11:30, 12-4:45 and then I got up, pumped, showered and ate. Then you got up at 6 and we got to play and nurse some more before you went back to sleep at 7:30. I feel human this morning. Let’s do that again tomorrow! Mostly, it is just hard to imagine what we did before we had you. It’s hard to imagine loving anything more than you. You make everything seem new and exciting. It’s an exhausting, frustrating, thrilling and rewarding thing to be a parent. As we continue to figure things out and grow together, how about a nap? Nursies first, you say? Big surprise.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Sports Commentator

September 27, 2007 @ 3:13 pm

Every time I put my son in a Red Sox outfit, he poops on it. Have I given birth to a Yankees fan?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Harry Joseph, Two Months Old

September 15, 2007 @ 7:50 pm

Dear Harry,

You are eight weeks old this week. In some ways, the time has flown by. In other ways, it has gone very slowly. You are a totally different baby now. You still eat like a champ around the clock, but now you smile and laugh and coo at us. The other thing you have started to do is cry. I don’t know why you decided to start, but you seem to like to cry for part of your awake time these days. We have tried many things, with modest success. Gas drops, baby wearing, walks, car rides, swaddling, swinging, shushing, bathing. Sometimes things work, other times, nothing works. For a few days this week I felt like somebody had replaced you with your evil twin. It is most likely just a developmental phase. Maybe you are gearing up for a big old milestone? Who knows. Today has been better, with no crying jags as of 6:30 PM. But I won’t hold my breath. Regardless, your parents thank you for reserving your crying time for the daylight hours. I don’t think I could bear it if it were at 3 AM.

You have been giving us some longer sleep sessions, though I would like to reserve the right to choose when those happen. Sleeping a 3-4 hour stretch is great, but could we start that at midnight instead of, say 7 PM? Or 3 PM? I know you should let sleeping babies lie, but come on! Throw me a bone! Last night we were up ever 90 minutes or so. That is not acceptable. Especially since you have decided that you no longer sleep during the daylight hours or in the car. I know you can go longer between feedings. I’ve seen you do it! Let’s just agree that you will sleep from 12-5 and then I won’t mind the every two hour thing all day long. Ok? Oh, and thank you for not pooping as much during the night. That does help keep things simple.

I only have a couple of weeks left until I go back to work full time and I feel really torn. Part of me is looking forward to going back and part of me does not want to leave you. Ever. Right now you are sleeping across from me in your car seat and I miss you. How can I leave you for 9 hours a day? With all that you eat, how will I be able to pump enough to keep up? Will your Dad go crazy trying to find practice time? I just don’t know.

I do know that we love seeing your little personality emerge. You are already so much more alert and responsive. You can hold your head up and put weight on your legs. You are starting to get interested in toys and people. Things will just keep getting better. I know that one of these days you are just going to sleep through the night and I’ll be up all by myself wondering if you are ok. But, that is fine with me. Any day now would be great.

So, to wrap up, since this has taken me days to write and is probably completely incoherent: less crying, more laughing and more sleeping. That is the goal! You’re doing great, kiddo. Keep your eyes on the prize!



Thursday, May 1, 2008

Harry Joseph, One Month Old

August 13, 2007 @ 10:34

I know there are a million “Mommy Blogs” that write monthly letters to their kids, but I think it is a sweet idea. Plus, writing is good for me. So, if you will indulge me, here is the first in a series. I’m sure this will be written with MANY interruptions, but that is life with newborn.

Dear Harry,

Today, you are 4 weeks old. As I type this you are snoring away on my chest in the Moby wrap. Things have changed quickly in the last 4 weeks. It is hard to imagine life without you now. You just started smiling your first real smiles in the last few days and you sometimes give us as much as 4 hours of consecutive sleep at night. Let’s keep that up, shall we? As far as babies go, you are fairly easy. The only things that upset you are being changed, being hungry and being put down. If we keep ahead of those things, you are easy to calm: just give you the boob and you are fine.

In fact, your penchant for nursing has given you the nickname of the “Booby Monster.” You get this Dr. Evil kind of look once you get going. We’ve had some setbacks: latch problems that left us both crying in frustration (and pain for me). You’ve had a couple of growth spurts that have meant that you have spent upwards of 12 hours a day feeding, which also drove me to distraction. I know we are due for another one, so I’m hoping my coping skills are better now, since I’m feeling a bit more confident in my parenting skills. Your feeding “patterns” (not that they are consistent) have been the only things that have really gotten to me. It’s kind of a “one step forward, two steps back” thing and I need to be more patient.

I just have to jump in here and say that I just put you in your bassinet and you immediately took an explosive poop in your sleep. You don’t like your bassinet or your crib or really anything except your parents’ bed, chest or your Moses basket to sleep in. I never thought I’d be co-sleeping with you, but it is the only way we all get some rest. When I put you down, it’s like a reflex. You automatically wake up. I’m hoping you take to your crib by the time I go back to work. Your Dad and I just invested in a Queen size bed so we can have some more room, because you certainly aren’t getting any smaller.

Your Daddy is about to leave us for a two week music camp gig and my mom (Mimi to you) is coming to help me cope with you. Daddy is sad to miss two weeks of your development. As you have gotten bigger, he has gotten more comfortable with you. He’s never spent much time around a newborn and doesn’t know what to do with a floppy, squirmy baby. He’s learning and I know he can’t wait to really be able to play with you, once you are more interactive. I know he is struggling with your screamy, wiggly diaper changes.

Speaking of diapers, why is it that you have to poop on every outfit that I like? Is this your method of expressing opinions? There are two outfits in particular that are really cute that ALWAYS induce a blow out. It’s too often to be a coincidence.

We have made a point to get out with you at least once a day. There have been a few days where I haven’t made it out and those were long days. I need to feel like a human being and not a milk machine. You are very portable, though. You’ve had a couple of meltdowns at the store, but I just picked you up out of the car seat and you were fine. We’ve gotten to the point that we just go, regardless of the time. If we need to change you, we change you. If we need to feed you, we feed you. In fact, we even ate out at Kelly’s Roast Beef and felt like real parents. You cried as soon as the food came, so we ate in shifts and then fed you in the car. You then proceeded to completely blow out your diaper, necessitating a diaper and outfit change in the car. I think we did pretty well with that. You have started to train us already.

Mostly, we are just amazed by you. You look like both of us and many members of the family. You are very sweet and snugly and also very strong, already trying to hold up your head so you don’t miss anything. You have long periods of being awake and calm, which (when we aren’t exhausted) are great to see. Nobody tells you what to do with a baby who is awake and not crying. What a cool problem to have! We can’t wait to see what the next four weeks bring. You’ll have your first trip to the Performance Library and meet lots of cool people, but let’s not let rush things. I want to savor these wonderful, scary, exhausting, frustrating, exciting days. Don’t grow up too fast, ok?