Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Four months, 16 days

Today was Sam's four-month check-up. He was such a trooper - as usual. He did not cry for the first shot - I think he only realized during the second one what was going on. But he only cried for a minute and then zonked out by the time we got to the car. Staying healthy is hard work for a baby.

We got the green light from the pediatrician to start him on solid foods. I am excited about the idea, but also a bit nervous. I know he can't live on formula forever and my wallet will thank me for feeding him something else as well... But it's such a big step for the little guy - it's the end of an era! But it will be so much fun to see him experience new tastes and textures. As with everything baby-related, there are numerous schools of thought on what and how to feed the baby. If I listen to my Mom, I would be giving him chicken paprika mushed up in a blender. If I listen to the books and the pediatrician, I should be feeding him bland rice cereal for weeks on end. I am hoping to find a nice little road somewhere in the middle - we'll start with apples and go from there.

The weather has finally turned springy over the weekend, so Sam had his first picnic experience at Fort Williams Park. This also meant that I got to practice outdoor feeding and outdoor poopy diaper changing. There's a first for everything. I think Sam had a good time - he loved the bagpipes (Drew was playing with his band). The wind, not so much.

We also had a visit from Uncle Torpe and Aunt Jenny. It is always awesome to hang with my brother and I'd like to think that Sammy likes him just a tiny bit more than other people, because I like my brother more than pretty much most people. Makes sense? Right.

(And just now, Blogger pooped out and won't let me post more pics... Argh.)

Ah, here we are... So look at them, aren't they cute together?

But of course, my other favorite view at the the end of a long day is this:

Now that's the way to relax!

Monday, May 10, 2010

For the record

I was reading the past few entries of this blog and realized that as an online diary, it's not a very good record of the times. This is probably for several reasons, the most immediate one being that I can't get my brain together for long enough periods of time to write coherently about everyday happenings. So I guess I sort of glaze over stuff and just give a general big picture of what's happening. I will probably regret this later.

I am already forgetting how little Sammy was when he was born, or how he cried, or how his little cat tongue curled in his mouth when he was screaming. OK, that one I haven't forgotten, but with all the cuteness coming, I am sure I will eventually.

Drew and I often wonder what we used to do before we had a baby. Watch a lot of bad TV, eat out, go shopping, hang out at home, go to the beach, take long drives. That's pretty much it. And strangely, that's still what we do, but now we have this little creature along for the ride. I mean, here we are, it's Monday evening. Drew is watching MTV (his favorite guilty pleasure), and I am sitting at the computer. The only difference is that Sammy is snoring in the background and his favorite new rattle is sitting next to my laptop.

I often catch myself at work with a strange sense of deja vu... It's not even that... I am not sure what to call it. But I'll be sitting in a meeting or walking around the office and suddenly think: "Wow, I've been here before, when I didn't have a baby. I sat in the same meetings with the same people, talking about pretty much the same topics. And now here I am again, like nothing has change. Except everything has." I don't know if this makes any sense.

So, for the everyday stuff: yesterday was mother's day. My first. It was OK. I sort of screwed myself, because we celebrated early, on Saturday, so on Sunday I felt a bit jibbed. New rule: mother's day has to be celebrated the day of, not before or after. Have to remember next year. Oh, we did get to nap together in bed in the morning, and that was heavenly.

Sam wrote me a card:

My parents posed him when he spent the afternoon with them on Saturday. I couldn't stop laughing when I saw this. He is brilliant, what can I say?

He is getting so big! He is starting to grab and pull his bottle to his mouth and also push it away when he is done. This is helpful - takes some of the guessing out of every feeding. He is also doing much better on his belly and might turn over soon. He likes to do baby crunches - when he is on the changing table, he will pull up his legs and his head and torso, like a mini sit-up. It's so funny. It also makes him spit up, which we definitely don't need more of.

We've been taking him to a little play group on Saturdays. I think he is a bit too small for it, especially because all of the other babies are older, but it's fun to see him check out the other kids and grab at the toys. He is starting to have some favorite toys, although it's hard to tell at this point. He has a little green doll/rattle thing that he likes to hold and he also likes his colorful links above his bed. But he is just as happy to play with his binky or his bib. No need for expensive toys! That's one thing the play group made me think of: how do you resist the temptation to buy $16 rattle because you believe that it will make your child smarter? I am not sure I will be good at this resistance... I haven't placed my Amazon order yet, but I am afraid I will.

Babies are expensive.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Getting the hang of it

I've been back to work for about a month now and I think things are going well. I am pretty much caught up with work stuff - at least I managed to remember what it is that I do here. Mostly. Sammy seems to be doing great in daycare. The constant noise and action around him are both entertaining and tiring for the poor little guy, so in the afternoons he is both exhausted and happy when I pick him up. I guess that's a good combination.

I was sick about two weeks ago - with a fever and a cough. It turns out that I had bronchitis, so I tried as much as I could to stay away from Sam. I was SO afraid that he would get it. What I didn't count on was that he noticed that I wasn't holding him or snuggling with him as much as usual. So the first day I was better and he wasn't in daycare, he would not let me put him down even for a minute. He basically napped on me the entire day. Poor baby. I felt so bad for him. And for me a too, just a little.

Drew was away last weekend, so Sam and I were alone overnight for the first time. It went well - he was so tired that he slept through his bath and zonked out before he finished his bottle. We spent Saturday with Grandma and Grandpa:

There's something about seeing my parents with my baby... So strange. I don't remember how they were with my brother when he was born, and I obviously don't remember them from the time I was a baby, so it's sort of funny to see them all googly-eyed over a baby. And Sam milks it for all its worth!

This weekend it seemed like someone flipped a switch in him because he was "talking" non-stop. His funny little sounds just crack me up. He seems to be "talking" in full sentences now and I just have to wonder whether he is talking in English in Hungarian.

So, we are all getting into a good routine around here. I still feel unsettled and hormonal from time to time, but I suppose that is normal. I am also shedding like a dog and my nails are breaking, so the good pregnancy hormones must have left the building. It's only the cranky ones that crave chocolate that are sticking around. Figures.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Week One

Whew. So we survived the first full week of daycare/work. The first day sucked - but honestly not as much as I thought it would. It felt absolutely horrible to leave Sam to fend for himself in a strange place. I managed not to cry in front of him - I didn't want him to see that I was upset. So I cried in the car and then again managed to pull myself together for work.

And by the time this week rolled around, we were doing really well. I still cried a bit on Monday when I dropped him off, but by Tuesday and Wednesday we were old pros at the morning routine and drop-off.

Sam seems to be doing well with all of this. He is happy every afternoon when I pick him up. He takes good naps, his appetite is great, and he got to go on a buggy ride yesterday with the other kids. (He slept through all of it, but still!) When he is awake, he loves to sit in a swing and check out the action around him. He loves to do that at home too - sit on my lap and just look around.

On the negative side: I am pretty sure he picked up a cold from daycare. We are at home today and the poor little guy is pretty snotty. I have my handy snot sucker at the ready and I am also using our penguin-shaped humidifier for the first time. Not much else I can do for him - except for the snuggling, of course!

I am doing OK with work. In a way it's nice to be back in some grown-up company. But I do find that nothing excites me about work like it used to. On Tuesday my colleagues took me out to lunch and to fill me in on all the happenings and while office stuff used to get my blood boiling, now I was just like "eh... who cares?" It's a weird feeling. I am somewhat jealous that almost the entire office is going to a conference in Chicago. I could have gone, but decided that I wasn't ready to be away from the McMuffin. In the end I know that no matter how much fun they will be having, I will have more fun at home with Sam. If I had gone, I would be just thinking about him all the time anyway, wishing I were home. Oy.

My new favorite pic of him:

He is getting so big! I have to buy some clothes for him this weekend, because he is wearing 9-month-old sizes! He is crazy long!

I think daycare is also making him more vocal - he doesn't cry more, but he is definitely talking more and doing it louder! The other night he was talking so much while I was changing him, that I almost fell over laughing. He is just adorable.

On a not so cheery note, I am still not healed from labor. This is discouraging in more than one way. I had to have two, extremely painful procedures to remove some scar tissue and I will hopefully get the all clear from my doctor tomorrow. Fingers crossed! And at this point, legs are crossed as well. Ugh.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

You come and go, you come and go

I was just looking at some photos of Sam when he was about two weeks old. He was so tiny! And that was such a long, long time ago! He is 12 weeks today and I am heading back to work next week. Time sure does fly when you are having fun. And even when you are not.

He has changed so much over the past few weeks. I know that I am probably projecting here, but his little face is so intelligent, like he understands all of the world's troubles - including mine. Poor kid.

That's the most recent photo I have of him - and believe me, there are plenty more where that came from! Since I last wrote on this blog, he had learned to smile, shriek, play with his hands, lick his hands, and coo. His coos sound like "oh" with a British accent. It cracks me up. He is also getting pretty good about holding up his head and getting control of his arms. Not to rush time because I really enjoy him as a baby, but I can't wait for him to start playing and crawling...

I am also somewhat amazed by how much I learned about him. When we brought him home from the hospital I never thought I'd be able to distinguish between the gassy cry and the cranky cry and the mamma hold me cry. But now I seem to be the only one who can tell what's going on with him. When everyone thinks that he is just tired, I know that he is working on a poo.

At the beginning of my maternity leave, it seemed like 12 weeks would never end. I was so tired and dealing with the case of the blues, and all I wanted to do was run away - at least for a while. With the arrival of spring things have definitely improved - Sammy and I bonded over long afternoon naps on the couch and lots of staring at each other and babbling incoherently. (That's mostly me doing the babbling. He just stares at me like I am the neighborhood crazy lady.)

Fun fact about Sam: When he is gassy or cranky in the evenings, he has a little song that he likes me to sing. Don't ask me how this came about, because I really don't know. But singing his Hungarian nickname, Simi, to the tune of Karma-Chameleon by Culture Club works wonders. I really have no clue how and why I started to sing this, but it works. Really. I hold him really close to my face and quietly sing it into his ear and he calms down. I thought it was just the sound of my voice that calmed him down and that any old song would do, but no. Karma-Chameleon it is.

I definitely have mixed feelings about returning to work. I am going to miss him like crazy and I haven't quite figured out yet how I am going to explain the Simi song to the people at daycare. I think what bothers me the most is that I can't explain to him what's going on, that I will be back for him in the afternoon and that he is in a safe place with nice people who will care for him. That kills me. On the other hand, him not understanding much is also a good thing, I suppose.

I am just a tiny bit excited about spending time in some adult company again and having conversations about things other than poop. But as soon as I get too carried away by the excitement, the guilt kicks in: why am I excited to be away from my kid? Ugh. It's complicated. I went shopping last weekend for some work clothes and even after spending several hundred dollars, I didn't get the same high I used to. This is a huge problem - although it will cut down on bills. Bummer.

So, I am preparing myself for the fact that next Wednesday is going to suck royally. I feel like the anticipation is worse than the actual pain will be... At least I hope. But Sammy and I are strong and we'll get through it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Four weeks in three-hour increments

Sam was born four weeks ago today. In some ways it feels like it happened yesterday (especially when I think about my lingering aches and pains!), but in others it feels like he's been with us forever. I am sitting here in our living room, listening to him snore (and I admit, fart), and watching his little hands flail in his dream, and I can't remember what it was like when his little noises didn't fill the house.

On a side note: What do babies dream about? Sam definitely looks like he is dreaming a lot - but it can't be about work, or relationships, or back to school... So what is he dreaming about???

He is still a quiet, peaceful baby, and I feel so peaceful around him, even when he is having a rare meltdown. His little facial expressions just make me laugh - he has his disapproving look, his "who the hell are you and what are you doing to me" look, his give me food look... I know it's all just reflexes, but it's hard not to imagine that they are real expressions of real thoughts and feelings. And we already determined that he is going to be an orchestra conductor because his long fingers are so expressive and he likes to flail and twist and wave his hands around all the time.

I've been home alone with him for the past two weeks and I would lie if I said that it hasn't been hard. I feel like I am just now emerging from the disbelief I felt about having him. The first two or three weeks have been rough - especially in the evenings for some reason. I was always weepy and just looking at him as he ate at 3 a.m. was enough to make me burst into tears. But that seems to be over now - hopefully a sign of my hormones quieting down. My body feels like it's getting back to normal too - although this is definitely going to be a new kind of normal. I've always been chubby and squishy, but now I am squishy in a whole new way. My belly is like a soft, wrinkled nest or some sort. Very strange.

But I also keep thinking about how amazing it is that not only did my body give birth to this amazing baby, but now it's also capable of bringing so much comfort to his little human. It is obvious that he recognizes me and calms down when he can nuzzle his head in my neck. For the past two afternoons we napped together on the couch - his warm little body on my chest with his tiny hand on my neck.

He breaks my heart.

This week I managed to make it out of the house with him - once to Panera to meet with Girl Chris and Ruby, and once to the newspaper office to pick up copies of the issue with his birth announcement. He slept through both trips - a good sign since Drew and I take a lot of road trips and having a baby who likes to hang out in the car seat is a definite plus! I am hoping for a mild February so that I can get out more with Sam - it's not good for either of us to be house-bound.

So, life's been good. I am one very lucky mama.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

He's here!

Our little Sam arrived a bit early, on New Year's Eve, five minutes after noon, during a snowstorm and a Blue Moon. How cool is that?

Labor was... how shall I put it? Ugh. I am extremely lucky, because it was very short and quick and so I didn't have time to panic (too much) or to get pain relief, for that matter. Go figure. I know that I had the labor that many of my friends who recently had babies wished for, but I have to be honest and say that I found the whole experience very violent and somewhat traumatizing. Maybe with time that feeling will fade, but for now I am just grateful that it's over.

I started to have contractions on Dec. 30, around 4 p.m. in the afternoon, right after I saw my doctor and had another ultrasound to check the amniotic fluid levels. I came home, ate some of my mom's green bean soup and started to time the contractions - they were 8 minutes apart. The doctor on call told me that they will probably peter out as the night goes on, that they just came on because of the exam earlier in the day. Right.

I was up all night with contractions - nothing too bad, but they were bad enough that I couldn't stay in bed. I spent the night on my yoga ball, then in the armchair in the living room, surrounded by pillows and a heating pad on my back. All the pain was in my back and it was very unpleasant. I also felt like I needed to build a little nest around my body - thus the pillows. It was very strange... By 6 a.m. the contractions were 5 minutes apart and I called my doc who told me to head to the hospital. I was convinced that they were going to check me and send me home, but it was not to be.

We got to the hospital at 7:45-ish and I was at 2 cm. The nurses told me to walk around a bit and after about 5 minutes of walking I had 5 or 6 of the most intense contractions. Drew was awesome - he employed all techniques we learned in our childbirth class and they really made a difference! So did my yoga classes - vocal toning kicks pain in the ass! Well, a bit at least!

So they checked me again around 9 a.m. and I was already at 6 cm. I was not going to be sent home after all! I was admitted, a fumbling nurse put an IV in my arm which still hurts, and I got a shot of Nubain to take the edge off. It did nothing for the pain, but it helped me zonk out between contractions, which was a relief.

I got wheeled to the labor and delivery room and my Mom got there too just in time. By 11 a.m. I was ready to push after the midwife broke the water. I pushed for an hour and Sammy was born at 12:05 p.m. I gotta say that pushing a baby out hurts like nothing else I have ever experienced. It's also such an overwhelming experience, because your body takes control and there is nothing you can do to stop what is happening. And even though you are in pain, you know that the only way to get out of the pain is to push really hard and thus cause yourself even more pain. It's wild. I felt like an animal.

I also have to say, that once the baby is out, the relief is HUGE. I don't remember much of what happened after Sam was born - it's all a blur. The placenta didn't want to come out, so they took Sam away to get him cleaned up while the midwife worked on me. I will spare everyone the details of the aftermath, but I was assured that at some point in my life things will feel normal again. I'll drink to that! No, really, I need a drink...

So, Sammy is two-weeks old today. It hasn't been a completely smooth ride, but I guess I wasn't expecting that anyway. He is adorable, and cute, and looks like a little elf that lives in the woods in a giant mushroom. He has a mop of blond hair and my nose (or rather I think my dad's nose!). He eats, poops, and sleeps on his own self-imposed three-hour schedule. He only cries when we change his diaper or when he is cold. I want to be really, really mad at him at 3 a.m. when he wakes up to eat, but I look at him and it's impossible to feel anything but love and wonder at the whole process.
I can't believe that Drew and I made something so beautiful.