Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Just For Fun

This is one of my favorite pictures of Aaron and Jack. I love how much like himself Jack looks as opposed to that generic newborn look, and he's only a few days old in this picture. What I love most about this picture is the expression on Aaron's face; he is totally in love with his baby and it shows. Aaron used to tease me about doing "baby talk" with Jack, but I'm pretty sure there was some baby talk going on here.
Jack got really jaundiced when he was four days old and we had to stay an extra night in the hospital so he could go under the lights; I would go into the nursery every few hours to feed him the milk I'd pumped and cry, he looked so pitiful wearing nothing but a diaper and a too-large blindfold. There was a very sweet nurse on duty in the nursery that night, and one time as I stood there touching Jack with one finger and sobbing she came over to console me. "I know it's hard, but just remember that there's nothing seriously wrong with him and he'll be out of there soon; he has a minor problem that's totally fixable." I knew that, but I cried a lot anyway. The next day when we got to go home it was really warm for early March, so I took off his clothes and put him in the sunshine. After a few days of sunbathing his jaundice cleared up completely(thanks Mom!) and we were able to avoid going back to the hospital for more photo therapy. I've been feeling really nostalgic the past few days; the sleep deprivation has been triggering the memories I think, although I'm much better rested with this baby than I was with Jack thanks to nursing instead of pumping. I've been really weepy over how defenseless tiny babies are, and how quickly they go from being helpless to self-sufficient. Just yesterday Jack wanted a snack and I was sitting on the couch nursing Matteas, so Jack got himself a bowl, went into the kitchen, opened the snack cupboard, got out the bag of fishy crackers and poured them into his bowl, cleaned up the strays off the floor, put the crackers back and closed the cupboard. Then he brought his bowl of fishy crackers out to the living room and informed me that he had made a mess but it was all clean now. I feel kind of sad for Jack that he is having to learn to meet his own needs, but on the other hand I'm really impressed with how capable he is.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Getting to Know You

I think my favorite feature of Matteas' is the shape of his head; it's just SO lovely. Jack and Matteas had some bonding time on the living room floor this afternoon; I know they're 2 1/2 years apart, but it still amazes me how big Jack is and that he was ever Matteas' size(two pounds smaller even). The boys have been getting along pretty well, minus Jack's habit of screaming at some pretty inopportune times. He's a little frustrated that we don't let him squeeze the baby as hard as he'd like to or carry him around, but he's very excited for Matteas to get bigger so he can teach him things. Tonight we walked to the park before dinner to let Jack get some of his energy out(Mom hasn't been much good for that lately) and Jack showed Matteas how to go down the slide. Matteas didn't say much, but he looked impressed.
Proud Uncle Tristan and his two nephews. Tris doesn't really like holding tiny wee babies so we had to get a picture of the first(and so far only) time. Matteas got pretty fidgety on account of being hungry, but finally settled down for a while on Tristan's chest. I think he calms down when he can hear a heartbeat; it reminds him of simpler times. Note my messy living room in the background. I've been meaning to post pictures of our house but I haven't gotten around to taking very many; the house is either messy or during the five minutes that it's clean I can't find the camera.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Easter Eggs

My brother Karoly had a term he used for those moments of joy that stand out from the everyday, little things like when your two year-old says something that makes you laugh really hard; he called them Easter eggs. I've had a few lately, the above bouquet of flowers being one of them. The picture doesn't really do them justice, they're much brighter in real life. A guy who used to work for Aaron and his girlfriend Ashley picked them up at the Edmonds farmers market on Saturday. We haven't even seen Matt and Ashley for at least a year, but when they heard we'd had a baby they brought over flowers and cigars(for Aaron). I thought that was really sweet. Another Easter egg was nap time. Matteas(his real, official name) was asleep and it was time for Jack to go down, so I made him a bottle and tucked him in bed, then went to check on the baby. He was fidgeting a bit so I patted his back for a minute until he settled back down, and when I came out Jack had fallen asleep in his bed all on his own. I was really anxious about addressing two really different sets of needs with the boys, but so far it's gone really well. Jack has been a little needy and a little defiant, but for the most part he's been really sweet towards the baby. He's still not over his disappointment that Matteas can't walk(not even, to his shock, if we go to Home Depot) but he really likes petting his fuzzy head and is quick to give him kisses whenever he cries. I felt really sad for Jack for the first few days after Matteas was born because I felt oddly detached from him, and part of me wished I could suspend reality for a while and just focus on the new baby while Jack's needs would somehow just be put on hold for a while. It's been quite an identity shift to go from mother of one to mother of two, but it's starting to feel more normal. I've also been making a point to spend some alone time with Jack, and yesterday we looked at his newborn pictures together. He thought it was pretty cool, and I wanted him to see that everything we're doing with the new baby we did with him when he was tiny. Yesterday's Easter egg came in the afternoon, when I awoke from a three hour nap with the baby to find my kitchen full of Costco food and Aaron beaming about his dinner plan. He picked up a tikka masala sauce from Costco and cooked chicken, peppers and onions to go with it, which he simmered to tender perfection. Then he brought me dinner on the couch and Matteas slept while I ate. Even though I have twice as many kids now as I used to, this is way easier than the newborn stage with Jack. Matteas nurses like a pig(a really cute, desperately starving suckling pig) and sleeps beautifully, and Jack has had some struggles but I'm really impressed with how well he's adjusting.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yeah, so that happened...

That's a line from another mom's blog that is a handy response to a lot of what's been going on in my life lately. Last night was the first night we encountered Two Needy Boys at the Same Time in the Middle of the Night. Jack crawled into our bed sometime before three a.m., which is when Matteas decided he needed to wake up and eat and poop a lot and then be generally unhappy for a little bit. We started out nursing which brought on a poop, so we finished nursing and cleaned the poop which caused such Emotional Trauma that we had to nurse again, but had too much air in the tummy from the Emotional Trauma and couldn't nurse and that was the beginning of the General Unhappiness. During the vocalizing of the General Unhappiness, Jack woke up and decided it would be a really swell time to try to kiss Matteas all over his face. After some gentle discouragement on my part Jack was Horribly Crushed and wanted to cuddle. Me. Then he starts asking for a baba, which I think is an emotional thing for him right now since he hasn't had a baba in the night for some months. Matteas has been screaming this whole time and Aaron was awake, so I took the baby out into the living room and let Jack and Aaron figure things out. We finally got some good burps out and were able to nurse, at which point I got really hungry seeing as how it was now 4:30 in the morning and I'd been awake for an hour and a half. So I carried the baby into the kitchen and buttered some bread with one hand and paced and chewed. Suddenly, another attack of General Unhappiness, not as violent as the first, but persistent. I'm trying madly to finish my bread and drink a glass of milk so we can all go back to bed, but first I have to take some Tylenol because my body thinks it needs to produce enough milk to feed a small country and I can't lie comfortably in ANY position. I felt that I had my hands full, so what happened next seemed completely unnecessary: I had to poop. Right now. Who poops at 4:30 in the morning?! Babies, and me. Luckily the baby car seat was inside to I swaddled Matteas and we shared an early morning bathroom interlude. I figure I'm there for all of his poops, he might as well be there for some of mine. It's situations like that which make me disdain "parenting" magazines; I really don't need step-by-step instructions on how to properly slice grapes for my toddler, I need a survival guide for how to poop before sunrise with two cranky kids. Or at least to hear similar stories so I can laugh at someone other than myself.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Warning: this post contains Too Much Information

Sleep deprivation has officially taken hold. I have lovely dark circles under my eyes and my vision is a little blurred, and my general grip on reality and sense of the passage of time have certainly been compromised. I was unpacking some dishes earlier while listening to some music and Canon in D(my wedding song) came on. I'd forgotten that track was on this particular CD and it took me by surprise so I put my head down on the box I was unpacking and had a good cry on the kitchen floor. I felt much better afterwards but am finding it hard not to feel sad about how incredibly helpless and vulnerable tiny babies are. I don't know why I think it's sad because Aaron and I take really good care of our tiny(and not so tiny) babies, I'm sure it's just hormones, but it does complicate things unpleasantly. I suppose it's unreasonable to hope that you could go through the experience of growing a human being inside of you for nine months(give or take a few) then one day suddenly have that person vacate your body and not feel some kind of weirdness afterwards. Massive hormonal upheaval. I just wish they were all happy hormones. Most of them are, and I am delighted to report that this baby, whatever his name is, is a champion nurser. I often have to wake him up to feed him, but he's getting tricky enough to nurse right through the middle of his nap and then keep sleeping. And now, a word about breast size. Several words actually. Mostly words like ginormous, obscene, gargantuan, and the like. As a previously small-chested person I'm not quite sure how to deal with the girls in their current state. Putting on a nursing bra that can actually accommodate them, what with all the extra hooks and straps feels like strapping on battle armor. They ran out of space to invade in the front so now they're encroaching on my armpits. I can't put my arms down normally because they come out so far on the sides. Nursing is definitely a lot different than pumping, because this didn't happen with Jack. Certainly not on this scale, anyway. I'm sure someday I'll have the confidence and skill to nurse discretely in public, but for now I'm lost as to how to wield the things. I bought a "privacy wrap" from Target that looks like a little poncho, I think it'll be quite fashionable in the fall out at the park. For now I think I'll resort to seeking out very private spots for nursing and just not go places that don't have such a place. I apologize in advance to any of you who may inadvertently get an eyeful, I really am a fan of modest breastfeeding but I'm sure it takes a while to figure out how to do it. Having a super squirmy baby who bobs his head all over before latching on doesn't help either, but as long as you're in your own house it sure is cute.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


One last picture of the pregnant belly before Ali broke my water. I'm currently 7 cm dilated. This does not feel like labor.
Half an hour after Ali broke my water I got in the birthing tub. Still feeling kind of silly about secretly being in labor. This also does not feel like labor.
This feels like labor. Fifteen minutes later...
Getting acquainted with Dad.
Does this baby look early to you?
I can see now why some people have more than one baby; their babies are more like Matteas than Jack. He's only two days old but it's already apparent that he is a drastically different baby than Jack . He is so easy-going and doesn't cry unless he's hungry or cold, and when he does cry he responds instantly to the sound of my voice or being held. His favorite place to sleep is curled up on my chest or Aaron's, and I love the easy access this affords me to his velvet kitty-cat head. He likes being pet. He also likes it when I kiss his tiny face all over, it's so cute the way he just lies there and soaks up the affection like a very hungry love sponge. Right now he's sleeping on the couch next to me, curled up against my leg. He sleeps all the time and I have to wake him up to get him to nurse, but he's getting better and better at it and he's been pooping all day long so it appears that all systems are go for launch. Speaking of poop, he has one so I'm going to go take care of it and then take him to bed with me. Naps are great :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Crazy Beautiful

I simply don't know what other words to use about life right now. I went to my midwife appointment yesterday for a regular checkup and walked out with a baby. This sounds ridiculous, but I didn't know I was in labor. I went to Costco yesterday morning with Jack and stocked up on lots of good food, then came home and started cooking dinners for the freezer. I showered and got back in the car with Jack for a 2 p.m. appointment. My midwife said she didn't want to do an exam in case it would stir things up, but I asked her to check me out and let me know if it was going to be a while before I could expect to go into labor. She humored me. Midwife: "Um, okay...." Me: "What?" Midwife: "You're 7 centimeters dilated." Me: "WHAT?!" Midwife: "Yeah...you should call Aaron." I felt kind of sheepish, but kind of sneaky at the same time. Apparently the tree stump project accomplished more than I originally thought. I called Aaron and he called Damien to come and get Jack, and in the meantime we made a birth plan. My water hadn't broken but I was hungry, so Damien brought me food and I ate and relaxed while I waited for my midwife to finish her appointments. They broke my water at 5:30 and I started having contractions. I got into the bathtub at 6:00, started pushing at 6:45 and by 7:02 we had a baby. He was 7 lbs. 1 oz., 20 1/2 inches long. He is fuzzy and sweet and sleeps a LOT for which I am very grateful. He doesn't have an official name yet but for now we are trying out Matteas. Everyone seems to like the name so far, we're just trying to decide if it fits him. It's hard to tell when his look changes every few hours. I like him a lot, and he seems to like me, which is nice.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Catching Up

I found the card reader! So here's an illustrated update on what's been going on in our lives. The rocker above was a present from Sonia. I didn't tell her I wanted one and I didn't even tell about my plan to have people give me presents as consolation for getting stretch marks, she just gave it to me out of the blue. It came in a box in pieces so I spent the evening putting in together while Aaron put Jack to bed. I have mixed feelings about the results. It took me three separate attempts to get the arms on because the pieces were mislabeled in a way that didn't make any sense at all. The two support pieces under the arms were labeled right/front and right/back, which was backwards, but then the arm pieces were labeled left and right, which was also backwards. So the way it ended up fitting together was putting the piece labeled right/front in the back, the piece labeled right/back in the front and the arm labeled Left on top. Yeah. I eventually abandoned the instructions and did what made sense visually. I'm glad I'll have some time to test it out before rocking in it with a baby, as my assembly job might be a little less than reliable. It's really pretty though, so if nothing else I can sit on the couch and look at it. We have the cutest neighbors. August 7th was National Night Out Against Crime, and local police and firemen were encouraging neighborhoods to organize block parties and coming by with their engines and gear with hats and stickers for the kids. Two of the neighbor ladies organized a block party for our cul de sac and came by a few days before to introduce themselves and invite us to come. Since it was right outside our front door it was rather convenient, and all the neighbors we met were really nice. We exchanged e-mail addresses and phone numbers and agreed to form a Neighborhood Watch. The men drank beer, the women talked and the kids played(Jack made friends with the only other kid in the neighborhood, a really sweet 2 1/2 year-old girl named Harmony). It was very grass roots. This is Jack "helping" Aaron move the box springs for our bed into our bedroom. Our king size bed takes up pretty much all the room there is; we put it in the smallest of the three bedrooms so Aaron can redo the master suite. Jack has settled nicely into his own room which I'll post pictures of later, he's sleeping right now. Before we moved I bought him a Lightning McQueen blanket(his favorite movie is Cars) and saved it to give to him until after we'd settled in a bit. We bought a Cars lamp to go with it and Jack picked out a blue rug from Home Depot, so his room is looking pretty cute. Aaron also put Jack's desk in his room, which I found for free on Craigslist and had a hilarious time wrestling it into my car in the pouring rain with my big pregnant belly. The desk was much larger than it looked in the picture. It took me roughly five separate attempts to finally wedge it into my front seat(the only door it would fit through). Jack has been super into drawing lately though, so I really wanted him to have a special place to keep his art supplies and do his work. So this is weird, no? Yes. This is a "before" picture of our backyard. "After" pictures might be slow in coming, but I'll take some "during" ones tomorrow. The woman who lived here loved to paint, and apparently she painted everything including piles of bricks and rotten tree stumps. The neighbors told me that at one point she even had life-sized wooden cows she's painted on the front lawn. A little eccentric, but it gave me something to do yesterday. After getting frustrated over not going into labor, I decided that I need to have a plan of action. On Saturday I trimmed the hedges in the front yard, and Sunday night I attacked the stumps. I picked the two creepiest ones, the ones with faces painted on them that stare at me through the window at the kitchen sink. You can't see him in this picture, but there was another slightly bigger stump like the blue one off to the right, and both of them are no more. I got an axe and a shovel and hacked away at the rotten wood which was great entertainment for Jack, who got to learn all about termites courtesy of the rotten yellow stump. As the first big chunk of rotten wood fell away a mass of winged termites came tumbling out, accompanied by a few other species of creepy bugs who like living in spongy material that smells like mushrooms. Jack thought it was great, and helped me pick up the pieces of wood and put them in a garbage can. I'm in the process of digging out the roots now as there's still quite a bit of stump attached to them, but no more painted faces. I didn't go into labor, but I did succeed in giving myself a pretty sore back. No regrets though, it was pretty satisfying. It's not everyday you've got an excuse to throw an axe around. I'm not sure what tomorrow's project will be, but if this kid doesn't come out soon Aaron may find some very interesting construction going on when he gets home from work. It's lucky that I drink so much milk because as I was enjoying a glass this evening, I realized I wasn't enjoying my milk very much at all. This puzzled me at first because milk is my favorite and usually brings me much joy, but tonight's milk was lacking. Then I realized the problem: it was warm. Not icy-cold, like milk should be. Upon further investigation I discovered that Jack had turned the fridge off. I'm so happy I realized it before going to bed, or I would have been really upset tomorrow morning when my half and half curdled in my coffee. Sometimes little boys are too clever for their own good.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Time is NOT on my side

I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures when there are so many pictures that would make this post so much more interesting, like of our new house or my huge belly or even the new curtains I bought today, but I've been busy unpacking practical things like dishes and toilet paper and so far haven't come across the card reader for our camera. Our move went well, thanks mostly to burly men and my mother-in-law who is the cleaningest person you ever met. Aaron kept trying to discourage her from doing such a very thorough job of our rental house as it was pretty crappy and in pretty nasty shape when we moved in, but to not clean the oven thoroughly really offended her British sense of rightness and so I hope the new tenants will be pleased with their gleaming oven. I have so many, many interesting things to share about our new house like the eggplant-purple kitchen cupboards, the rat-infested room behind the garage, the eerily-cheerful cows painted on the walls, the pink bathtub that drains where it wills with little regard for traditional water disposal, the ginormous underwear left in the dryer when we moved in, and the faces painted on the rotten tree stumps in the back yard. But still more pressing is the story about how Tirzah kept threatening to go into labor but her uterus was lacking the necessary follow-through. I'm trying to goad it into action. Just to show me who's boss, it's going to wait until the middle of the night to kick into high-gear I just know it. But that's okay, I'm ready. I have a bag for myself and the baby all packed, along with snacks, diapers, the car seat, and new baby clothes and blankets all ready in the trunk of our car. I had a midwife appointment on Thursday and despite the fact that my due date is still 4 1/2 weeks away my midwife said she would be very surprised if I made it through the weekend without having the baby. I have since been laundering, folding, and Lysoling everything within an inch of its life. Nothing needs as much Lysol as I use, but I can't get enough of the smell. And it's antibacterial, which is really comforting when you're having a baby and there were recently 5 1/2 dead rats in your house. Luckily only in the basement, but still gross. So I've been having lots of signs that labor is imminent(mostly too graphic for a public forum) but nothing definite like my water breaking or regular contractions. Aaron and I went to the mall and bought me lots of presents, some for now and some for after the baby. We went to L'Occitane and I got some delicious soap and lotion and a really rich lip moisturizer, courtesy of a gift certificate from Irina, who is a lovely person. And now, it's time to talk about stretch marks. I'm loathe to do it, but I feel kind of sorry for myself and hopefully someone will read this and feel sorry for me also, and send me presents to express their sympathy. I like getting presents. Anyway... So I didn't get a single stretch mark with Jack, probably because he was six weeks early. Mysteriously, I am more pregnant now than I was with Jack but weigh less. My midwives kept telling me to take pictures of my perfectly round, stretch mark-free belly but I never got around to it and now it's not perfect anymore. The first infiltrator appeared about a week ago, faintly pink and not that noticeable on the underside of my belly near my hip, but others have come to join it. So on top of getting really antsy about not going into labor I get to watch my skin acquire scars from all the waiting. I feel that motherhood involves enough sacrifice without adding physical blemishes to the list, but that is probably just a reflection of my still-immature attitude. I like my other scars, like the one on my forehead I got from accidentally bouncing a piece of pvc pipe into my head, but stretch marks are ugly. Just one more thing the put things in perspective, to learn to let go of and cross off the list of Things I Shouldn't Really Care About But I'm Young So I Do. I suppose when I'm 60 I'm going to care more about the function of my body than its appearance, but I'm not 60 I'm 24. So hopefully my next post will include a picture of the new baby, who at present still doesn't have a name. Suggestions are welcome, although I told him tonight he doesn't get a name until he comes out. Enough is a enough. I'm going to go Lysol something.