Sunday, November 30, 2008

Milestones

Dear WP,

At nine weeks old, you have made great strides! (Not literally, although you're definitely trying.) You just found out that your fingers will fit in your mouth this week, and you've been comforting yourself with them ever since. You had a bit of a fitful sleep week, but in the past few days you're back to a long stretch at night and some catnaps during the day. Hopefully you'll settle into a more consistent schedule in a few weeks.

You love: staring at lights, especially the dining room chandelier-style fixture; watching kids, especially your cousin Joe, while they talk and play; being carried around; sitting in your swing and watching the mobile with a puzzled frown on your face; playing "modified Peekaboo" and watching our faces swivel around and smile at you; eating in your sleep; being wrapped up in a SwaddleMe blanket; lying on your back and smiling at people while they bicycle your legs and tickle you; me singing Christmas carols, especially "Sleigh Ride," while I kiss your belly; hanging out with your family and conking out from all the chatter around you; loud music or static on the car radio.

You do not love but will tolerate: being placed in your bouncy seat (maybe you know your mom is trying to steal a hands-free moment); the Baby Bjorn (you probably want to face out, which you'll be big enough to do soon enough); sleeping in your crib; your pacifier; walks in strollers and rides in the car (you used to fall asleep doing these activities, but not anymore!); getting burped.

You decidedly hate: being changed, especially with that diaper rash you've had for a few days; getting your nose suctioned and saline drops in your nostrils; becoming overtired and unable to sleep; getting startled by loud noises.

Your personality is so much bigger these days, and with each day it grows exponentially. You lock eyes with us and make cooing or whimpering noises, and sometimes you try to force crocodile tears even though you can't help smiling back at our grinning faces. That's when I know we brought the right baby home from the hospital. :-)


Lots of love,
Mom & Dad

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fat-urday


It always means trouble when you go to Judy and Marilyn's for brunch. Today, we ate (against our better judgment) homemade quiche, apple cake, brioche, coffee cake and other various treats. Needless to say, that postpartum diet is still on hiatus.



While we stuffed ourselves, our family members took care of the baby. Dave and I decided we pretty much have it made.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Two Months Young

On September 30, we brought Will home from the hospital. Mostly, he just liked to sleep on his dad.
video

Two months later, this kid is a real person! Well, almost:

video

(Dave didn't let me post the video of Will smiling and laughing because he--Dave--sounded "too goofy." When I figure out how to edit these videos, I'll post them here.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Math

PLUS



PLUS



PLUS





EQUALS




In other words, the postpartum diet starts tomorrow, folks.
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Old Home Week

Of my four college roommates who have lived in New York since we graduated in 2002, one recently moved back to the Boston area, one visited yesterday, and one is joining me for dinner tonight.

We've spent Thanksgiving with Dave's family the last couple of years, but this year we decided not to travel with a two-month-old and instead to save Will's first trip to New Jersey for Christmas. The silver lining to celebrating in Boston (besides the obvious: taking one year to celebrate with my parents and eating my mother's Midwestern classic--a sweet potato casserole with a pecan crust) is seeing these native New Englanders as they return to the homeland. I'm having so much fun!

Incidentally, that fourth college roommate? She lives in New Jersey, so I'll see her over Christmas as well.

At the risk of sounding corny (Get it? Corn? Thanksgiving?), I admit I've got a lot to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Favorite Baby Stuff

Since Will is still asleep two hours later (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), I'm moving our list of Favorite Baby Stuff from the sidebar to a post unto itself. Here it is:
  • Pampers Swaddlers diapers: they're cozy even when pulled tight around the tummy, and they're virtually leak-proof (in our experience)
  • Baby mittens: any brand or type works to keep hands warm and prevent face-scratching if you're too skittish to clip or file your baby's nails
  • Dr. Brown's baby bottles: we tried Avent, Born Free, Medela and Evenflo, but these bottles are worth their slightly more involved assembly requirements
  • Snap 'n' Go stroller by Baby Trend: I've covered this one already in another post
  • Random humidifier bought at CVS: clears up congestion, warms up the nursery, provides some welcome white noise

I'll add to this list with future posts in the "Faves 'n' Raves" category.

The Sleep Update

I wrote most of that last post on Sunday; yesterday (Monday) was an exercise in patience and in moderating expectations when it came to Will's sleep patterns. Yikes.

Will woke up at 8:30 a.m. after two nighttime wake-ups (not normal for him), and stayed up save for four separate naps, the total of which was only two hours of sleep! All day! Yikes again.

Then he didn't fall asleep for the night until midnight, and he slept until 6, then fell asleep again from 6:30 to 9:45 this morning. Phew.

Dave and I were absolutely convinced there was something terribly wrong with him (is he dehydrated? does he have reflux? does he have diarrhea?), but I think he was just incredibly overtired and, you know, having a "regular baby" day. Will has set the bar so high for his first two months of life that we consider it a horrorshow when he has one tired-but-can't-sleep 24-hour period. And while that's important to pay attention to, we don't have to get quite as worked up about it as we did. Oh well...there's no way to learn these lessons except to live through them, I suppose.

Epilogue: William slept from 11-1:30, 2:40-3:30, and has now been asleep since 4:45; in between he ate copious amounts of milk and had a nice playdate with Auntie Molly. Lovely.

**UPDATE WITHIN AN UPDATE** I just found my favorite article on infant sleep: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/7/T070200.asp

Currently Enrolled in Sleep 101

From the pictures I'm always posting here, it may seem as if Will is constantly sleeping.




And while it's true he's been a very good sleeper--I knew I was baiting the baby gods when I bragged that he was sleeping an average of six to eight hours a night since he was two and a half weeks old--William was not always very skilled at sleeping alone...day or night.

He slept, but haltingly: Will woke up when you put him down unless he was in a VERY deep slumber; he woke himself up with a nose sniffle or an arm flail (even while swaddled tightly). In order to make a decision about whether to keep him with us in bed because he slept so much better there, we started to read the blogs and the books (OK, parts of the books), which all give differing opinions such as:
  • -co-sleeping at night is great, and optimally you should carry your baby around with you all day for the first three months (say Harvey Karp and Penelope Leach)
  • -co-sleeping is OK, but you should train your baby to sleep on his/her own starting at three months (say What to Expect and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby)

  • -co-sleeping is a slippery slope, but we'll be careful, but we love snuggling with him, but sometimes it is annoying, but he doesn't sleep half as long when he's not in our bed, but we will be ready to suffer those consequences soon... (every mommy blog out there)

And those are just thoughts about night-sleeping!

Last week, I started to put Will down in his crib during the day, and lo and behold, he slept for two to four hours at a time! I couldn't believe how great it was to have two whole hands to myself for three uninterrupted hours! Now I can make a pot of coffee, unload the dishwasher or even run a load of laundry during the day, I crowed to myself. And the best part would be that since all the experts say "sleep begets sleep," Will would continue to snooze for the usual seven hours at night, right?

Hm, not quite. At the exact moment Will learned how to be a good crib napper, his supernatural ability to sleep for a full night, whether in bed with us or not, was zapped. He is now...well, a regular baby: he wakes up once or even twice per night. My pediatrician says that the next step (since we're dealing with a 13-pound eight-week-old here) is to cajole him into eating 6 ounces before bedtime so his stomach stays satiated until morning.

Still, I can't help but think that the more I try this strategy or that one, the more William makes it apparent that I have no control over his schedule, not really. He'll eat as much as he wants and sleep for as long as he needs, and I'll try to roll cheerfully with this ever-undulating itinerary...at least for now!

Monday, November 24, 2008

What Not to Wear

Recently I've been thinking a lot about clothing and fashion and looking generally well put-together. (Could you tell from the last few posts?) The topic has been occupying my mind, I think, because I'm now moving into a new phase of style, one I described to my friend Amy as "Whatever's inexpensive, will survive spit-up stains, and takes less than a minute to throw on in the morning."

I've always been someone who thinks about what to wear, but not always with the greatest results. You can blame my affinity for neon and Spandex at the tender age of nine on the influence of the 1980s, but the rest of my outfits are not so easy to explain. Let's recap:

Here I'm in the ninth grade, sitting with Jenny and Clara and wearing my favorite jean cutoff shorts--probably for the fifth time that week.

This picture was taken at a party in twelfth grade, wearing a light pink gingham stretch dress from J. Crew that I thought was so sophisticated. I remember how much Ashley, Maria and I loved this picture of the three of us, but I can't remember why exactly.

Sophomore year of college, on spring break in the Dominican Republic
Here's where things get truly questionable. I'm wearing khaki clamdiggers with a baby pink cardigan?!? And let's not even talk about those black Steve Madden slides everyone was wearing. By the way, I cut out Molly and Amy out of this picture in order to protect our friendships, but let me assure you that they were sporting very similar outfits.

Also sophomore year of college...with Julie...don't we look like we are going to a costume party dressed as mermaids? Too bad we were going instead to a frat party, and those were not costumes.

Junior year ushered in a new era of style: all pink, all the time.

Molly and I used to sing karaoke in her room during our senior year at Michigan; I lived in this long gray sweater throughout the winter of 2001-2002, despite my roommates begging me to please wear an actual parka now that it's below freezing here in Ann Arbor.

On my twenty-fifth birthday, I cleaned up quite nicely...except that I distinctly recall taking off my banana-leaf necklace before this picture was taken because the bulbous beads kept catching in my hair. Yes, the necklace was made of BANANA LEAVES.

A few months later, I met a guy who'd have a large influence on my looks from that point onward:


Maybe a little too much influence?


Hey, at least I didn't wear a pink wedding dress.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Now Hair This

I need your input. At my next hair appointment at the fabulous Joi Salon in Boston's North End, I'll be asking for one of these looks (yes, they are both Jessica Simpson hairstyles, and no, they are not very different from my current hair--just bear with me here):

Look #1: Longer and Layered with Sideswept Bangs




Look #2: Shorter and Razored



Please do not be distracted by the fake tan/fake lashes/fake nose...

You can vote on the sidebar to the right!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We'll All Look Back at This and Laugh Someday

One of my favorite pastimes growing up was looking at photos of me as a baby (big shock, I know) as I was being held by various of my parents' friends. Even seven or ten years later, everything looked so dated. I used to giggle at the shaggy hair, the flared pants and the tight V-neck tee-shirts...and those were the men! They are of course forgiven as they had just emerged from one of the silliest fashion decades in centuries:

Exhibit A: Style in the 1760s

Without the wig holding him back, this guy would have a certain attraction, no?


Exhibit B: Style in the 1970s

There are no words. Especially for the poor guy on the right. The one with the pants. Or the guy next to him, who I'm pretty sure was the inspiration for the character of Fred in Scooby-Doo.


All this to say, our wonderful batch of friends (whom Will probably will refer to as "family friends" someday, which makes me feel as old as the textile mills that manufactured that first guy's outfit) has been coming by in waves over the last eight weeks to help take care of all three of us; meanwhile, we've managed to take some pictures to commemorate these special first moments with "parents' friends" so that Will can laugh at all of us someday. I can only hope we'll have the good sense to laugh along with him.

What? That was the style in 2008!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Keeping Me Sane

Here is a current list of my favorite sanity-inspiring things:

On TV or DVD:
  • The Wire (DVDs)
  • True Blood (HBO OnDemand, which we get for free this month)
  • Ricky Gervais' Comedian stand-up show (also on HBO--I could watch Ricky Gervais scratch his ear for half an hour and still be at least somewhat amused)
  • 30 Rock (I actually catch a new episode now and then!)
  • One Tree Hill on SoapNet (Don't judge me, it's on from 1-3 p.m., which happens to be prime Will's Awake But Doesn't Know What to Do With Himself As He's Only 8 Weeks Old time in our house.)

For the Baby:

  • The wipe warmer--most moms say it's useless, but the difference between a cold and a warm wipe in this house is the difference between angry-bordering-on-hysterical yodel-like shrieks and daffy, cooing smiles. I choose B.
  • "Sleep and play" outfits--basically the onesies with long sleeves and long arms--especially the ones with a zip-up front and coverings for the hands and feet. The zipper makes things so much easier for the incessant diaper leak crises.
  • The Snap 'n' Go stroller. Thanks to my sister and sisters-in-law for making me register for this and then giving it to me! Our regular stroller is great for off-roading, but it's both heavy and cumbersome; the Snap 'n' Go gets stowed in the trunk of my car and is transportation mode of choice for getting William from the car to the pediatrician's office, to the mall, to Target, and anywhere else I go to spend too much mon--I mean, maintain my child's health and well-being.
  • Speaking of Target, the Mommy Hook. This is just a giant-sized carabiner that clips onto your stroller handle and allows you to let the stroller carry the weight of your purse and any shopping bags you may pick up along the way. This gadget is vital when you no longer have lip gloss and your cell phone rattling around in a cute bag and instead are carrying (one of your many gorgeous) diaper bags stuffed to the brim with god-knows-what.
  • The Swaddle Me and the Miracle Blanket. Dave's brother tried to teach us how to swaddle back when I was pregnant, but I still have a hard time with it, and sometimes (read: at two in the morning) we are just too lazy to make it perfect. Plus, you ideally need a square blanket, something stretchy but not too stretchy...who has the time, honestly? Will sleeps best when swaddled, and the Swaddle Me literally takes three hand motions to get the Velcro tabs in place and William looking like a little fleece burrito. In the Miracle Blanket, which is a bit more complicated to wrap but still less so than starting from scratch with a regular blanket, the result is more of a Mummy Baby. (Preserved in organic cotton, no less.)

In the Name of Efficiency

  • The Charles River walking path just outside my door
  • Amy's frozen burritos for lunch...I can manage the microwave one-handed.
  • 12-cup coffeemaker with the stainless carafe that keeps its contents piping hot throughout the long day, assuming you remember to twist the cap fully after pouring a cup (and assuming you don't, um, leave the carafe in the refrigerator after you pour the milk, ahem).
  • Peapod grocery delivery from Stop 'n' Shop: Don't laugh, I do realize that there is a Stop 'n' Shop located a convenient half-mile from our doorstep, but Peapod pays for its delivery fee in other ways. We don't impulse-buy anymore (cough, Family Size bag of Twizzlers, cough, Dave) and I don't have to nervously wheel a newborn around a grocery store wondering when he's going to wake up hungry. Everybody wins! (Except Dave. He loves Twizzlers.)
  • The drive-through McDonald's on our street, where I can get a coffee and interaction with another adult (gasp!) without ever leaving my car/moving my baby/interrupting infant REM...fabulous!
  • Awesome friends who bring dinner and breakfast and Scene It and all-around good company to our home and understand when we don't want to (or really, really want to but can't) go out instead. Yeah, I'm talking to you, Lauren and Kerry and Christian and Jay and Ryan and Ashley and Scott and whoever else I'm forgetting.
  • Awesome family members who either come from New Jersey bearing economy boxes of diapers and wipes or come from another pocket of Newton or Brookline bearing Starbucks and Tales from the Outside World. Thanks--you are indispensable.

Miscellaneous

  • Us Weeklies, hand-delivered by Kerry, complete with mini Post-It notes describing her outrage at the many pictures of Rosario Dawson in the magazine
  • Cheery red holiday cups at Starbucks
  • Dave, especially when he comes home rejuvenated after a day without babies at the exact moment I am crashing from a day without non-babies

I know many of you haven't figured out how to comment here yet, but I'd love to hear about the things keeping you afloat these days!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Baptism Day Miracle

Will was baptized on Sunday, November 9, and once again he made his parents eat their words; we were convinced that his hatred of the bathtub (OK, we only tried once, but still) would translate to the baptismal font, but we were mistaken! The boy was a superstar.

Godparents Mark and Lauren lead the procession

The baptismal rite is performed while Will sleeps

Proud (and surprised) parents

The job of the godfather



Will's big and wonderful family

Still proud...still surprised...

...still asleep!

After the ceremony, Grandmom and Grandpop Noon hosted a brunch reception nearby for family, godparents and locals, and everyone had a great time bonding with the baby and spending some time together before the out-of-towners had to say their goodbyes.







Thanks to Eric for the beautiful photos. :-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dave's Big 3-0


Back at the beginning of November (yikes), the Boston-based family celebrated Dave's 30th with a birthday dinner. The festivities may look tame, but trust me: after spending the weekend taking care of his mastitis-ridden wife and tending single-handedly to his five-week-old baby, Dave was thrilled to party with a couple of kids on a sugar high. Here is some photographic evidence of the good times:

We couldn't fit thirty candles on the cake, so we settled for one.


Two kids + chocolate cake = total giddiness


This is your brain...




this is your brain on cake...


any questions?

The Seven-Week Itch

Well, not so much of an "itch" as it has been a haze. At five weeks, the fog began to lift. At six weeks postpartum, I felt comfortable going for a run. And now? I feel downright energized!

The first five weeks of having an infant in the house were not what I predicted. I expected sleepless nights, but with Dave's help the first two weeks and then a six- or seven-hour stretch of William sleeping nearly every night, we didn't suffer too much in that department.

Instead, we fretted about whether he was breathing. I had a tough time nursing, or rather, Will had a tough time nursing and I felt sad about it. I missed the baby when I put him down at night and ended up cuddling him right into bed with us. (But I promise--myself, mostly--to stop that by 12 weeks, when he might start to remember it!) Dave and I got confused about who was in charge of what, household-wise, when we were both home. (That was until we realized we were both in charge of everything, all the time, by default, because there is always something to do. Not a fun revelation, but true nonetheless.)

And at this point, I find myself actually having time to think about these things. Sure, it's almost one o'clock in the morning, and Will's finally sleeping in the crook of his dad's arm after an uncharacteristically fussy day. My contacts are still in and I'm drinking my first glass of water of the day. Still, I've had time to get things done today. I went for a walk with women from my moms' group; I addressed a few Christmas cards; I edited a friend's grad school application essay; I fed and changed and played with Will, made dinner for Dave, and now I'm getting in a blog post! All in all, this feels like success. Now if only the baby would sleep for another six or seven hours...

"Sleep is for the weak."

Monday, November 17, 2008

NaNoBloPoMo

In the blogging world, November is National Blog Post Month, and those who participate agree to post an entry on their blog every day for the entire month. I'm definitely the kind of person who responds to a challenge, so I've decided to make the "month" of November 20-December 21 "National Noon Blog Post Month." That's right, I'm going to attempt a blog post per day from this Thursday through the week before Christmas (when things will probably get even more hectic and we'll be traveling).

Just to spell it out, so I have a contract to hold myself to, I'd like to figure out how to post video here so Fans of Will can see what he's been up to lately; I'll also be posting about other snippets of our life here, more so that we can remember what life is like in this moment than because you all will find it interesting, although perhaps a few of you might.

As for the William update: Right now, he's taunting me from the bouncy chair, flashing his easy smiles and almost-chuckles (his face lights up with a grin, he opens his mouth wide as if to laugh, but nothing comes out...poor baby) as if to say, "Yeah, sure, a post a day...as if you could resist my many charms long enough to write even a paragraph!" He may be right, but I'll give it a try anyway.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween & Happy 30th Birthday!

Dave and I spent Halloween with Bella and Joe for the third year in a row on Friday. This year, we brought their cousin, who is apparently a method actor:




ROAARRRRR!


Bella was a devil; Joe wore the mask from the movie Scream, even though he's never seen it (and probably won't for a decade or so):

Cousins

Bella can't wait to baby-sit, and practiced by walking Will around the room:


How soon can you start, Bella?

Dave's big birthday present? Getting to wolf down sushi with his wife while Auntie Rache burped and soothed William in another room.



Just kidding...he also got an electric toothbrush. :-) Happy 30th, Dave! You're an oldie-but-goodie.