Friday, April 23, 2010

Right Here Waiting

I have the cutest pictures (and video) of Finn, but I can't post them because the cable for our camera is stashed somewhere "out of the way" while we try to keep the house clean for showings. In the meantime, let me assure you that he is about as wonderful as they get, and if he would only cut out the sudden scream eruptions in the car I would never, ever be allowed to complain about him.

It must be something about going in atypical order from bottlefeeding to breastfeeding, but I surprisingly don't mind waking up in the middle of the night with Finn. We co-sleep, which gave me wicked anxiety dreams when we did it with Will and none at all so far with Finn, and the middle-of-the-night routine at fourteen weeks is so shockingly simple this time. We went from this:

-wake up
-panic briefly re: baby's whereabouts
-realize he is in my arms
-wake Dave up
-Dave warms the bottle and starts the feeding, while I...
-get out the pump parts and fill a new bottle for next time
-(not to mention all the daytime cleaning of bottle parts and measuring out supplementary formula and keeping track of how long the bottle had been in use, AAAAAAHHHH!)

to this:

-sort of wake up, but not really
-sling baby across body
-Dave continues to snore
-feed baby for 10 or 20 minutes, both of us dozing
-slide back down in bed, to sleep

Will and Dave went to New Jersey without us this weekend, leaving us behind because of the afore(much)mentioned car screaming, and I thought I'd be disappointed but also appreciative of some alone time with Finn. Instead, seven hours into the alone time, and all of Finn's giggles and smirks and dimples, even his joyful yodeling when I sing "Mighty Duke of York," have done little to remedy the melancholy I'm feeling because Will isn't by my side.

I miss his latest move, the one where I try to get him to do something silly and he chuckles and says, "Ma-mawwwwww," almost ruefully, like he's in on the joke. I miss his most recently adopted phrases, from "Big! Hug!" to "Blue car!" and "Mama drive," with the accompanying steering-wheel-maneuver hand gestures. And when I walked into the playroom shortly after they had gone, I almost burst into tears because it was so quiet, and his dump truck was going to sit unused for two whole days, and what is the point of this playroom if he's not here to use it?

(I know. He is gone for two days. As my dear friend Ceci reminded me, I can actually "sleep when the baby sleeps" this weekend, and even--gasp--go to the bathroom all by myself! It's just so tough to enjoy being home when my supersized chatterbox toddler isn't here to force me outside or tell me about the "BUS!" with "WHEELS!" and...I need to stop writing about this or I'll be near tears again.)

On a less sentimental note, did you guys know that 1-800-Contacts is actually awesome? I just never thought about using them before, and the other day when I realized I was down to my last pair but didn't have to go back to the eye doctor for another six months, I went online and ordered some and they came not two days later! And a year's supply was WAY cheaper than what I usually pay--and I got free shipping. Of course, when I had to call and ask them a question, I stood there for literally two minutes scanning the order form for their phone number.


I was frustrated that I could not find the phone number for 1-800-CONTACTS. Let that one sink in.

So, in summary, I miss my firstborn and my mommy brain still reigns supreme over here. Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Keeping Me Sane, Take Two, Part Two

New Category Alert: For Breastfeeding

First let me say that I think I'm uniquely positioned to talk about good breastfeeding prep and troubleshooting because I had that nightmarish experience with Will and have now established a wonderful rhythm with Finn. However, as I mentioned in a prior post, that rhythm took a LOT of hard work to establish, even in the months before he was born.

  • A prenatal lactation consult--if you're looking in the Boston area, Beth Sargent at Isis Maternity. Knowing she was on my team and knew me personally before Finn was even born gave me a feeling of preparedness.
  • A postnatal lactation consult--STAT. I visited Beth at Isis when Finn was 3 days old, and scheduled the visit directly after his first pediatrician's appointment so that if my doctor had been concerned about weight gain, Beth would have reassurances and strategies for me.
  • A supportive pediatrician. He might be supportive that you DON'T want to breastfeed, supportive that you do, or just your cheerleader in every way. Mine was non-dogmatically pro-breastfeeding, so when Finn's weight gain was a whole lot slower than Will's initially, he was completely unfazed. He never even mentioned the word formula, only suggesting that if it would make me feel better I could pump an extra bottle to top Finn off at night. However, just as importantly, he wasn't opposed to formula--he asked questions and supported me in my goals.
  • (FYI, topping Finn off at night has never really worked for us.)
  • A postpartum doula. Jen was helpful in every way, but she made herself available over the phone even before her scheduled weeks began, even before Finn's arrival, in fact. She laughed gently at me when I kept insisting that I had thrush because of completely made-up symptoms I was assigning myself. She told me about other women she'd known who had my experiences, referred me to websites, and all the while helped me run my household of two small kids.
  • Makeshift nursing bras. Basically, I cut out the underwire in my larger pregnancy-sized bras and voila! A nice supply of nursing bras. I never used the snap/panel trappings of the "real" (and usually expensive) nursing tops anyway--it's always been way easier to just pull everything up in one quick motion.
  • The Brest Friend and Boppy. Leah used to make fun of my pregnancy pillow, the Snoogle, but that was before she caught wind of my new nursing pillow, the My Brest Friend. Oh how I wish I were making that name up. And yet, it really was great in those first three or four weeks when I didn't know WHAT I was doing and Finn certainly had no clue and would just lie there until I shoved his head toward me at the right angle. After that first month, the Brest Friend was too cumbersome and now I use a Boppy when I can get to it, or I prop him on a pillow or a balled-up blanket or nothing at all.
  • Having someone teach me how to nurse in a carrier. If you use the Bjorn or an Ergo or a sling a lot, it's great to learn how to nurse in it. The Ergo's easiest for me because the sun flap that comes with it snaps over his head and there's a space on each side that allows me access if I need to position him a little bit. But it's enabled me to nurse him on walks or just without having to lurch him out of his cozy pouch, and that's been helpful.
  • Breastfeeding drop-in group (also at Isis, for me)--I only went once but in the weeks following I'd go in every Tuesday and weigh Finn on the same electronic scale, just to pacify my mind. This was a friend's suggestion, which leads me to:
  • A friend to mull things over/talk things out with; if you're lucky enough to know her, I highly recommend Bianica. We've even discussed how similar our lives are even though we are many miles apart. She always has reassuring things to say, but more importantly she has practical tips that WORK, like the weekly weigh-in suggestion. Having her as a sounding board has been invaluable.
For the Toddler:

  • Friends in the neighborhood. I've already buttered them up in many a post here, but I can't say enough good things about Will's playgroup friends and their parents. In this good weather, we've been spending mornings at the playground, which helps to...
  • ...wear out the children! I just bring Will outside (which he demands all the time anyway with his little lisp--he actually climbed on top of the ottoman the other day to unlock the door and chant Out-THIDE, Out-THIDE, Out-THIDE) and hurry him around the neighborhood or let him scale the playground structures. We both see our friends, we get a healthy dose of vitamin D, and he slept through diaper changes on two separate occasions last week because he was Just So Exhausted. Win!
  • My parents' house. It's a change of scenery, boasts a variety of novel toys and household items, and is a great bribery tool, as in, "As soon as you have your socks and shoes on, we can go to...Nan and Mamp's house!" This invariably leads to Will padding around the house pointing out things that belong to or remind him of Nan and Mamp, but it also eventually convinces him to stop kicking off his shoes and head down to the car.
  • Stuffed animals. They are suddenly very interesting to him, and he likes to kiss them and then pretend that they are kissing each other. (Especially "Soft Elmo" and regular Tickle Me "Elmo.")
  • Non-board books. I know! It's a whole new world! Recently he's been loving Dig, Where the Wild Things Are, and this noisemaking monstrosity his godmother got him for Christmas called Snappy Sounds or some nonsense. (Thanks, Auntie Lo!)
  • CDs in the car--we have been on a constant rotation of Sara Hickman's "Toddler," a Rockabye Baby compilation of rock songs turned lullaby (think harpsichord-meets-Guns-'n'-Roses. No, really), and Elmo's Sing-along. They keep me and Will sane while we endure Finn's ear-splitting screams of protest.
I'll finish this list up as soon as we sell our condo, move to our next house and...see you in 2011?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Keeping Me Sane, Take Two, Part One

The last time I wrote a post like this, Will was almost two months old and it was November. NOVEMBER. Not chilly-with-sun-peeking-through-wait-is-it-really-going-to-be-eighty-degrees-tomorrow? April (sidebar: April!! Woo-hoo!), but honest-to-god-here-comes-winter NOVEMBER.

Oh, how I pity the new-mommy me of yesteryear. If I met her now, I'm sure I would be nastily condescending, saying things like, "Honey, you don't have to order groceries--just go on the weekends," or "Ha ha, I remember when my biggest problem was how to prepare lunch with a baby strapped to my chest." I would DEFINITELY tell her to lay off the TV, because really? The Wire and True Blood and (shudder) One Tree Hill? You were that bored? (No, I do remember how much more boring it was with a newborn when I didn't have a fun, chatty toddler to entertain me. Sorry, did I say entertain me? I meant RUN ME RAGGED. Anyway!)

This is part one, and there will be at least a couple more posts like this--apparently the amount of stuff I need to keep me sane has increased exponentially in the last year and a half. Wonder why...

On TV or DVD (or, new sub-category, On My Bedside Table)
  • DVR'ed episodes of Modern Family, Cougar Town, Gossip Girl, 30 Rock, The Office
  • On Demand episodes of Parenthood, The Pacific, and 16 and Pregnant (oh yes, really)
  • Coming soon: Treme on HBO, probably Glee if I can't help myself
  • Not so much anymore: How I Met Your Mother. Because, when?!? When will you meet their mother? Enough already!!
  • O magazine--um, my mom and I both have subscriptions now...need I say more?
  • Entertainment Weekly: we started subscribing for free through Dave's extra-but-useless Delta miles, and now I count on it for good music and book reviews, which brings me to
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett: the book club selection du jour, and not, in my opinion, a Literary Work of Genius, but definitely absorbing and well-written
  • Baby/toddler books galore, including: Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp, Your Child's Growing Mind by Jane M. Healy, Bright From the Start by Jill Stamm (my favorite so far), and Raising an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin
For the Baby:
  • The bouncy seat (OMG he likes it! He really likes it! Coos, giggles, bats at the fish LIKES IT!)
  • The swing (won't put him to sleep, but will keep him asleep)
  • SwaddleMes, just like his bro
  • The wipe warmer (TWICE now I have laughed in the face of the naysayers who claim it's a novelty item, a pretentious extra--both my boys require this thing)
  • Ergo, Baby Bjorn, Ergo, Baby Bjorn. I wear Finn all day long, even down to the car where I put him in his bucket seat (thus thwarting the entire purpose of having a bucket seat) and then again when I retrieve him from the car.
  • Dr. Sears' Baby Book. I have probably used most of the standard baby reference books out there, no joke, and I have to tell you that this one works best for me. It goes overboard in its praise for attachment parenting (I don't choose to wear Finn all the time because I believe in it as a method so much as because IT WORKS) but it's also sensible plus the Searses are a nurse-practitioner mother and a pediatrician father WHO RAISED EIGHT CHILDREN. A bonus is that they don't rely on scare tactics to guilt you into following their advice, which I've found a surprising number of these books DO.
  • Sleep 'n' play outfits, again. This time, I only tolerate the footie ones with snaps or zippers all the way up the front. These Gerber ones are my favorite because they're thin enough to layer over without overheating Finn, and because the 0-3 month size actually fit him for about two months and the 3-6 size actually fits him now. I also like the thicker, cuter Carter brand sleep 'n' plays.
Sad but true mandatory disclaimer: No one's ever paid me to praise a product.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Finny Finn Finn with the Dimpled Grin

Finn is an easy baby.

Or, as I like to say, either Finn is easier than Will was, or I am easier than I was with Will, or both. Probably both--I just ask Finn to go with the flow as much as possible, and Finn honors my request, and it makes things seem EASY.

Don't get me wrong: there is stuff that is objectively not easy. Finn isn't a marathon sleeper like Will was. He has a long stint in the evening, from 8 or 9 to 2 or 3 in the morning, but then he's up every two or three hours again, so he almost always wakes us up just before Dave's alarm is set to go off anyway. That's not great timing, FINTAN DAVID. But we'll forgive you because...

...your dimples, kid. There are two of them, although one looks like it's here to stay while the left one might be a driveby dimple. Still, when they come out to play it is beyond cute. Today you had your first real laugh, this delighted inhalation while I was singing "Mighty Duke of York" and lifting you up on my knee.

(Another thing you have two of: man boobs. You are filling out nicely, and as of the last few weeks you have added some thigh rolls and chest chub and a full extra chin to complement your original chin.)

Finn has also gotten on a schedule of late. It's not a fabulous schedule, but it's predictable. OK, not so much of a schedule as sa routine. He likes to fall asleep in the Ergo (like a Baby Bjorn) carrier, and after a while he'll allow himself to be transferred to the swing or bassinet. Hot Tip: He must be swaddled to endure this transfer. When he wakes up, he needs to nurse within fifteen or so minutes, but can be distracted by some face time with someone--anyone--and a few songs or tickles. Like big brother Will, he uses but is not addicted to his pacifier. Hopefully he'll follow suit with Will's six-month pacifier self-weaning, too.

So, that's it. His nighttime and morning wakeups are only to eat, although sometimes at six or seven a.m. he'll stare at me until I smile, and then he'll smile back. His afternoon wakeups show more of his smiley personality. Finn's only kryptonite so far is the car seat. As much as Will loved his car seat, chose to sleep there, still falls asleep there regularly? That's how much Finn hates it. And I've only just figured out why: he doesn't want to be left alone. He cries when I leave the room, although that could be more of a "Wait, where's my lunch lady?" cry. He loves it when Will comes over to point out his toes/nose/ears/mouth/chin/elbow, interjecting a "Goo-Gah!" or "Hiiiiiii!" and dotting him with kisses.

So basically, Finn loves attention, being held, being talked to and kissed, and eating. He hates the opposite of all those things. And who can blame him?

Furthermore, who can resist him? YUM.