31 December 2005

oliver on the mend

I'm pleased to report that Oliver has had a great day. No fever, good moods, and great naps. His appetite is a bit slow to return but he's eating enough that I'm not concerned. I had yet another clogged duct or something yesterday but that is mostly resolved too. We are finally going to see the lights at Hartwood Acres tonight, after trying all week and having various things prevent us from getting there.

After what I used to go through (spend an hour getting him down for a nap, having the nap last 10 minutes) I am truly astounded at how easily he goes down for naps lately. And he stays asleep for an hour or so pretty regularly so I can even get some things done. Unfortunately, that's often WAY too much blog surfing. Check out the list of must-reads on the right. There is a new addition to the list, Give Me the Booger. SJ is an absolute hoot. She's caused me to nearly lose bladder control more times than I can count and I've only been reading her for a couple of days. Granted, the bladder control thing is more of a challenge since Oliver arrived, but still, I'm blaming SJ. She blogs about stuff I would need an anonymous blog for, especially her great stories. Someday I too will spill all the tales of my mis-spent youth, but none of you readers who know me will ever hear about it!

29 December 2005

penguin's handiwork

Penguin has been obsessed with Oliver's new puzzle. So much so that when I wasn't paying attention she stole one of the pieces, by its handy handle, and took it to her bed for some quality chewing. Perhaps she is not getting enough fiber in her diet. I am hoping some sandpaper, or maybe the dremel, can make the piece safe to use again. Pen does not appear to have injested any wood.

The little guy has been under the weather today. He started the day lethargic and clingy, running a low fever. He wanted to sleep a lot, preferably on the chest of one of his parents. The fever went up a bit near dinner time. He's snoozing now, after a couple of long nursing sessions. I hope I am making antibodies to whatever he's fighting off and he will be his happy self again tomorrow.

28 December 2005


Oliver has achieved a few milestones in the last couple of days. I think his teachers are going to see a big difference when he returns to school next week. He is now consistently able to go from crawling to sitting. He was trying to do this last week but usually got a leg stuck awkwardly underneath and would give up and go back to crawling. The crawling is also improving. We see far fewer belly flops and his speed is starting to scare me.

Technically, he met the definition of "sleeping through the night" last night by going 6 hours without waking. That falls a bit short of my definition, but progress is being made nonetheless. We have discontinued feedings between my going to bed and at least 5am. CD gets up with him and is usually able to get him back to sleep. We have noticed Oliver's wakings are getting a little later each night, but I think we have a way to go before he gives up entirely. I was hoping it would happen before CD has to travel again but it doesn't look like that will happen.

26 December 2005

ho ho ho and mistletoe and presents for pretty girls

My two favorite men came through with excellent Christmas gifts. Thanks boys!!! After months of whining, and hints that were not the least bit subtle, I now own a digital camera. It's a Canon PowerShot SD450 and is truly an itty bitty thing of beauty.

Here's a little bit of what it can do, without me reading the manual. I did take a peak at the manual this afternoon. The "pets and kids" mode sounds especially intriguing. I will have to do a bit more reading and fiddling with the camera, but I'm really pleased with what it can do without me knowing anything at all.

Oliver says, "Thanks for the legos, Auntie Kate! They sure are tasty."

[Bonus points for the first commenter (other than my sister) to identify the title of this post.]

22 December 2005

too cool for school (naps)

Oliver's typical naps at school are 30-40 minutes. Sometimes there are two, sometimes three. Sometimes he teases us and sleeps over an hour, but that's rare. Sometimes, like today, he has a 20 minute nap.

In contrast, we have a fairly nice weekend nap routine. I can usually get a 90 minute nap early in the morning, another hour or so around noonish, and a third nap later in the afternoon. This started working even better when I began swaddling him for naps, like they do at school. Swaddling never worked for us before, not even when he was just home from the hospital. I'm not sure what is different now but it's working. I do leave his right arm free so he can have his thumb, which is frequently the key to happiness.

I have a few theories on why he naps so much better at home. First and foremost, we can let him fuss mid-nap and that's a bit difficult in the nap room at school. At home he may fuss for a minute and go back to sleep. At school though, there may be other napping kids nearby. His teachers don't have the luxury of letting him fuss and put himself back to sleep, in most cases.

Another theory is that school is interesting while home and parents are boring. I very much hope I'm wrong about this one but the first morning nap really tells the story. Oliver is frequently sleepy when we arrive at school. One look at his teachers and the toys and he's suddenly wide awake and ready to play. Sometimes it is an hour or more before he goes down for a nap.

Finally, I think he may be so exhausted from not napping well during the week that he conks out on weekends.

I sincerely hope the holiday break, and lots of good naps, become a habit he takes back to school in January.

And in related news, Oliver went seven hours without eating last night. He didn't sleep that entire time but he also wasn't starving when I fed him either. I really think he's ready to be sleeping through the night but the nighttime feedings have become a habit for him. Inspired by a recent post on dadcentric, we are going to try having CD help him get back to sleep during those night wakings. Perhaps after a few nights of scratchy beard instead of boob, he will give up and let us all sleep. Wish us luck.

21 December 2005

where's that time machine when I need it?

Sorry Oliver. Mum is NOT ready for Christmas. Therefore, it shall be postponed 3-5 days while she gets her shit together. Perhaps we should make that 5-7. And change "days" to "years", please.

The list of things I have not done in preparation for the arrival of Granny and Santa is very long and not terribly distinguished. I'm thinking I need to find a turkey. And clean up the tumbleweeds in the kitchen and dining room. When you have three clumber spaniels and no time to groom them the result is tumbleweeds, poofs white fur that get larger and larger every day, and blow around every time you are called upon to serve as your dogs' doorman.

There's laundry to do, food to be acquired, a few more presents to buy. And I think we need some tape if any wrapping is to occur. And the cleaning. If I started now and didn't eat, sleep or feed Oliver, I would probably get the house looking presentable.

Don't get me started on the decorations that are neatly in their boxes, just as I put them away last year.

Somebody wake me when this is all over.

19 December 2005

my underachieving breast

There has been a lingering effect of Ralph's recent visit, a dip in milk supply. Specifically, my right breast has decided it no longer wishes to hold up its end in its conversation with the pump. I'm not dehydrated. I've gone back on the herbs. I'm eating oatmeal and drinking water. Still it mocks me. "An ounce is enough, " it says. Ha! "Tell that to my growing 8 month old," I say.

It's like the theme from Frasier. "What IS a girl to do? Right breast has. left. the building."

10pm update: Right breast not on strike after all. Plumbing is clogged somewhere, as I have a large hard area in that breast now. This happened once before. I tried all the usual things (nursing, pumping, massage, nursing, hot shower, nursing, more pumping, did I mention I tried nursing?) but no luck until many hours later when a middle of the night nursing finally solved the problem.

All this is maybe to be expected since I allowed (begged is more like it) a plastic surgeon to slice and dice the girls four years ago. That the plumbing works at all is a minor miracle.

7am update: The middle of the night feeds (yes, that's a plural) were mostly ineffective at clearing the blockage but Oliver finally worked his magic. I can hear the sighs of relief all over the 'net.

18 December 2005

for the visitors from EphBlog

If you're visiting from EphBlog and looking for the post on my second child dilemma, click here. Thanks for dropping by! Go Ephs!

[If you're asking, "What's an Eph?" here's a wikipedia link.]

16 December 2005

talk to me

Okay, I know you're out there. I see you checking this blog once a day, and sometimes more often than that. But you're awfully quiet! I'd love to know why you're a regular reader, and in addition to pictures of Oliver, what you would like to see more of. With the holiday break from work coming up I'll have more time to ramble on in my usual fashion.

there are only HOW many days until Christmas?

So yesterday it hit me...10 short days until Christmas and I had done almost no shopping. Between the visit from Ralph, a bunch of really crappy (but somewhat pretty if you don't have to go outside) weather, and being ridiculously behind in just about everything in my life, shopping was not even a faint blip on the radar screen.

As of noon today, I'm just about done. I expect my credit card will burst into a puff of smoke any minute. And holy moly, is Amazon fast!!! UPS just delivered a toy I ordered for Oliver yesterday. How'd they do that???

There's still a bunch left to do, like clean the house, decorate, and support CD's valiant efforts to finish the master bathroom remodel, but the bulk of the shopping is done. I had as much as I could shipped directly, as our post office lines are insane and the clerks in no way acquainted with "holiday spirit".

Not to bury the lead or anything but Santa visited our house today, in the form of a very nice job offer for CD, one that enables us to stay in Pittsburgh for at least a year. It will be a big change for him but he is genuinely excited about it and after the energy he poured into the Mulberry email client for 10 years, that is really saying something. More about all this after the New Year, except to say how lucky I am to be married to him.

11 December 2005

lost and FOUND

Not long after Oliver was born I started searching my house for my copy of Marshmallow, a wonderful book from my childhood. At some point about five years ago I discovered it was in print again in hardcover and I purchased it. When I was in elementary school my kindergarten teacher, Mrs Osgood, invited me back to her class once a year to read to her students. Every year I took Marshmallow out of the school library and that is what I read.

Obviously, my memory is completely shot to hell. Not only could I not find the book, I didn't even remember the cat in the book is named Oliver. You can't imagine how much of an idiot I felt like when I took Marshmallow out of our local library a few weeks ago and read it to Oliver.

Tonight, after much searching on many occasions over the last few months, and many times deciding I had hallucinated making the purchase, Marshmallow was found. It's in pristine condition, after spending a few years in the bottom of a box. I probably could sell it but I'll be keeping it for Oliver. I'm sure it won't be pristine much longer but that's okay. As soon as we graduate from board books, the ones Oliver prefers to chew on more than anything else, Marshmallow will be his.

The only thing better than the story is the illustrations. If there's a cat or bunny lover on your holiday gift list, I recommend it.

the eight month update

Oliver is eight months old today. I know it's trite but really, where did the time go? and what did we do before he was born? It's as difficult to remember life before Oliver as life before Clumbers. Sometimes I ponder whether we should have jumped on the baby train a little sooner, but in truth, I wouldn't change a thing. Thanks to CD, we've done things in the right order for us. Good think there is one being in the house equipped with patience and foresight.

Oliver's newest skill is the 90% crawl. He's just about got it, but still flops onto his stomach to move his arms forward most of the time. It looks a bit like a seal. Darn cute, and we do have a little video. Not sure I'll figure out how to load it here though. We have been saving video for a new DVD for family far away and once we get that done, maybe we'll look into putting a clip or two on the blog.

He also can spin around on his tummy, a full 360 degrees. Thus, Oliver is now able to get wherever he wants to go, and in many cases, exactly where we don't want him to go. He has developed obsessions with laptop powercords and the shelves below the TV, which contain all the usual things people without children leave there, exposed: cable box, dvd player, vcr, speakers, and various and sundry cords, adapters and general junk. Very little in the way of baby-proofing has been accomplished. That project is rapidly bubbling to the top of our list.

We are starting to see small glimpses of separation anxiety in Oliver. When I pick him up at school I usually try to check the diaper, nap, and food logs before he sees me. If I am spotted before going in to the nap room, he gets upset when I disappear. In general though, he remains a very happy kid with smiles for nearly everyone. While shopping yesterday he was charming as could be in the stores, only to scream at the top of his lungs due to being tired when he was in the car. I wonder if this is his idea of being a comedian. Time will tell.

We have accomplished eight months of nursing today too. I'm struggling a bit with supply after getting very dehydrated on Friday. I am contemplating taking Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle again if we're not back to normal on Monday. I still haven't spotted any white patches in Oliver's mouth so we haven't started treatment for thrush. I didn't want to start it while he was sick anyway. I will probably have to aim a flashlight in his mouth when he wakes up from his nap. (It's not even noon and he's on his second nap!!)

10 December 2005

the tree dilemma, likely solved

We are expecting a very special visitor for Christmas. Oliver's granny from England will be joining us, and meeting her grandson for the first time. I think this takes care of the Christmas tree dilemma. We have much to do in preparation for her visit. We will just have to add "putting up Christmas tree" to the list.


We're all doing better this morning, after a relatively peaceful night. I'm able to keep water down and some applesauce. Once I get a shower I may even feel like a human again.

Oliver had a little cereal and fruit this morning, about a quarter of what he usually eats but we are going to take things slowly this weekend. He's down for his nap now, snoozing happily.

Now we can get started on the thrush treatment.

09 December 2005

the fun never ends

We seem to have been visited by the dark mark, or "Ralph and Di" as Misfit Hausfrau puts it, far better than I ever could. We have the added bonus of our first case of thrush. Woo hoo!

Oliver hurled on Wednesday and Thursday but seemed to be fine today. He never barfed breastmilk, just his solids. I thought he was out of the woods. "Ralph" made his visit to me at midnight and is sticking around. Ginger ale helps but water isn't working, nor is toast. Two calls from Oliver's school today. The first to tell us they suspect thrush. Then again a few minutes ago to say he lost his lunch and they'd like him to go home. It's going around the room, apparently. At least two teachers have it as well. I sincerely hope, for all our sakes, that CD is spared. We need one healthy human in the house.

As for the thrush, I've had a bothersome nipple for a week or so now. On good days, it feels like ground beef. I chalked it up to those two top teeth Oliver is sporting. Looks like I was wrong.

As if all this were not enough, I found a lump on Penguin, possibly a mammary tumor. She's been acting very squirrelly and clingy lately. We'll try to get her to the vet tomorrow, if anyone is up to it.

08 December 2005

better lobster

As promised, here is the better lobster boy picture. As Sally would say, "Isn't he the cutest thing?"

07 December 2005

the nicest room in the house

Without question, Oliver's room is the most "done" and easily the nicest in the house. Not coincidentally, it is also the smallest. It's an irregular shape which doesn't help. Maybe 10 feet at its longest and widest points. Itty bitty, yes, but we've managed to creatively cram in all the furniture and storage a growing boy needs.

The renovation project was planned for between Christmas and New Year's last year and the plan was to rip out the carpet, spruce up the nice hardwood floor, paint, apply chair rail, bask in the glory of our handiwork. We were not counting on finding 50 year old linoleum under the carpet, since it didn't exist anywhere else in the house. In the end, it took about six weeks of hard slogging to finish and we acquired many new power tools. I can take almost no credit for the finished product. Other than the sponge painting, it was all CD. I have never thanked him properly for working so hard and giving our baby boy such a nice space.

Last weekend the finishing touch was added.

I wish I had a "before" and a "during" to add. Prior to becoming the nursery, this room had icky blue carpet and housed the dog crates.

04 December 2005

a far less life-altering dilemma

After my last entry, it's time to move on to a far less life-altering dilemma: Christmas Tree or no?

We had a tree one year, 2000. It was great. CD had never had a real tree before. Apparently that's not done in England. (This is the only reason I can think of for not moving there, other than the part about never being able to afford a house....) We got it at IKEA, when they had the deal where you could return it on a Saturday in January and give you a gift card for something close to the purchase price AND they would chip the trees and donate the mulch to local garden projects. I hear they aren't doing this anymore. Too bad.

In 2001, we got Piper. Though we thought about getting one and just putting an ex-pen around it, we ultimately decided that a tree with a new puppy in the house would not be a good thing. And every year since we have concluded that Piper + Christmas tree would be disaster. The new house doesn't have a fire place do it's damn hard to make it the least bit festive for the holiday, especially without a tree.

Since this will be Oliver's first Christmas I've been going over the possibilities...put a tree outside on the very bare front porch where it would be unreachable by Piper...but I couldn't put any of my nice ornaments outside. Ditto for the back porch, and Piper could get to it out there. Inside? There's a possible spot in the living room and one in the dining room (though that would be a stretch). Yeah, we could re-arrange a few dog beds for a month.

One dilemma I never thought I would have is real vs fake. I'm a real tree girl, all the way. Never had fake, never will. I'm reconsidering. Technology seems to have advanced to the point where I really want to check them out, especially the pre-lit ones. Not having to wrestle with strings of lights is darn attractive.

What do you think? Am I mellowing in my old age? Should I let go of my purist tendencies just this once? Or should we skip the whole thing since Oliver isn't going to remember it anyway?

02 December 2005

one more time, with feeling

To sib or not to sib. I've been thinking about the whole second baby thing for a while now. With my 40th birthday less than two months away, time's a-wastin'. This entry on Blogging Baby was the impetus to finally write about the topic. Thanks for the kick in the butt, Karen.

One of my first thoughts after surviving Oliver's delivery was utter amazement that some women go through it more than once. I was thrilled to have my son but my body felt like it had been through hell. My mother had five kids. The mind boggles. When I got over the initial trauma, and the area of my body known to my nurses as "the war zone" finally surrendered, I started to go back and forth in my head, many many many times a day, over whether Oliver should have a sibling.

There are so many good arguments on both sides. I fear a child who is the polar opposite of Oliver, starting with the pregnancy. I would have morning sickness with the next baby. She would sleep like a log at night and be grumpy all day. She wouldn't nurse well, would develop severe nipple confusion with bottles, hate all strangers and would be happy only in a bathtub. She would have no sense of humor. Thoughts like that are almost enough to make one consider tubal ligation, or better yet, vasectomy.

On the other hand, CD and I won't be around forever and I don't like the idea of Oliver being alone in the world. Or having to figure out how to push both of our wheelchairs by himself. I would like to know he has someone to talk to who has shared closely in his life experiences should there be difficult decisions to make. And while I have known perfectly well-adjusted only children, necessary lessons about sharing may be easier to teach at home with another child.

But then what about all the alone-time I've had with Oliver? I would never have that with baby #2. Would he/she feel cheated? And how could I possibly give Oliver any less attention, parcelling out time between two kids? Some would argue two is twice the fun. I must be a "glass half-empty" girl because sometimes I see twice the work and thus, half the fun, in the bizarre calculus going on in my head.

Then there's the desire to balance things out by adding a girl to the family, though with the dogs and cat factored in, girls are already in the lead in our household. Before Oliver, I never imagined myself the mother of a boy. I could only picture myself with girls. Now, as so many mothers of sons before me have discovered, it's hard to imagine adding a girl to the mix. I should really let this one go since we don't exactly get to place our order anyway. But then it seems like CD would like one of each and there's the strong desire to make him happy. I'll never forget the day in Maine, when I was coming up on 12 weeks pregnant and a few days before we got our CVS results and knew the gender of our baby. One of my family members asked CD if he was hoping for a boy or a girl. He responded something along the lines of, "It doesn't matter with the first one." That was truly the first time the idea of a second child ever crossed my mind. Clearly, he had been thinking about it a bit longer.

So this is how it's been in my head for a while now. Back and forth. Up and down. Round and round. A couple of months ago we agreed to discuss it on Oliver's first birthday, in April of 2006. I don't think I'll be physically ready before then and given my age, we don't want to leave it much longer. We also liked the timing of that pregnancy. I wasn't big or uncomfortable during the summer heat, which I hate anyway, and Oliver arrived after the end of the very cold weather. And of course, I already have maternity clothes that are seasonally correct.

At last, in just the past week or so, I have figured out what was really bothering me, and it is ridiculously simple. It's the "older parent" thing. Growing up I was very conscious of the fact I had older parents. It was more my dad, who retired when I was 12. I always said it wasn't being 40 and pregnant that scared me. It was being 55 with a 15 year old. But the more I think about it, the real problem isn't my fear of being an older parent so much as my fear that my kid(s) will be the only one(s) with older parents. I need only look around Oliver's school to see this is not the case. The parents under 30 appear to be in the minority. Demographics are on my side.

That doesn't entirely solve my dilemma, but it goes a long way towards putting me into a frame of mind where I can envision making one more trip down the parenthood path. And the slightly faded memories of "the war zone" help too.

01 December 2005

look out world, here he comes

This really should be accompanied by a little video but Oliver is teetering on the brink of crawling. After a few weeks of moving backwards and a week or so of doing his best inchworm impersonation, he has figured out how to organize the movements required for forward motion. Now he just has to do it more than once.

He is also doing some nifty pivots on his tummy too. Yesterday he managed a >180 degree spin in about three very well-executed moves.

Toys are the primary motivation right now but I have a feeling once he gets moving for real there will be no stopping him. Fasten your seatbelts!

30 November 2005

stuff we love, volume 6 - the holiday edition

With the holidays approaching I thought it would be a good idea to list a few of the baby things I'd rather not be without. Seven and a half months in to this wild ride I have deluded myself into thinking we know what we're doing. These items, along with the others I've blogged in prior "stuff we love" entries, have helped to maintain the illusion:

Diapees & Wipees - Perhaps the simplest of all inventions for parents and babies on the go. As a breastfeeder, I can leave the house with one of these, stocked with a couple of diapers, a sample size package of wipes and a disposable changing pad, and nothing else. Travelling light is a new concept for me and I like it. We have the black disco dot pattern. You are probably talented enough to make one of these for yourself.

Old Navy Thermal Henleys - These meet all the criteria for a good product: stylish, well-made and CHEAP!!! Oliver has four of these in the current wardrobe rotation, having out-grown two that were passed on to us by Duncan. They are just too darn cute. He looks like a miniature college student when he wears them with jeans. I'm not generally a fan of Old Navy but I have a couple of items from them that I would not trade for anything. My favorite turtleneck from last year, when I was very pregnant, is sorely missed.

Pump In Style Advanced - PISA and I spend about 20 minutes of quality time together every work day. The snazzy bag lets me walk to my pumping dungeon, two floors down from my office, without announcing, "I'm off to hook my boobs up to a milking machine now," to all the students I pass along the way. I still get strange looks when I'm cleaning the bits in the bathroom, but I can deal.

Mustela Facial Cleansing Cloths
- Oliver's skin gets very dry when he gets a daily bath, and until recently "tubby time" was anything but happy. These cloths are wonderful for between bath days. Designed for the face, I use them on his body as well. We also like the Mustela Hydra-Stick now that the weather is colder. It keeps his cheeks from getting chapped and is in keeping with the aforementioned "travel light" theme.

Finally, my favorite on-line purveyor of baby stuff is kidsurplus.com. They don't have everything, and they don't always have the size or color I'm looking for, but their prices can't be beat. Ridiculously fast shipping too. Vermont to Pittsburgh usually takes 2 days.

Happy shopping!

27 November 2005

eating, sleeping, growing

More new foods to add to the list: peaches and potatoes

More, better naps: Three, count them THREE hour-long naps yesterday

Growth and lots of it: Back to the ounce-a-day trajectory

And one last point of progress...another "happy tubby" and he went in without being wrapped in a receiving blanket.

24 November 2005

advancements in sleep

I'm almost afraid to say this "out loud" but we're seeing a new, and most enjoyable, trend in Oliver's sleep. His afternoon nap yesterday was over 1.5 hours. His teachers at school have taken to saying, "He took an Oliver nap," if he slept 30 to 45 minutes. I think we are well on our way to eradicating that phrase.

Last night he slept from 1:15 to 6:45am! The aforementioned carbon monoxide issue crossed my mind but I need not have worried.

His morning nap was about an hour and 40 minutes. And there was another of just over an hour this afternoon. He also took a 45 minute nap around the time he should have been having some cereal and veggies, but it's a holiday so he stayed up a little later.

Perhaps best of all, he's falling asleep with a minimum of fussing. It may take him a minute to turn his head the right way and find the thumb he's looking for, but that time is shrinking substantially and sometimes, like tonight, there is no fussing at all. I attribute some of this to timing and better recognition of his sleepy signals. It could also be his normal growth process. Perhaps our doc was right all along and he's just ready. In any event, it's fab and I fully intend to enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

Bathtime had been a bit of a trial lately but we've turned the corner in that area as well. "Tubby" is now a very happy time, even more so tonight when he finally decided it was okay for us to turn the tub around so he's now using the end designed for independent sitters. We had tried before, only to have Oliver protest mightily. He figured out it was easier to reach his purple hippo from this position too. I expect to see significantly more splashing in the near future.

23 November 2005

baby, it's cold inside

The furnace needs a part. Should be in next week.... Brrrrr

UPDATE (11:45am): Part was acquired this morning and should be installed this afternoon. Not only is our HVAC guy exceedingly easy on the eyes, he ROCKS.

UPDATE (7:00pm): The part didn't solve the problem. More parts have been ordered but won't arrive until next week. For the moment, we have heat. One potential problem is carbon monoxide but we have two working detectors so we should be fine.

a palate develops

Oliver is having a great time with solid foods. He tried avocado over the weekend and it was a hit. So much so that we now have cubes of the stuff in our freezer. Avocado plus barley cereal plus breast milk equals some really wonky guacamole-ish slop. (Don't worry....we don't serve it to guests!)

Here are the foods Oliver has tried and enjoyed (meaning everything he's tried - nothing rejected yet):

multi-grain (contains oatmeal, rice and millet)

sweet potato
winter squash
green beans


garbanzo beans

Pincer grasp is coming along too. He practices daily with cheerios. We're going to have to branch out in that area soon. I'm thinking tofu. Any other suggestions?

breastmilk wasted (and I didn't cry!)

Honest, I didn't cry, even though it was six precious ounces. There was yelling though. Lots of yelling. At a dog. And I did give her the cold shoulder for at least an hour afterwards, right up until she decided to join me on the couch and keep my feet warm.

A couple of nights ago, while CD was trying to get a very unhappy Oliver to go back to sleep and I was tending to some laundry, Penguin helped herself to a bag of breastmilk thawing on the counter. I was once able to accurately locate items back far enough but suddenly she's able to reach spots that were previously beyond her capability. When I found her she had torn open the bag and was enjoying a breastmilk slushie, spreading it across the kitchen floor. She was also making sure Piper kept her distance. She wanted it all to herself.

I used to cry if half an ounce was wasted. We've come a long way.

22 November 2005

another 15 seconds of fame

We were previously mentioned on DaddyTypes (that was our Dutch doctor, thank you very much), which was pretty cool. Today we been spotted on Blogging Baby, or "flogging the babies" as one of my favorite bloggers likes to say (and it cracks me up every time -- this is what extreme sleep deprivation will do).

For those who have been asking for a more recent picture, here's one of Oliver in a sweater knit by Liz, mom to a couple of our Clumber friends, Charlotte and Angelina Ballerina. Check out the shoes! [Oliver's, not Angelina's. Clumbers don't wear shoes, silly!] The photo is a couple of weeks old but other than the teeth I don't think he's changed too much since it was taken. He's just bigger.

Let's hope Santa comes through with the camera so we can satisfy our loyal readers who clamor for more pictures, dammit!

what I wouldn't give for a sudafed

Just a general post of updates today.

  • Tooth number four has emerged. Oliver is now sporting two up and two down.
  • As a result of this new dentition, Oliver is now able to bite. Hard. In very two very sensitive locations.
  • As a result of this new ability to bite, there was much crying and carrying on last night, from both of us. I did the worst thing. I screamed. Then he screamed. Then we both cried. Ordinarily a small bite would not have sent me quite so far over the edge, but:
    • Oliver and his mum got nasty colds on Sunday
    • Oliver insisted on being held nearly all day yesterday
    • Oliver's mum was exhausted, achy, and entirely un-medicated (she'd give anything for a sudafed, except her milk supply)
Enough with the third-person and the bullets.

In other news, Oliver has had a mini-growth spurt, making up for his very slow weight gain last week, putting his current weight at 19 pounds, 10.5 ounces. He seems to be longer too. Lots of clothes don't fit anymore. Anyone thinking of making a clothing purchase for the little guy should be considering 12 month size. Hanna 70s are still fitting well though. He can go through two sizes in other brands in time it takes to get through one size of Hannas. Amazing.

14 November 2005

he likes a fresh diaper

Oliver has an interesting habit. He seems to be channeling the John Cage character from Ally McBeal, who had a remote control flusher because he liked a "fresh bowl". Oliver prefers to poop in a fresh diaper. In the morning, after we replace that very wet, "weighs more than he does" diaper, he can be counted on to poop within a few minutes.

Today at school he did the same thing. He had a diaper change after nursing (and a whopping five minute nap!). I was still there, eating my lunch. I smelled something familiar when I went to kiss him goodbye. Sure enough, not more than 10 minutes after getting a clean diaper Oliver had pooped.

We already know he likes to remove his shoes. If he develops a nose whistle we are really going to be in trouble.

what, me worry?

Oliver has gained 2 ounces in the last 8 days and I am not panicking. Yet. He's had more than a few days of "digestive upset" during that time, and more than a few TAE's. He has also cut his first top tooth, and like the bottom ones, the tooth next door is only lagging a few days behind. And not to bury the lead or anything, he's up on all fours on a regular basis, rocking back and forth, moving backwards occasionally, and just plain ready to take off crawling at any moment. He's been a busy boy, burning up a lot of calories.

Speaking of calories, he's starting to injest all sorts of new and interesting things. No reactions so far, and nothing rejected by Oliver either, so we have been brave about introducing new foods. Blueberries were this morning's new delight. His food list includes: rice, oatmeal, barley and multi-grain cereals, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, green beans, peas, apples, pears, bananas, apricots, plums, blueberries, cheerios and yogurt. I think we have mango and kiwi coming soon, and probably avocado too. He typically makes a face when tasting something new that leads me to think we have surely found something he hates. By the second or third spoonful he's smiling, and by the fourth or fifth he's grabbing for the spoon as if to tell me "faster!" The dogs distract him sometimes. They have become very attentive since he started tossing cheerios from his high chair.

We are not making such great progress on sippy cups. We haven't found one he can operate with the valve present. Without the valve the liquid pours out too fast and Oliver just spits it out. I bought the fourth and fifth versions last night. We tried one this morning but he just wanted to chew on it. We will keep trying.

No, he's still not sleeping.

06 November 2005

she sleeps

I got seven hours of uninterrupted sleep in a ridiculously comfy bed last night. Well, that's not entirely true. I woke up a couple of times but at no time did I become vertical prior to the iPod alarm going off. This was the first time I have slept four hours or more since last February. Alas, the cost of this "bliss" was a flight to Detroit without Oliver and living through yet another CSCA board meeting. And the pumping....six times with the pumping. Hotel rooms, bathrooms, bathrooms at the airport. Just about as much fun as the previously blogged turnpike bathrooms. If I had a little digital camera there would probably be a photo essay of fun places to pump. Or maybe not.

03 November 2005

Lobster Boy

Here's our little lobster boy (not to be confused with this one). I may post a better picture later, hopefully with both claws visible.

29 October 2005

Should I be offended, annoyed, or just puzzled?

A couple of days ago I was asked a very, very strange question. It is still bothering me. A co-worker asked, "Now that you have the baby, what did you do with your dogs?" HUH??? I must have mumbled something unintelligible. I was really too stunned to put together a coherent sentence. The person seemed to sense my confusion but continued, "I mean, now that you have a baby, you got rid of the dogs, right?" I was floored. I managed to say "no, we still have the dogs," but not much else.

This is one of those times when you think of all the snappy comebacks well after the window of opportunity has slammed shut. I wish I had said something like, "Well, the dogs were there first. If it hadn't worked out, the kid would have to go." While that's not exactly true, we did make a committment to the dogs to care for them as long as they live. We made every effort to ease the transition of adding another human to the household. I think we did a pretty good job.

I know people who have had trouble with their pets after having a child, and who have taken the painful step of re-homing them. What I don't understand is how the assumption that one gets rid of a pet simply because they had a baby became mainstream. Is my threshold for such things unreasonably high?

28 October 2005

Dodging Wilma at The Happiest Place On Earth

Following all the rules of "safe" blogging, I didn't mention that the family was heading to Florida for Educause and a couple of days at The Happiest Place On Earth. We're back now and mostly recovered. We watched Wilma's progress with great interest, as our return flight was Sunday morning. Other than some rain on Saturday, we were unaffected.

Educause was interesting. CD gave a presentation and I went to sessions (when there were seats available), browsed the vendor booths (what happened to all the GOOD tchotchke?!), and searched for places to pump. The (mis) information booth at the convention center kept insisting the handicapped bathroom stalls had outlets. I finally found one that did, but only on the last day and only after discovering at least seven that did not. The kind EMTs let me use one of their spaces. Nicer than bathrooms stalls, for sure.

Oliver came along, of course, and Aunt Suzy joined us as The Nanny once again, reprising her role at the CSCA National Specialty last May. Though Oliver is a lot more interesting now, he's also a lot more work. They spent a day by themselves at The Happiest Place On Earth and poor Suzy was ready to collapse when it was over. As she discovered, Oliver is a lot for one person to handle.

A few highlights from the trip:

  • Oliver tried to snag Minnie for himself, but drooling on her nose was probably not the best strategy.
  • He did manage to secure a date in January with the lovely Lynda from Troon, who took care of us at the Rose & Crown pub. We will have to see if she's available for babysitting.
  • Oliver's lobster costume was a bit of a bust. It was 85 degrees. We almost had boiled lobster.
Check out our family website for more pictures from the trip and a short video.

11 October 2005

the six month update, continued

More six month updates today. Oliver was a fountain of drool at school today. A second tooth, right next door to the first, is peeking through. I suppose I should worry about Oliver drowning the dogs, not the other way around.

Our trip to the doc was fairly uneventful. No screams during the first shot but the next two could have awoken the dead. Then he was over it, about a minute after.

Oliver continues to be right at the 50th percentile for height. Same for head circumference. And 75th percentile for weight.

No recommendations on how to convince him to sleep more often or longer, except to be patient.

10 October 2005

the six month update

So many new developments for Oliver on the eve of his "half-birthday". Over the weekend the first tooth sprouted. This may explain a few things that happened last week. Maybe not. I'll try to get a picture, though at the moment it's easier to feel the tooth than to see it.

He's also sitting up very well on his own. We pulled out the Pack 'n Play again, after relegating it to the closet when Oliver outgrew the bassinet. He will happily sit in it, with his boppy just in case of an inadvertent flop, and play with whatever toys are there. I call it "baby jail" but he is really happy in there. He was starting to use the toy bar on the bouncy seat to pull himself up, thus risking a tip over, so having a new parking place is very convenient. Oliver also likes being on the same level of the dogs, but without the risk of him drowning in Clumber drool.

Oliver has decided barley is not evil, and that carrots are the greatest thing since....hmmm, he's never had sliced bread so I don't know what is appropriate in this case. Apparently he complained when he finished his carrots at school today. Looks like half a jar, instead of a third, for tomorrow.

No progress on the sleep front. He's up to 40-45 minute naps during the day, when we're lucky. He is still waking every 3 hours at night. We go see the doc tomorrow for shots, etc. Maybe he will have a suggestion. I just hope he doesn't yell at us for starting solids a few weeks early.

06 October 2005

even more search hits for "zerbert"

In one of her funniest posts yet, Jenn Mattern wrote about the strange hits she's getting in her search logs. The best I can contribute is that I get an inordinate number of hits from people searching for "zerbert" and I am only going to add fuel to that fire with this post.

Oliver, it appears, understands what it means when he makes his mum laugh. Last night while nursing he had a bit of wind, as CD calls it. (No way was I going to get through a post on bodily functions without referencing our Oracle on such matters, Dooce.) This was some mighty loud, and might I add wet sounding, wind. Immediately following this sound, Oliver decided nursing would be better if he zerberted me. The two sounds were almost exactly the same. Mum laughed. Oliver did it again, then stopped to look at me to see if I would laugh again. It became clear that my laughing encouraged him to zerbert more and nurse less. Not very productive if we were going to get his tummy full and thus encourage a little sleep.

I spent the next 15 minutes trying very hard not to laugh. I have a feeling this is a skill I am going to need in the years to come.

03 October 2005

when I wasn't paying attention...

I intended to notice when Oliver doubled his birthweight. It appears to have happened on day 161, when I was totally oblivious. Once again, I am compelled to blame sleep deprivation. It's gone from bad to worse in that department. Two nights ago Oliver decided to be awake from about midnight to 3:30am. I ended up with just over two hours of sleep that night. Last night, as I was heading to bed, Oliver woke up. He was unconsolable from about 9:30pm to midnight. I got a little more sleep but I'm still running a serious deficit, even more than what has become the new normal. We still haven't figured out what is causing this waking. Could be teething or a growth spurt, or something else. Maybe the doc will have some ideas when we go in for his 6 month visit.

The moody bitches continue to be moody. They are dancing for Chewy and each other. Poor old guy had enough of their advances yesterday morning and attempted to put Penguin in her place. Based on the noise one might have expected to find her in little pieces. Chewy, of course, didn't put a scratch on her. Unfortunately, she has an especially short memory at the moment and was back to her favorite tricks, trying to "spoon" with him on his bed, soon after. Piper play bows to everyone and tries, rather foolishly, to flip Penguin onto her back. It's very entertaining and I'll be very glad when it's over.

Coming attractions: CD and I are celebrating the seventh anniversary of our first date by going on another first date, our first night out since Oliver's arrival. Thank you to the brave souls who have graciously agreed to babysit. I'm not sure I will ever be able to sufficiently repay you.

28 September 2005

moody bitch count = 2

As predicted, the household moody bitch count has increased. Piper has followed Penguin's lead. I need to locate the rest of our supply of pants tonight. As a result of Penguin's recent thyroid deficiency, we're trying the "squatty body" size pants. She doesn't look that big to me, but the regular pants don't fit the way they once did, much like most of my pants. Alas, a pill twice a day isn't going to solve my problem.

25 September 2005

moody bitches

How many is too many? We have one in the house. Do I hear two? How 'bout three moody bitches?

Penguin is in season. Piper will surely follow in a few days. The last time this happened I was so pregnant I could barely bend over to get their snazzy pants off before sending them outside. There were a few accidents. They were not pretty. New pants have been procured.

As for me, Aunt Flo hasn't visited since June 28, 2004, a date that will live in infamy...or at least my permanent medical record. For nine or so months, I was asked for that date, the magical LMP, by a medical professional every few weeks. Now that Oliver has started ingesting nourishment other than breastmilk, it probably won't be long before she makes a return visit. He's still breastfeeding as much as ever though, so it's possible I'll have a few more months off. It's a tough call to say which part of pregnancy I enjoyed more, AF's absence or not having to clean the litter box.

Oliver tried sweet potatoes last night along with his oatmeal. So far, he's digging anything that is delivered on a spoon. This morning I decided to see if he would object to cold sweet potatoes. Nope. It's all good. I don't even warm the breastmilk I mix in with the oatmeal. I am hoping to find barley cereal today. Alternating the rice and oatmeal leads to fairly explosive results. I had two bags of messy clothes to bring home on Friday. And one of the educators at Oliver's school ended up with poopy footprints on her shirt. At the rate he's going, between his hurling and pooping, the Infant Wing educators are going to clean out the school's supply of spare t-shirts before the first month is over. I think Oliver is going to forego the rice for a while.

Here's a pic for Kate, taken yesterday. It fits!

24 September 2005

scissors and glue

One of the interesting requirements of parents at Oliver's school is that we make a gift for his room. This year's gift making activity for the Infant Wing is an "All About Me" book. Really just a small photo album but I am told as the children get older these books are used to comfort them, remind them of home, etc. I was concerned at first since we were told to bring photos of relatives and Oliver has a whole side of his family tree, with one exception, that he hasn't met yet. Leaving things to the last minute, we spent most of the evening before the activity printing photos.

The activity part of this was to decorate the cover of the book. It was an interesting collaborative effort for Oliver's parents, who have very different ideas, both practically and aesthetically. Entertaining, no doubt, for any flies who happened to be on the walls. We selected paper, glued pictures, used rubber stamps and markers....not things we do every day. Kind of therapeutic, in an odd way.

We have a few things left to do, like take a photo of Oliver's back for the back cover of the book (one of the things we agreed upon) and a few more photos that need labels, but it was in good enough shape to leave at school on Friday. I hope Oliver enjoys it. I'm sure his teachers will find it entertaining.

This is how we spent the afternoon of CD's 40th birthday, Wednesday. The remainder of the day was fairly quiet. Weekday evenings usually find us too exhausted to do much more than feed dogs, Oliver, and ourselves and this evening was no exception. We will have to find a better way to mark this milestone birthday later on.

18 September 2005

Songs from the Big Chair

(Apologies to Tears for Fears. I'm really dating myself....)

I didn't include CD on the choice of high chair so I thought it only fair to leave it for him to put together when he returned from San Francisco. Oliver seems to like the view, but I'm finding my aim with the spoon is suffering (see second photo). I think need to get a stool.

You can see anticipatory drool if you look closely at the first photo. Oliver really loves cereal.

In other "big chair" news, Oliver's new carseat finally arrived and was installed. We will see how he likes it in the morning. It's a fairly complicated contraption, at least until it can be switched to forward facing. If he doesn't like it I may climb in as it looks more comfortable than anything we have for adults. It is a bit of a cliché to say it looks like a Barcalounger but that's the most accurate description I can come up with.

To make it a hat trick of progress, Oliver went into his bathtub last night without being wrapped in a receiving blanket (and without screaming in protest). He's growing up and it's going by much too fast.

17 September 2005

"Aunts don't let nephews be Yankee fans"

While I may never forgive my family for not taking me to the seventh game of the '75 series, I'm still a Red Sox fan. During our week in New England last month I was reminded of how many summer evenings I spent watching my beloved Sox on TV. Oliver sees very little TV but he did watch a bit of baseball with me in Maine.

Today we learned Oliver's Aunt Suzy made him a member of Red Sox Kid Nation. It's a neat little package...a cap, a small squishy ball, stickers, baseball cards, team photo, lots o' great Sox stuff. Given the dismal state of the Pirates these days, I'm glad to share an alternative alliance with my son. May he never experience an autumn of decline in the Red Sox fortunes. At the very least, may he always loathe the Yankees. While he looks good in blue, he looks even better in red.

Oliver now weighs 17 pounds. We had to get him bigger diapers today, which also involves changing type and/or brand. We're trying out two different kinds to see which fit better. It reminds me of bra shopping, going through the trauma of trying on lots of different models, finally settling on one that mostly works, only to discover the manufacturer has discontinued it. To the good people who make Pampers I say, "BIGGER SWADDLERS, please."

He tried oatmeal tonight and liked it just as much as the rice he started eating earlier this week. He will take his new high chair for a spin tomorrow. It's got wheels so it could actually spin, though too much of that would probably result in walls, or dogs, coated in cereal. Not pretty.

13 September 2005

adventures in cereal, the second

More cereal tonight, mixed a little thicker. Initially Oliver wasn't interested at all. The Peanut Gallery, the white and furry Peanut Gallery, must have been too distracting.

Eventually Oliver got with the program. He started grabbing for the spoon and opening his mouth as it approached.

I let him have the spoon to hold when he finished eating, mostly so I could get the camera.

adventures in cereal

While I fully intended to hold off on solids until Oliver was six months old, there have been a few indications of readiness I couldn't ignore. He wants to hold my spoon when I am having breakfast. He's interested in watching food. He holds his head up perfectly. He still doesn't sleep. (Yes, the doc says feeding him solids won't make any difference, but I need PROOF.) And the lack of sleep gives me little resistance. I had discussed the whole solid food thing briefly with one of the educators at Oliver's new school and she was encouraging. Then I noticed a box of rice cereal in the "help yourself" basket in Oliver's classroom. This was followed by a sample of organic baby rice cereal arriving in yesterday's mail. It seemed like a sign.

The doc said now or later, it's all good with him. So last night, in spite of CD's absence, I mixed a tiny bit of rice cereal with what was probably too much breastmilk and let Oliver have a taste. I was expecting the tongue thrust reflex to send the concoction all over the kitchen but I was wrong. There was no tongue thrust at all, just a slightly puzzled expression and an open mouth looking for more.

I may try a bit more tonight, mixed a little less thinly. Check back for a picture should I be feeling brave. I didn't want CD's camera anywhere near the cereal last night, in case it did end up sprayed all over.

Now we need a high chair. There's a wonderful Eric Carle model on eBay....

07 September 2005

just a few quick updates

Rolling over -- It's a regular thing now. Sometimes it wakes Oliver up, other times he's not bothered.

Union Jack Robeez -- Thanks to my niece Jacie, and no thanks to eBay's "saved search" feature, these are located and on the way.

Colds -- Oliver and I still have colds. The doc says since what's coming out of our noses isn't green, there's nothing to do but wait it out.

Dogs -- It's Piper's fourth birthday today! The little girl who refuses to grow up advances another year by the calendar but certainly not in attitude. She remains as goofy and silly as ever. In other dog news, Penguin "returned" the sock of Oliver's she stole from the laundry basket a few weeks ago. Yuck.

05 September 2005

on a roll

Oliver is still getting up every 2-3 hours at night. My reward at his 4am feeding today was to find him on his tummy. Thus far, he's displayed very limited interest in rolling over. He rolled from tummy to back once a few weeks ago, but not again since then. To my knowledge, until very early this morning he had never rolled completely from back to tummy. Then he did it again this afternoon during a nap, landing at an end of the crib he doesn't usually visit. I can't tell if it's waking him up or not, since he's often awake at 4am. Maybe I'll find out tonight. I have a feeling I'll be up.

Stuff we love, volume 3

This post somehow got lost and never published. ROBEEZ!!! We love Robeez. Oliver's Aunt Suzy, whose birthday happens to be today, sent him a pair with, you guessed it, PUPPIES on them. Really adorable. And for the most part, Oliver cannot remove them by himself. If he really works hard, he can get one of them off, but nothing like what he can do with most socks.

Our quest at the moment is to find a pair of Robeez with the Union Jack pattern in size 6-12 months. They seem to be available only in Australia these days. We may just have to enlist the help of our good friend Jan.

01 September 2005

don't try this at home

At the risk of talking about poop again, and almost as often as Dooce, Oliver had some spectacular gastro-intestinal distress yesterday, so bad that we were asked to get him out of daycare. Not that I minded....if it were someone else's kid exposing mine to who-knows-what, I'd want the parents to fetch the kid too.

The worst part is it appears this was entirely my fault. I've had a bit of a cold and since I can't take sudafed or anything else that would be helpful, I went for the Vitamin C. I give the dogs a 1000mg timed-release hit of C daily so we always have it around. I took one when I was feeding them Tuesday night. About 20 minutes later, I couldn't remember if I had taken it or not (see all previous posts related to sleep deprivation) and took another. At this point I should have remembered what happens when the dogs get too much C. When I started giving it to them we began with a small dose. "To bowel tolerance" was the magic phrase. Indeed.

Fortunately, it was all over (no pun intended) as fast as it began. Oliver has forgiven me. Even the little bit of pink on his bum is gone this morning. (Thank you A&D. That stuff is pure MAGIC.) No more C for me until after he's weaned. This is one theory I don't feel the need to test.

30 August 2005

stuff we love, volume 5

Pampers Swaddlers really are the shit. Pun most definitely intended. Tried the BabyDry version of Pampers and they are icky. Nothing icky may touch the backside of my bunny. Swaddlers are soft and smell good. Usually.

I swear the first diaper of morning always weighs more than Oliver. How does it do that and not ooze pee all over the place? 24 out of 25 poops are nicely contained. I assumed poo bombs went off all over the place just about every day. This is no doubt the consequence of reading far too many baby blogs. Pampers keep the poo where it is supposed to be. Who knew?!

I do have one teensy issue with Pampers. They don't make a giant box of Swaddlers in size 2. How hard is this???? They make the giant box in size 1 and size 1-2, but not size 2, which Oliver has been wearing for at least a month, and which he will likely continue to wear for a good while longer. It's like they lured me in with the 1s and 1-2s in the giant box, then just when I was hooked, we're sent back to buying the smaller packages and paying more. Hoodwinked, I say....we've been HOODWINKED!

And what's up with size 1-2 anyway? I have heard stories of Pampers customer care reps trying to convince people who need size 2 to buy 1-2 because they are the same. THEY ARE SMALLER! THEY DO NOT FIT! So put the size 2s in the giant box already. Sheesh.

I haven't even checked if Cruisers are available in size 3, in the giant box. I couldn't bear the disappointment, at least not until I get more sleep.

28 August 2005

the long hello

It's probably just a case of bad timing but I've been struggling with Oliver's transition to the on-campus childcare center. On the face of it, the Welcoming Process, or Inserimento, part of the Reggio Emilia approach, appears to be designed for people who don't have jobs. And if I didn't have a job, I wouldn't need childcare, right? It also fails to take into consideration that the last two weeks of August are by far the most frantic for staff at a university. I have trusted my friends who have lived through it that the process is worthwhile and one I will come to value. I hope to soon believe they are right.

Part of my problem is that Oliver has been at another center since mid-June. For many of the other children and parents, the Welcoming Process is their first experience with a childcare center and a gentle transition is needed in order for everyone to get comfortable. However, since they don't accept new children at any other time of the year, it is clear many of us had to find other solutions because, as I previously mentioned, we have jobs. We also dropped Oliver off the first day at his other center and fetched him 8 hours later without any ill effects. He didn't notice our departure, and while he was happy to see us later in the day, it was clear he would have happily stayed there a while longer.

Last week Oliver was permitted to be at his new center a maximum of 4 hours per day, with Mum, Dad, or both present. Surprisingly, at least to me, there were few instances where I felt parents were tripping over each other. The rest of the day he was at his other center. Five days of bouncing back and forth does not seem to have been good for him. He had difficulty settling in both places. Nothing catastrophic, just some fussiness associated with a schedule change (not that he was on much of a schedule anyway).

This week he can be at the new center up to 6 hours per day, without parents. Our contract with the other center expires on Tuesday. Since he's bonded so well with the caregivers and other children, we are going to continue the half days in each place so that he can spend a little more time with people he's very comfortable with, while hopefully getting more comfortable at the new place too.

For the remainder of the week he will be spending as much time as possible at the new center, and the rest of the day with me, in my office, during the most hectic time of the year. To their credit, the educators at the new center noticed we were having an issue with nursing associated with the transition and told me Oliver can spend full days if we need to do that, in order to help him get established on the new schedule, one which will include my being able to visit and nurse, probably once a day at lunchtime. This feature alone should probably make me willing to put up with just about anything, but why have a blog if I can't whine a little?

I am trying to learn more about the Reggio approach and have even joined an internet discussion list on the topic. I won't post, of course, but I hope to gain greater insight by viewing it from the perspective of the educators. So far, it has been interesting reading.

I know I have made the right choice, if only from looking around the rooms where Oliver will be spending his time. The most striking contrast is that so many things (mirrors, baskets of toys and books, windows) are down at his level instead of up high at adult eye level. The proximity to our offices and the reduced amount of traffic we will be dealing with on our commute is a nice bonus. I'll also be walking at least two round trips from my office to the center per day, which should help my waistline.

I have enjoyed the smallness of his other center, with just six babies (compared with 20 at the new center) and three caregivers, and I worry a bit about Oliver getting "lost" in the crowd, but change is inevitable. I should probably just get used to it.

23 August 2005

practically famous

Check out this post on DaddyTypes. Greg is referring to our Dutch pediatrician, thank you very much. Okay, so he's a G.P., not a pediatrician, but close enough! We're honored to be mentioned. And no, we haven't left Oliver and gone out for coffee. We haven't even put him one of the dog crates yet, unlike Duncan.

22 August 2005

the growth spurt continues

Oliver continues to grow at an amazing rate. He is now about 25" long (one more inch and he's outgrown his carseat) and very nearly 16 pounds. That's a gain of 2 pounds in about 25 days.

What I am finding frustrating is the knowledge I am making enough milk, as we learned while on vacation, yet I am starting to need to add formula to bottles we take to day care because I cannot pump enough. While I feel strongly that day care is a good thing for Oliver and for me, I am growing ever-resentful, knowing I could meet his nutritional needs, but my job prevents it. I have viewed the need to supplement as something of a personal defeat, which is no doubt very silly, but it has helped to stay determined to keep going on this BFAR journey. I suppose this is one tangle I'm not going to extricate myself from for a few more months and I should just get used to this feeling.

And about those carseats....just when I thought I was settled on the Britax Marathon, they go and introduce the Decathlon, which appears to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. The available patterns are not nearly as cool as the Marathon but it is allegedly a nice upgrade. Alas, I can't get it in the design I like best of the meager offerings (Onyx) until later in September. I'm not sure Oliver can hold off growing that long but the design I saw at BRU is hideous. Good thing Oliver isn't yet a slave to fashion. I will hold out hope for Britax to offer covers as they do for the Marathon.

19 August 2005

not sleeping - let me count the ways

Sleeping on vacation? HA! Oliver found MANY different ways to not sleep while on vacation. The first complication was my not being able to move him to a pack 'n play without waking him up. My arms are not long enough put him in without dropping him the last few inches. (That's my theory anyway....I didn't actually drop him.) I can do it in a PnP with a bassinet but he exceeds the weight limit these days. So the solution was to remove the mattress and put it on the floor. Worked reasonably well, though I had trouble not jostling him too much there as well. And I had to worry about him moving around too much. He didn't move far, but the fear remained that I would go into the room and not be able to find him.

Then there was the night he got so upset he hyperventilated, as I did as a child pretty much at the drop of a hat. That's one apple that could have fallen a tad further from the tree. What set him off remains a mystery but it took over an hour of lying on the floor with him, nursing, patting, anything I thought he would find comforting before he was even breathing normally. He "celebrated" that night by pooping in the middle of the night (a first!) and continuing to poop five more times that day (definitely a record).

His newest trick in the realm of "not sleeping" is to wake up exactly one hour after being put down. This started on vacation and persists now that we are back home. Sometimes the problem is a burp he couldn't get out before I put him down. Sometimes not. I may never figure that one out. I've decided that's okay. Yeah. Right.

He did manage to sleep in the car a bit. Sometimes. It seemed like when the other occupants of the vehicle were relaxed, he was too. He picks up on tension a little too well, I think, especially given how tightly wound his mum can be.

Just to prove he does sleep peacefully, sometimes, here's a pic taken by the aforementioned visiting Daboo during our visit to the ridiculously cool Eric Carle Museum. Even if it is in AmHerst, MA, we liked it anyway.

18 August 2005

first fever

We got the first "your baby has a fever" call from daycare yesterday. Not nearly as horrible as I expected our first sick kid call to be. Likely the result of shots the day before, the fever was coming down on its own before we got Oliver home and we never saw him acting at all sick.

He absolutely loves Tylenol so that part was easy. We're still not entirely sure how the temporal artery scanner works, but CD and I got basically the same readings so we're either doing it right, or doing it wrong in exactly the same way.

After an all-too-normal night of sleeping for intervals of between 90 and 150 minutes, his temp is back where it should be today.

16 August 2005

4 month checkup - growing like a weed

I will get to posting about last week's trip (promise!) but I wanted to give a quick update. Oliver had his 4 month well-baby checkup today, and three more shots. The doc's scale has him at 16 pounds, but our scale tonight said 15 pounds, 9 ounces. That's 4 ounces more than yesterday (so we may see a dip tomorrow) and just about a pound in the last 10 days. Since he started gaining weight on day 4 of life, he is still averaging one ounce per day. As for length, he's just about 25 inches long.

The shots were well, shots. Oliver handles them better than his mum. He was smiling again by the time I had him dressed. If you've met Oliver I'm sure you don't find that surprising.

Oliver celebrated all this by rolling over from his tummy to his back when we got home. He's very close to rolling from back to tummy. He gets about 80% then rolls back. Soon. Very soon.

14 August 2005

Home Again

Oliver and I are just back from a little vacation to New England. First plane ride, first long car ride, more relatives than we can count including a special guest star from the Daboo side of the family, the works. And finally, lots of photos! We even broke down and let the professionals at PicturePeople work their magic, with frighteningly good results.

We'll be doing some retro-blogging about the trip over the next few days. Needless to say, there will be a post about sleep. For those of you keeping score at home, I'll end the suspense over Oliver's weight....he gained 10.5 ounces during the 8 day trip and is over 15 pounds now. Say goodbye to the bassinet in the Pack 'n Play (and hello to the exersaucer now that he's 4 months old and holding his head up perfectly).

Here's my favorite photo from the trip, of those I have seen thus far. Various friends and relatives took photos and will be sharing. This one was taken by my niece Jami. The person holding Oliver is my brother Jinx. Oliver is doing a much better job of keeping track of his thumb lately. He still misplaces it occasionally, but not like a few weeks ago. Ah, progress.

05 August 2005

Better be a growth spurt

Oliver continues to be the baby who will not sleep. I was ready to sell him to the circus last night. He was up every 90 minutes or so. At 6am he conked out until I woke him up at 8:30. At least he had the good sense to greet me with that goofy toothless grin that turns me to mush.

Once again we're taking larger bottles to daycare, and he's gaining weight well, leading me to conclude we're in a growth spurt. I hope last night was just a case of Oliver placing his order for more milk.

I hope that being outdoors a bit more over the next few days will lead to better naps and better nighttime sleep. It is abundantly clear to me why sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture. A friend suggested a little rubber mallet therapy. That sounds surprisingly appealing right now.

Rats die after 14-16 days without sleep. If this isn't a growth spurt, and one that's over soon, this could be my last post....

Stuff we love, volume 4

I really can't say enough good things about Hanna Andersson clothes. They wear like iron and fit so well. My only gripe, other than the prices, is they seem to have more clothes for girls than for boys but that's probably just my perception. I don't have the brain power (see next post) to count the items and know for sure.

Finding good deals on Hannas on ebay is my new obsession, though I hope not to go the route of the woman obsessed with Gymboree clothes. I get giddy just thinking about a trip to the Hanna outlet next week. For anyone planning a bunch of kids, buy Hannas.

Adult Hannas are pretty cool too. I could not have lived without my black maternity skirt. And at last, Hanna makes clothes for the vertically challenged. She finally realized we're not all tall Scandinavians.

01 August 2005

WBW 2005

Welcome to World Breastfeeding Week 2005. I know you've all been waiting for this.... For me it is probably coming just in time. I need some encouragement after we had some BF trauma last night. For the first time, Oliver refused to nurse. He was hungry and screaming, yet refused to latch. Both of us were crying. It was absolutely horrible. CD to the rescue though, remaining calm as wife and baby melted down simultaneously. We collaborated on giving him a couple of bottles and finally got him to sleep.

I'm sure my nerves were raw from having spent two and a half hours getting him down for a nap earlier in the day, only to have him sleep 10 minutes. I don't know that we will ever solve the weekend napping problem. Oliver did nap while I was off doing the Chicken Run, so it seems to only be a problem when I am around. I'd best not think on that too long, or I'll surely be back to thoughts of what a terrible mommy I am.

The good news is he nursed just fine at midnight, 3:45am, and 6:30am. And though he lost two ounces from Saturday to Sunday, the net weight gain for the week was 7.5 ounces (up from 4.5 ounces last week and 5 ounces the week before).

I will celebrate WBW by testing out a hands-free pumping device made from hair elastics. No film at 11, I promise.

30 July 2005

Chicken Run

I'm just back from my semi-annual "Chicken Run". It's a 8-9 hour round-trip drive to Eberly Poultry, across the treacherous PA turnpike. More about just how treacherous if you keep reading.

Two of the dogs, Chewy and Penguin, eat a raw meaty bone diet. They can't have processed grains so this diet works very well for them. Piper does just fine on regular old dog food (well, I remember a day when Eukanuba was "exotic" but not anymore) so that's what she gets, though I do slip her some of "the good stuff" just about every day.

I always seem to pick a hot day for the summer trip. I have to decide early in the week since the order must be called in so I don't worry too much about the weather since I can't do anything about it. Think for just a minute about 200-300 pounds of poultry and ninety degree temperatures, on the highway for 4-5 hours. Though I crank the A/C until I'm shivering, I still know I've got poultry in the car. And CD knows it's been there for a week or so afterwards. Not his favorite thing. So I've sprayed the febreeze twice already, and the car sits in the garage with all the windows down. If that doesn't work, I dump baking soda all over the cargo area and hope for the best.

Today brought a couple of complications to the Chicken Run. I had to pump once in each direction since I left what I pumped yesterday for Oliver to have today. Ordinarily Friday's milk is saved for Monday. My pump has batteries so I really can do it anywhere, even the restroom at turnpike rest areas. The return trip pumping session was a bit abbreviated, as there was no shade at all at the Midway rest area and my car's thermometer said 92. Fortunately, the restroom was so busy, I don't think anyone heard my pump. If they did, I can't imagine what they thought I was doing.

The second complication came shortly after leaving Midway, when traffic went from 80 to 0 in very short order. We were at a complete stop for about 10 minutes, then we moved at about 5-10 mph for half an hour or so. Finally, just before the Allegheny Mountain tunnel, was a horrible looking accident. There were at least 6 fire trucks present, and a helicopter getting ready to transport injured. I lost count of the other emergency vehicles. It looked there were about 50 emergency workers. It had to have been horrible. I decided I was glad I stopped to pump at Midway. It's impossible to know, but pumping may have saved me from being involved.

What's so great about this place that I risk life and limb on the turnpike? Great prices (they would have to be, given the price of a gallon of gas) and phenomenal quality, for starters. Nice employees who don't make fun of me for driving all that way for my dogs helps too. Today they shovelled ice into my boxes. In January, when I was very pregnant, one of the guys loaded my car for me.

There was some disappointment today. No cornish hens and no turkey necks. The hens are greater loss, since the dogs share those with the humans in the house. We throw them on the grill. Yum! All I managed was chicken backs for the pups, eggs, sausage and bacon for the humans. The big freezer, aka the dog freezer, is not even half full. It looks like there could be three trips to Eberly this year, though I'm going to try and tag onto a trip someone else is making in September.

Oliver and his father seem to have done just fine without me. I really just provide the food.

28 July 2005

that zerbert will get you 20

DaddyTypes is one of my favorite blogs. I started reading it when I was pregnant and got hooked. Can't break the habit. While many posts are about baby gear and design, as well as where to find a changing table in a Manhattan men's room, there are some posts that can only be called "News of the Wierd." Today there's a post about a father who was imprisoned for 6 months on sex charges after being turned in by the drug store photo developer who spotted a photo of him kissing his son on the bellybutton. If this isn't an argument for digital photography, I don't know what is.

And what does this say about this poor guy's lawyer?

26 July 2005

Prescription for a nervous mother

At our three-month doctor visit, I asked The Doc what he could tell me about the relationship between preauricular ear tags, like what we had removed from Oliver, and congenital kidney defects. He looked perplexed to say the least. I mentioned that I heard about this from a friend and he did his best not to roll his eyes. Then I said I did a bit of poking around on the internet and he couldn't help himself.

Not surprisingly, my search uncovered conflicting information. One study that says there's a link. Another says probably not. The Doc wrote a script for an ultrasound, while telling me that if no problems showed up on my 20 week u/s, odds are excellent there's nothing to worry about. Clearly he was treating my anxiety, and maybe looking to satisfy his own curiosity. We'll find out for sure on Thursday morning.

24 July 2005

Give me a kid to build a team on

And my imagination....(with apologies to Louis Armstrong). So the Pittsburgh Penguins won the draft lottery this week. Couple that with the announced drop in ticket prices and it's enough to make a girl positively giddy. While I doubt Oliver will share his mother's childhood fascination with hockey, I look forward to taking him to a game or two.

And before you ask, Penguin was not named for the local hockey team, nor was Piper named for the Pittsburgh Pipers or Piper's Pub. Awfully tempting to see if that would get us a free beer though. After Oliver is weaned, perhaps. Brewer's yeast may be good for the milk supply but alcohol is not.

22 July 2005

102 Days

For those of you keeping score at home, Oliver is 102 days old. I'd planned a 100 day post, but life, counting ballots for the CSCA, and orientation with the new daycare got in the way. Our old friend, sleep deprivation, is also continuing to hang around, serving as my catch-all excuse. Anyone who has children seems to understand. In this case, I'm so sleep deprived that I forgot the 100 day mark passed. It seemed like such a good idea on Monday when I was updating Oliver's weight chart.

So to rescue the great idea that was circling the drain, here's the 100 day post, 2 days late:

Oliver does a lot more stuff than he did on day 1. He's interested in toys now. He grabs my sleeve during diaper changes and won't let go. He can turn himself 180 degrees in his crib. He rolls onto his side. He smiles and laughs and babbles.

Stuff he does about the same as on day 1: screaming when hungry

Stuff he does less now than on day 1: sleeping

In spite of his reluctance to sleep, he's the best thing. Ever.

19 July 2005


Oliver has decided he doesn't want to sleep. Ever. Napping over the weekend was nearly non-existent, and when he did nap is was oh-so briefly. The folks at daycare claim he is their best napper. HA!!! The lack of naps sends us into a downward spiral sleep deprivation. When Oliver naps well he also sleeps well at night. When he doesn't, we all suffer mightily.

It does seem like Oliver thrives on the weekday routine and weekends really throw him for a loop. He gets this from his father, of "two pieces of toast, burnt, butter on both, marmalade on one, consume, repeat" fame. Apparently two full days with both his parents is too much for the little guy.

For a few nights now I've been having a problem putting Oliver in his crib. Typically he would nurse a good long time, often twice as long as his standard nursing session, burp, rock a few minutes, then be put in his crib. He would either be completely out, or nearly so, such that he might open his eyes for half a second but immediately close him and go to sleep for 3-4 hours. I must have lost my touch because now he is wailing before I can even turn around and very much awake. No matter how soundly I get him to sleep before setting him down, or how gently I set him down, he wakes up. CD has a magic touch but even he has struggled lately.

Those 4 or 4.5 hour stretches of sleep are also a thing of the past. He's back to being up every three hours. I know this will pass. I just hope it is soon, for the sake of all who have to deal with my sleep-deprived grumpiness.

17 July 2005

Not like Martha

No, we're not talking about housekeeping skills today, but rather Oliver's new "ankle bracelet". He is sporting an ActiWatch on his left ankle for seven days, as part of a research study. A few people have spotted the device and asked about it. I tell them he's under house arrest for insider trading. Once again, the daycare folks think we're a little nutty.

We took the new stroller for a spin yesterday, introducing him to the wonders of the Post Office, Penzey's and Bagel Factory. The stroller makes Oliver look small again but he seems to like it. Mum liked the pricetag best of all but it's not bad. I wish the handles were height adjustable but it is otherwise very nice. We added a very spiffy sun shade, which we needed more for rain than sun yesterday, with the downpours coming frequently, yet not cooling things off a bit.

It's clear from the dearth of pictures on this blog that Oliver's mum needs her own digital camera. CD's is too complicated for my little brain and the pictures I do manage to take never make it to my computer anyway. I'm looking at the Canon elph models. I want tiny and easy and Canon. Any suggestions?