Sunday, May 3, 2009

Birthday stories to come.

My beautiful boy turned 1 year old last Saturday, and we had an amazing time. My mother came to visit, we travelled around, shopped, ate lots of cake, and took lots of pics.

But, I haven't had the time to blog ;-) Not like anyone is surprised, of course.

More stories to come soon!

Friday, April 10, 2009

And again with the sucky blogging

I really have no excuse, so I won't even try ;-)

N. is changing into a little boy right before my eyes, and it's just wonderful to watch. He's so eager to try and walk, although he still hasn't mastered balancing *and* moving forward at the same time. He likes to wave, and he laughs when you smile at him. When I pick him up at daycare during the week, he squeals and crawls over at top speed to see me, but loves his teachers and gives him his special grin as we leave. One of the nicest thing is when we go to meet up with Hubby - the second that N. sees his daddy, he breaks into a huge smile, waves, and looks for hugs right away. It's such a sweet thing for Hubby at the end of his workday.

We're desperately trying to get ready for his birthday in two weeks, and we're also trying to get things straightened up because my mom is going to stay with us for 8 days. Since we really don't know anyone down here, it'll be a small party, possibly with Hubby's aunt and uncle visiting, but we're having a cake and balloons and hats and noisemakers and whatever else I can find to make it special.

I can't believe how fast the months have flown by. It seems like yesterday I was walking into the OR, feeling N. kick in my belly, wondering who this little person would be. I couldn't have imagined loving him as much as I do. There are some days when I'm at work that I miss him so much it hurts, it feels like I have a huge weight on my chest, until I see him at the end of the day and get that toothy grin. I love seeing him try new things, learning to play with his toys, eating new foods, and making friends with everyone he meets.

Parenthood kicks ass, people ;-)

(One thing that does not kick ass - packing for a move. We're negotiating to move into a much larger apartment down the street, so N can have room to play. Unfortunately, if we get it (which we really hope to) it means organizing, packing, cleaning, throwing out stuff, and generally going nuts. I'm hoping it won't be too bad, though, but if I don't post until, say, August, that's why!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wow, that was a long time between posts...

... and I really have no exciting excuses. Life's been puttering along as per usual, with a few things in to keep it interesting.

The waking up overnight hasn't disappeared, but it's getting better for the most part. This week we're sick with yet another round of cold/flu, but as long as N. is happy during the day, I'm going to put up with whatever he throws at me overnight.

He's growing and developing in leaps and bounds lately. The constant babbling is now accompanied by cruising and standing (although the latter is quite wobbly). He has six teeth, three up and three down, and he's just so much fun.

A month from today, he'll be a year old. I can't even think about it rationally right now, because it's just so beyond belief. A year ago today, he was still in my belly, and I was wondering about who he would be, what his name would be, if he would in fact be a he.

I'm having a hard time processing it for a very weird reason. I'm a scientist by training, and I get genetics. I studied genetics for 11 years. I know that, by definition, there was a moment in 2007 when two haploid cells fused and made my baby. According to genetics, it was pretty much completely random which two cells happened to get together, and any other of the billions or trillions of combinations possible coming from my genome and Hubby's genome would've made a different kid. Before that moment, he didn't exist as a separate entity.

Problem is, in my heart I just can't believe that. And it's frigging with my head.

I have many good memories of my life leading up to my pregnancy and to N.'s birth. I've been extraordinarily lucky to have wonderful family and friends that have been there for many years before N. came along. But I can't believe that he didn't exist in some form before then. He's too perfect, he's my baby, he's my heart. He was given to me for a reason, and I can't grasp a universe where he wasn't somewhere, waiting to come home to his momma.

I never knew it was possible to love one tiny kid this much.

(maybe I need to lay off the cold meds)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's 2:40 AM, and I'm awake.

Why? Because it seems we're hitting a developmental stage that's totally predictable and completely annoying -

Waking up again overnight.

I'm not sure it isn't due in part to his cold, but about 1 out of 3 nights, N. has been waking up at some point between 2 and 3AM. Tonight his nose was a bit snuffly when he went to bed, but he eventually got into a deep sleep and was breathing very easily.

Then, 2:20AM shows up and he screams. That's the part that I don't like - I'm not sure it's possible at this age, but sometimes I swear he's having nightmares. That deathly afraid tone in his cry won't let me just leave him there, at least when he first wakes up.

I'm guilty of giving in a few times and giving him a bottle, since it seems sometimes to be the only thing that works. The last time I did that, I woke up to a newsletter the following morning - "Babies often wake up at this age. Tell him you love him, and put him back down; do not feed or play, as this will reinforce the behavior."


He's also teething quite a bit lately, so I know that contributes to it. Tonight, I had to pick him up, because he was crying and coughing way too much. I changed his (very) wet diaper, and buttoned him back up. Once he calmed down, he started gnawing on his fingers again and crying in pain, so in goes the Tylenol. We sat in the rocking chair for a bit, and while he didn't go back to sleep, he did calm down enough for me to see he was feeling a bit better; I could also tell he was NOT hungry, which helped me in my decision NOT to feed him.

Which gives me two options: 1. hold him until he falls asleep, or 2. Put him down to go to sleep and suck it up (me, not him).

I've had success with option 2 in the past, so that's what's happening now. In the other room. At top volume.

*ducks from the parenting arrows coming her way*

I can't believe I'm wading into this particular minefield, but here I am. When N. was very young, and we'd figured out the feeding problem, I started realizing that I could in fact put him down without having him shatter into a million pieces. The first time was the day after my mother left; I was so exhausted, and I was crying, and I put him in the crib so I could wash my face and get a drink. He was asleep in 5 minutes - I was keeping him awake by holding him. Later on, I would put him down for a nap, or to sleep for the night, and he would of course screech. At first, I would pick him up, but then I decided to see what would happen if I left him. Again, asleep in 5 minutes.

The older he gets, the more confusing it gets - some parts are easier and some parts are harder. Now, I can pretty accurately judge if he's hungry or in pain, so I can put him down and feel comfortable that he's not either of those things. The harder part is that crying now, outside of hunger or pain, often comes from a place of great fear or upset. For example, when I left him at daycare for the first few days, he was genuinely afraid of these strangers I left him with, and that cry tore my heart out more than any other since he was born. I'm choked up now thinking about it.

Tonight, he cried for about 15 minutes. Hubby stayed in the bedroom with him because of his cold and cough (just to be safe), and I stayed out here, catching up on a re-play of a reality show on Bravo. And, just as I predicted, he went to sleep.

We were home on Wednesday because of a fever, and I put him down for a nap at one point when he'd been well fed and had spent 10 minutes rubbing his eyes and sucking his thumb. He screamed screamed screamed, and all of a sudden... silence. It took 6 minutes, and he napped for 2.5 hours.

I know there are some that think I'm doing him irreparable harm, but here's the thing. Most nights (and days) he goes down for bed/nap awake, happy, quiet, and is asleep in minutes. The times he does cry, it never takes long to get him to sleep. And, most times he wakes up in the morning, or in the afternoon from his nap, happy and smiling and cooing. He's wonderfully bonded with us, but also feels safe with his caregivers. He's a smiley pleasant baby 98% of the time, is well fed and well rested, and sleeps in his crib.

Bottom line? What we're doing works for us, and I get my confirmation from those smiling blue eyes every morning.

And, now, he's been asleep for 13 minutes (only took 15 to get him there), so I'll abruptly end this post, call it a night, and head to bed.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The first of many...

Bumps and bruises, that is.

Last night I felt like the worst mother in the world. N. was playing in the living room, as he usually does in the evening, in what I thought was the 'safe' side of the room. I had gates completely separating all the shelves/cords/tv/computer/etc. from the rest of the room, and his play area is nearly completely covered in gym mats to pad any tumbles. The entrance is also gated off, so he can't get out into the hallway to play with shoes/coats/bags.

But, he found the danger spots nonetheless.

Our building is old, and all the wood mouldings are covered in at least 20 layers of paint. There isn't a sharp edge anywhere. The problem is that our livingroom originally had a door, and there are hinges. I don't often notice them because they're also coated in many many layers of paint and are completely rounded off.

The problem is that they're still hard as steel. And he managed to fall into one.

I scooped him up right away, and noted in my logical brain that he cried immediately (ie no loss of consciousness), and seemed comforted by being held. Then I saw the mark on his forehead and I dissolved into hysterics.

The mark ended up swelling to a bump with an ugly bruise in the middle, and his personality was just fine (no sleepiness, no vomiting, responsive pupils, etc etc), but all I could think was, "Oh my God, I broke his skull, oh my God oh my God oh my God!"

After I calmed down, I called the nurse for some reassurance, and she was wonderful. Everytime I've called, it's been with a "first-time mom" question, but they never make me feel stupid or like I'm overreacting. She went through the standard protocol for head injuries, proclaimed it a soft tissue injury, and then chatted with me for another 6 or 7 minutes. I asked if I should wake him up overnight to check, and her response was, "I can tell you no, but you'll do it anyway ;-)"... so I just checked him whenever I woke up to turn over, and he seems to have recovered quite well.

He's in bed now for the night, having had a really good day. I look back on last night, and I know it's normal for a toddler to get bumps and bruises, but it's tough to get used to. The problem is, N. has the personality of his uncle J., who as a kid had stitches more times than anyone else I know, and had a penchant for finding trouble. I know the day will likely come when a call to the nurse won't be enough, and we'll be waiting in triage for a cast, or stitches, but I also know I can't wrap him in cotton wool and protect him forever like a china figurine.

Being a parent is so much more than I ever thought it would be. And I wouldn't trade a second of it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reality checks

Well, my brother and SIL are doing fairly well with the new baby, and I'm so thrilled for them. It seems as if breastfeeding is coming much easier to her than it did to me, and Baby O. is putting weight on.

She's a typical newborn, though, in that she's not sleeping for long periods, and it's wearing on the new parents. SIL's mom is staying with them and helping out as much as possible, and they're trying to let my brother get sleep at night since he commutes every day, but the baby likes to be held most of the time and I think the exhaustion is setting in.

I think they're doing much better than they realize, to be truthful, and I know from recent experience that it will get better, of course. But, it's made me re-think a lot of my thinking lately.

N. is nearly 10 months old. When my brother was 10 months old, my mom was pregnant with me. Granted, she didn't have any morning sickness, but even the most perfect pregnancy is tiring. I keep thinking about this because we do want more kids, but aren't sure when to have them.

I like the idea of the ~2 year spacing, which would mean being pregnant by the time N. is 15 months old. I also think that if we're going to space them close, we should probably have them while we're down here in the US. That way, they can all be dual citizens, rather than having children in different citizenship situations. I'm also quite happy with the maternity hospital down here, and do see advantages over the Canadian system (in terms of natural vs C-section, etc.). I don't like the shorter mat leave (a full year is standard in Canada) but we made it work this time.

So, between all of that, plus a new niece and a best friend due in July, I've got babies on the brain. I don't want to be sick again, but it was manageable with the unisom/B6, and I now know to take it ahead of time (ie before the sickness starts).

Which is why I keep hoping to get more and more emails and phone calls from my brother. Every time I talk to him, I think to myself, I know the newborn time passes faster than you can possibly imagine, but I'll be damned if I want to be that exhausted again right now.

For me, it turns out other people's babies provide a suitable form of birth control ;-)

Ask me again in two or three months, though. My answer might change.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

We now break for station identification.

Well, not really, but we've been on a break from lots of things in the past few days.

N.'s cold is hanging on, but is quite a bit improved. He's sleeping better for the most part, although about once every three or four nights he wakes up, and is inconsolable unti he gets a snack. I'm trying not to give in to it unless I think it's really really necessary, and it doesn't seem to be causing him to wake up more often, so I'm going to assume he's a bit hungry, along with feeling sick, and we're just running with it.

We're in the middle of a vicious cycle of passing this virus back and forth, though, and it's not all that much fun. I hate to be a whiner, but it seems like I'm getting the lion's share of it. I haven't been taking care of myself, or my asthma, lately, and now I'm paying the price. I've got a pretty nasty case of asthmatic bronchitis, and I'm back on a puffer on a regular basis (which hasn't happened since I lived with a cat full time). I think the puffer is helping a bit; I can sleep now, and I'm not hacking the majority of the time.

N. is weathering the storm quite well, and is actually napping right now, along with Hubby. Hubs let me have a quick catnap early this morning, to help dispel a particularly nasty attack, so he deserves this little luxury. We've been juggling a bit during the workweek to make sure we can both get our hours in, since there've been a couple of afternoons where he either spiked a fever or vomited at daycare, which require removing him. Kids with fever have to be fever-free for 24 hours before returning, so there've been days home.

I'm hoping that we get a lull in the illnesses soon, but I'm not optimistic. There's some sort of gastro bug going around the daycare - the other day, 5 kids came down with it in one day and had to go home. N. had one episode early on, and I'm not entirely sure that wasn't just a full tummy that came back on him, but he's been clear of that virus so far.

In other totally unrelated, but very exciting, news - my SIL had her baby this week - a healthy girl :-) It's killing me to be so far away, but I'm hoping to take N. to meet her this spring, and they're sending me pictures. She's got a wisp of red hair, blue (so far) eyes, and thanks to a double dose of the gene from her mom and dad, lips to rival Angelina. I can't wait to meet her!

And now, to end another rambly post... if I can get the dishes done while my boys still sleep, I'll consider today a success.