Tuesday, December 16, 2008

He goes to daycare but I get the pinkeye.

(I had a long post started about N.'s first week in daycare, but we're halfway through week three, and things are going well, so I might just let it disappear rather than reworking it)

Well, it's been an interesting weekend around here... I don't have too much time to blog, but suffice it to say everyone is right when they say to expect babies to bring home every little bug once they start daycare.

N. is doing fine, except for one little pukey episode yesterday, which seemed to resolve itself very quickly. I, on the other hand, look like a zombie out of 28 Days Later. I woke up Saturday morning with a raging case of pinkeye, and between my normal pharmacy being closed on Sunday, and the stupid WAGs being out of stock, AND finding out my prescription could not be taken by nursing moms, I've finally got medication that should work. Plus, no one else in the house is showing symptoms as of yet (fingers crossed).

The problem is that the ointment renders me temporarily blind, and I need to use it at least 3 times a day. So, I've got font sizes bumped up on my screen, and am reading very fuzzy text at the moment.

Blech. I really hope it clears up soon. N.'s first Christmas photos shouldn't include a Mommy that could scare little children and give them nightmares for months.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The kindness of strangers...

... and a long-winded story on the way to it.

In the mornings, the university shuttle has a route that loops through our neighborhood, and we have two chances to hop on. On the upswing (on the :10's), you have your pick of seats, but if you miss it, you can catch it on the downswing (on the :20's) on the other side of the street.

With N. in tow, I like to catch the 8:10AM bus on the upswing. It means I can sit in the front seat, which has tonnes of footroom for me to put my laptop bag, and N.'s stuff, without having to take up two seats. Yesterday, though, she was early (like, 8:05AM), and I had to flag her down when I was in the middle of the block, but it's no big deal (she's super).

Today, I got myself on the road early, so as not to miss her, but it ended up raining as soon as I left the apartment. I stopped to wait under the eaves of our little grocery store, and tried as best I could to keep N. from getting too wet. I figured I could flag her down again, and stay dry as long as possible, or maybe even catch the 8:00AM on the downswing.

Just as I got underneath, this woman came up to me and said, "Do you need an umbrella?" I smiled, and said, "Oh, no, that's OK. I have to wait for the bus anyway. But thank you!" She then proceeded to press the umbrella in my hands, already opened up for me, and insisted, "I have another one in the car, and I actually have a car. Please, take it."

I tried to protest again, but she just smiled and said, "Go ahead, you need it." I nearly started to cry, and I could only thank her and wish her Happy Holidays.

Then, I managed to catch the 8:00AM, who was running late, on the other side of the road, not having to wait much at all.

I have trouble sometimes with the people in this city. The ones that you think would be polite, courteous, and common sensical (i.e. the intelligentsia that surround me most of the time) are rude and ignorant. I can't count the number of times while pregnant when the profs and researchers here would literally shove me out of the way to get on the bus, or to get in line ahead of me at the cafeteria. More recently, they blow past me on the sidewalk, walking three abreast, forcing me into the mud with the baby.

Once in a while, though, my faith is restored by seemingly little things - the teenage boys who go out of their way to hold open the door for me when I have N. with me in the stroller. Last fall, the woman who cleans the tables in the caf saw me with a nosebleed one day, and brought me a container of crushed ice and some J-cloths to help stop the bleeding. I hadn't even seen her walk by me that morning before she placed it on the table in front of me. To this day, when she sees me she asks about N., and I don't even know her name.

And, then, the smallest gesture of all - one morning an elderly gentleman, hunched over but tall with pride, stepped to the side to allow me to pass onto a narrow footbridge downtown, and removed his hat and swept into a deep bow.

It makes me think it'll all be ok.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The hardest day of my life

Well, today was N.'s first day at daycare, and I guess you could say we both survived.

Without going into too many heartwrenching details, let's say he didn't take too kindly to me leaving. Combine that with having to be held and fed and changed by three strangers (who I LOVE, I have to say), and he was pretty angry with me by the time he got over being desperately upset.

He hasn't cried like that since he was two weeks old, and it broke my heart every time. But the teachers were great, they were so supportive of me, and with two visits for some nursing time, we made it through the day. He even gave a few smiles here and there when he forgot how pissed he was supposed to be ;-)

I just hate the fact that I have to do it all again tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The latest development.

This isn't something that I've mentioned here yet, but since it just became a pretty prominent part of our existence, I figured it was time.

Yesterday, N. got a DOC Band. He has mild/moderate plagiocephaly, which is pretty common, although it seems with him that it's not completely positional (ie, not totally caused by lying on his back in the same position). The bottom like is that there's a clinic in the next town over (there are only a few across the country), and that it's paid for by our insurance, so we decided to go for it. He hasn't been improving much, even with lots of tummytime, so it seemed like the thing to do.

He's getting along quite well so far, even though it's only the first day. He cried for about a minute when they first put it on, but forgot about it almost immediately. He even slept until 7AM this morning!

I was really apprehensive, especially about going out in public, but we bit the bullet yesterday and went for groceries right after the clinic. A really nice man came up to us out of nowhere and said, "My son just got his band off last week - you're going to be so happy that you made this decision!! It's SO worth it!" It made me feel so much better.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Huzzah! And, Woo-hoo!

Deposit is down, we're into daycare as of December 1st!

(weird that I can be so thrilled about that, and at the same time be so upset. shall post more later about my "ohmygodicantbelieveimabandoningmychild" issues)

Monday, November 3, 2008

For those of you that are the praying kind...

... regardless of your deity, throw a couple our way.

The daycare debacle, which has been raging on in the background, is showing some signs of turning around.

We've been entertaining the idea of places that require a car ride away, and working on some sort of solution to that car ride that doesn't involve actually buying a vehicle, and most of them have been coming up dead ends.

Today, though, Hubby decided to email our first choice (across the street from lab), just to remind them we were still here, and see if there was a chance we could get in before, say, 2010.

A spot just opened up. In N.'s age group. And the director emailed about it, saying she was just about to call us and see if we were still interested.

It's not a done deal yet, so we're still keeping fingers and toes crossed, but hopefully we'll have an answer by the end of the week.

Since I've gone back to work, we've been trying so hard to make sure both Hubby and I get our hours in, without sacrificing too much of our family time, and it's not easy. Even when he's productive with his computer/paperwork on the days he's home, Hubby still feels like he should work the weekends too, and I feel horrible that I want him to stay home. We haven't reached the point where we're like two ships passing in the night, but it's close sometimes.

And, as much as I hate the idea of not spending so much time with N., I realize that daycare means we can spend more time together as a family. Plus, it'll be good for him to socialize with babies closer to his own age.

Can this actually be working out? Please send good thoughts.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The solid food adventure

(Because I still haven't the energy to post about the trip.)

Before leaving on vacation, N. had been having cereal a couple of times a day for about a week or so. After the initial feeding (which was WAY too liquidy, even though that's what the box said to do), he managed to work himself up to nearly a full "serving" (according to the box) within a few days. He didn't get any while we were at my brother's place solely because of the lack of time. We were driving around, visiting, doing wedding-related things every day, and the only chance we had would've been right before bed, and that just wasn't happening. I'd been worried that he'd look for the cereal, and not sleep well, but it didn't seem to make too much of a difference.

Once we settled into my parents' place, complete with highchair borrowed from a neighbor, we got back on routine. Cereal at breakfast, lunch, and supper, with nursing in the afternoon if there was time. N. kept at it, and did great. He tended to get a little overenthusiastic, though, which resulted in a lot of cereal gumming up everything, but he was so cute that we forgave him.

Now that we're back, I decided it was time to start on veggies. I was a bit worried, since he'd been eating cereal for such a long time, that he might not like the new tastes. Ideally, I'd like to have him try something new every 3-5 days, and I was afraid that he'd be fussy. So, after stocking up on 4 different veggies and 5 different fruits, I broke out the sweet potatoes at lunchtime today. And.....

It couldn't have gone any better.

He made the "new food face" with the first spoonful, but I figured that would happen. But, after that, it was smooth sailing. I'd even split the little tub into two servings, in case he didn't like it at first, but he ate the whole thing. The even more surprising thing was how calm and content he was. With his rice cereal, he gets a bit excited, and makes a mess. With this, he just smiled, and opened his mouth everytime waiting for the next bite. He seemed happy when it was finished, so he played for an hour before nursing and going down for a nap. All in all, a great day.

With every age, I find myself wanting him to stay that way, but I really love trying new things with him. He's a little person now, and I can't believe he's mine.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I don't have the mental fortitude to sort through pictures and post them. We're back in the apartment, everything is going really well, but I'm mentally and physically exhausted.

I'll recount the vacation soon, but now I'd like to sleep for days. It's such a bittersweet thing, living here. N. was an absolute joy throughout the entire trip, and wasn't afraid of anyone he met. He made fast friends with both of my parents, along with my brother and sister-in-law, and didn't seem to mind when we left him with any of them as babysitters (it was harder on me). It was such a happy 17 days from start to finish, I'm so grateful.

The problem with it being such a success is that it had to end.

We left for the drive back on Saturday at 6PM (it's 17 hours with no stop, and we ended up doing it in 23 hours, but more about that later). Saying goodbye to my mother was so hard, especially since the baby was so good with her. I feel like such a horrible daughter, keeping her grandson so far away. She spent the day doing everything she could with him - diapers, cereal feedings, tummytime; I only got him back to nurse. I cried for the first 20 minutes we were on the road, and I'm sure she did too. We kept in touch by cellphone, and all she could say everytime we talked throughout the trip was, "I want my baby back."

And, just now, my dad left to get the shuttle to the airport. He's been amazing with N., moreso than I could ever hope for. He's a big man, and has always been afraid of babies, but he can't get enough of N. Both times he's left (this time, and at the end of his visit in June), N. has been asleep in his crib, and somehow I think that makes it harder. He leans over the crib, and I can tell he wants to look at that angel face for just a moment longer.

We're determined to get home for Christmas, and when you think about it, that's not too far away - we'd likely be getting there in a little over 7 weeks. But, I just know it's going to mean goodbyes again, and I don't know how I'm going to be able to do it. I'm grateful for my job, and I really do love my little apartment. This city, this community, is not, and never will be, my home, but the apartment is the first 'home' we've had as our own little family. I know we're a separate family unit, but in a way, there's a large part of us that isn't here.

It's at home.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We survived the first half, and are well into the second.

Not much time to blog around here, but things are going extremely well. To sum up:

  • N. did wonderfully on the drive up, which took about 18 hours.
  • My brother and sister-in-law did wonderfully practicing with N., for their own baby arriving in February.
  • The wedding was great, my best friend was glowing, and I have no decent pictures yet, since my camera was with Hubby while we were doing wedding stuff.
  • N. smiled throughout everything, even though he was dragged from restaurants to churches to reception halls, in and out of his carseat, day in and day out.
  • N. met his great grandmother on Wednesday, and they got along swimmingly. He also went to my mother's workplaces, and met all her friends and co-workers. My boy, he gets around.
  • Today, he will NOT nap, and it's starting to get wearing, since I know he's tired.
I'm hoping to upload soon, but it might not be until we get back to the apartment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's been a busy few days.

Instead of taking photos, and blogging, I've been frantically trying to get things ready for our trip, and keeping both Baby N., and my dad (who's here visiting) entertained. Fortunately, the entertainment part is easy - Papa (my dad) entertains N., and N. entertains Papa.

We're leaving at some ungodly hour overnight, and still we haven't finished packing. Hubby is home trying to get some of it done while I finish up at work.

The good thing about this busy week is that N. has taken to eating his cereal like a champ. Since it's not routine yet, we're finding it hard to fit in more than one or two feedings a day, but I think that's a good pace to ease him into it. Hubby also fed him last night, and seemed to get the hang of it fairly quickly.

Hopefully the next time I post, it'll be from my beloved province, with some fun pics of the wedding I'm in, or the party that we're having for N. once we get to my parents' place.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen

A step forward in the 'strangers' department, and a step back in the sleep department.

Well, N. seems to be doing much better with strangers these past few days, provided they keep their distance. He even was chatty with a rather imposing man with a dark beard yesterday. I'm keeping optimistic that he'll get used to my mother first, then with everyone else, during the wedding and all the travelling and partying that will come with it.

Developmentally, he seems to be doing really well. He loves to play with his toys, and passes them from one hand to the other really easily. Tummytime is always fun for him, and he's so interactive now, it's so much fun for me and for Hubby. He's also mastered the art of rolling from his back to his belly, which is the problem.

Unless he's almost asleep, if we put him down on his back, Pop! he's back on his belly. The thing is, he can't sleep on his belly (hasn't figured out how), and doesn't seem to have the hang of flipping onto his back when he's in the crib. This means two things:

1. Daytime naps are a thing of the past, at least in the crib.
2. If he wakes up overnight, he flips over, then he really wakes up, and can't go back to sleep.

The past few nights have been tough. He's waking up at least once, sometimes twice, and needs a little bit of nursing to get back to sleep. I know, I'm probably promoting a really bad habit, but I haven't had to get up at 1AM and 4AM in the longest time, and it really sucks. Last night, I did manage to get him to sleep without the boob at 1:45AM - I had to flip him to his back twice in a 6 minute period, but he found his thumb, gave it a few good sucks, and was back to sleep. (4:30AM was another story).

One of the things that our pediatrician said was that sometimes babies stop sleeping as well when they're ready to start solids (ie they need that extra little bit of food to tank them up). It also could be teething, but I'm pretty sure it's not, and I'll get to that in a sec.

So, we decided to start with the rice cereal, fully realizing it'll take a few days before he's getting enough of it to make a difference. Yesterday evening, we mixed up a serving based on what the box said, and boy howdy was it liquidy. But, we decided to go for it, and it was a huge success. He really seemed to like it, and it only took about two minutes before he figured out what that spoon was for and was grabbing it to put it in his own mouth.

I think he was a bit hungry, so I'm going to try today after he's had a really good feeding.

Now, the reason I don't think it's teething is because he wakes up happy. Absolutely no sign of any discomfort. The whining starts when he's on his belly and can't flip over. Plus, he had a real episode of teething pain the other night, when he cried and cried and cried until we held a frozen teethie in his mouth long enough for the numbing to take place. It was horrible and stressful, since he hasn't cried like that since he was two weeks old, but he eventually fell asleep and woke up happy as a clam the next day (after sleeping for 8 hours).

I'm trying to encourage him to flip over both ways as much as I can, and he seems happy with the whole process, even if he can't do it when he needs to yet. And, surprisingly, I'm not doing too bad with the "up once a night" thing. I mean, he's my boy, he needs me, and who am I to begrudge him 20 minutes?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A better day yesterday, and a slightly hypocritical rant.

Hubby (again) had a last minute meeting with his new grad student minion yesterday, so he packed up Baby N. and brought him into the lab for the afternoon. It's something I'm encouraging for two reasons - 1. If he comes in on his babysitting days off, he can count that time, and he won't have to work through too many Saturdays, preserving some family time until we can get into daycare, and 2. The more N. gets exposed to new faces, the better he'll do when we go home for the wedding in a couple of weeks.

Hubby took a different approach this time - instead of letting people get right into N.'s face to say hello and coo and squeak at him, he got them to stay back a few feet, talk to Hubby, then slowly start to talk and pay attention to the baby. He reacted quite well - by the time I got over to visit them, N. was having a grand old chat with the secretary, and had gotten on quite well with the grad student.

N. is also napping much better lately, to the point where if we're out for the afternoon, and he misses that nap, he'll sleep from supper until bedtime snack, then go right back to sleep afterward. I can't even express how much I love this kid, and how frateful I am to have such a happy, contented baby. I know that he'll have his moments, and that eventually he'll have a moment that'll likely last months, but I'm enjoying him nonetheless!

Now, for my little rant.

I gave in to something last week, something I normally would've stood against on principle, being the type to do my own research and not fall prey to public panic.

I went out and bought new bottles for N. BPA-free ones.

Most people wouldn't find that odd. In fact, I'm sure there are lots of people who're thinking I'm a neglectful parent for not doing it sooner. But, like I said, I try not to blindly follow public opinion without getting the facts.

Like with the whole vaccination issue. Vaccinations do not cause autism. Thimerosal does not cause autism. I can't be arsed to dig up the paper right now, but I've read it. The original (and only) study that caused the panic has been withdrawn, and the results were false. I'm giving my baby (and any of his future siblings) their shots, because it's BETTER for them. It's like making the choice to have the C-section with my elephantine baby - if I can do something to prevent a high-risk occurrence by doing something that has a very very low risk of harm, it's BETTER.

What does this have to do with the whole BPA issue? Well, I'm not entirely convinced that BPA poses a danger in the way we use it from day to day. Most of the studies that are conducted to determine risks are done by giving large doses of the chemical in question to rats, and seeing what happens.

(I realize I'm oversimplifying; don't flame me if you're a scientist too. I get it.)

But it's like the acrylamide scare in fried foods. You'd have to eat pounds and pounds of fried things every day, possibly more food than you could physically consume in 24 hours, and eat like that for months, in order to get the dose of acrylamide that's harmful. Does that mean that there's no acrylamide in fried food? No. Is it negligible? From my perspective, considering the amounts I and my family eat, I think it's pretty safe. I'm more likely to get cancer from the emissions I breathe in on my way to work each day.

BPA is a similar case. It's only released from the plastics when they're heated to a high temperature for an extended period of time. Like when campers boil water for their tea in their Nalgene bottles (which I never would've considered doing - who boils in plastic?!). It turns out Nalgene is phasing out BPA, which I think is a responsible move on their part, considering the outdoor nature of their products. But drinking cold water in my nalgene? Again, I feel that the amount of BPA released is completely negligible.

Swinging this train back around to baby bottles - one of the brands that I was using (let's call them Brand A) didn't have a plastics recycling code stamped on the bottles, but it turns out that their original bottles do have BPA in them. For the most part, this wouldn't be a problem - feeding N. a supplement of 2oz per bottle meant I could let it come up to room temperature while nursing him, avoiding most of the direct heat. But now that I'm at work, Hubby has to feed him larger amounts, which would take hours to come up to room temp. I had bought two of Brand A's new BPA-free bottles, but they're nearly $10 a bottle. Would I spend it for my baby's health? You bet. Do I think Brand A is taking advantage of the public hysteria about BPA? You're damn right they are.

For that reason alone, I really hate the idea of replacing all my bottles and giving a fortune to Brand A, because all they're doing is sticking it to concerned parents. Fortunately, there are other options. The brand of breastpump I have, let's call them Brand M, also makes bottles. They've always been BPA-free, and they're nearly half the price of the other ones.

Could Brand M raise their prices now, considering what the rest of the market is doing? Sure they could. There's a lot of space between where they are now, and the price of Brand A. But, as far as I can tell, they're not doing that. They're just spending a little more on advertising the fact that they've ALWAYS been BPA-free, and I'm sure are getting more business because of it.

I'm pretty sure this BPA thing will blow over eventually, much like acrylamide, and charred food, and all those things. But, in the meantime, I've decided to play it safe. $45 is a small price to pay (and it's smaller than $100!)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Today was better than yesterday.

(It's amazing how bored you can get when you attend a scientific conference without attending any actual part of said scientific conference)


Today we had a great day here in this quaint rainy little town. Baby N. got up with us at 6AM, had some breakfast, and came downstairs with Hubby and me so we could eat our breakfast. I was really good and didn't even have any bacon or french toast. Fruit, bagel, decaf coffee and skim milk. The baby was also slightly better with all the strangers around, too, which is encouraging. After breakfast, we came back upstairs, hung out, had second breakfasts at 9am, and then N. went down for a nap lickety-split. My baby, how I love him ;-)

After lunch, though, instead of a nap, we went out exploring... which was really quite interesting, considering that "downtown" here consists of a sum total of 3 city blocks. It's really damn small. But, we went to the gift shop, got some cute things for N., a t-shirt for me, and then we went on a little adventure.

Being as we're in Cape Cod, there's actually ocean right off the main street, along a little boardwalk. So, N. had his first experience with the ocean, which meant a great deal to me. I grew up on an island in Eastern Canada (that should narrow it down, since there are only three), and I don't feel entirely settled unless I'm living somewhere within a few minutes drive of the Atlantic. By the time we get to my parent's place next, it'll be too cold to visit, so we took advantage of what we had here. The water was still surprisingly warm, warm enough to dunk tiny toes into. I'll post pictures when we get back to the apartment, since I didn't bring my camera cord with me. N. seemed to enjoy the sand on his toes, which was great.

After coming back, he fell asleep before supper (I had to wake him up to go down to the cafeteria so I could eat before they closed). He was a little fussy for the remainder of the evening, even spitting up a fair bit, but I started feeding him again around 8PM, and as of 8:45PM, he's sound asleep.

I think his schedule is shifting because of my going back to work. He used to get up at 9AM, and go to bed around 10:30PM. Theoretically, getting up at 6AM should mean bed at 7:30PM, so 8:45PM really isn't that far off. Once we get back to the apartment, I'll have to try and keep it up. I also have to try to force myself to go to bed shortly after he does. If he's sleeping at 9PM, there's no reason for me to stay up puttering and watching TV until 11PM. Making lunch and getting ready for the next day shouldn't take more than half an hour, and as for the TV, pretty much everything is available online these days anyway.

Gee, this post got really rambly really quickly. Maybe I should snooze until Hubby comes back from his evening presentation session...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Blogging from away

I'm away in a quaint New England town, at a departmental retreat (Hubby's dept, that is), and since he's at talks, and it was baby's bedtime, I'm sitting alone in our room, in the dark, with a laptop monitor turned as dim as humanly possible, trying not to twiddle my thumbs.

(I couldn't anyway; can't see the damn things)

While people don't often bring spouses to this particular annual event, Hubby encouraged me to come because a) it's a change of scenery, b) it's sciency, which I like, and c) he could tell I wasn't ready to be left alone all weekend with Baby N. The problem is that I can't actually expose myself to much of the sciency stuff, since N. isn't overly social this past little while.

It's still a welcome change, though. We had a nice, albeit rainy, drive here, and it took pretty much exactly the amount of time the map said it should. We stopped quickly for food for us grown-ups, but fed N. in the car by bottle so as to make good time, and it worked like a charm.

Luckily, there's wireless here, and while Hubby was at the afternoon presentations, I was able to catch up on some TV online while N. napped. We had a social supper, and now I'm waiting for Hub to come back from the evening sessions.

I put N. down to sleep for the first time all by myself, which leads to the conclusion that I likely would've been just fine alone for the weekend, but it's nicer to be here. Hopefully he'll sleep well tonight, and be his charming little self tomorrow.

I'm not entirely convinced that the charming part will happen, because it seems like our little overachiever is hitting more milestones early, namely the "strangers r bad, m'kay" phase. He flipped out when the pediatrician talked to him yesterday, and he usually loves her; there weren't even any needles involved this time, so that's not the reason. He's also crying at about 50% of the "strangers" that come to say hello, and that includes some of Hubby's labmates. It really makes me feel bad, because he seems to get upset at the ones that are sweet and kind and love babies, and he laughs for the ones that are standoffish. Our ped said that because he's hitting this stage early (by about two months), he should get out of it early and quickly (hopefully).

We also had a 5-month weigh-in, and my little bruiser is 17lb, 11oz. He's still following his growth curves nicely, completely back on track for his birthweight and percentile. He's starting to show interest in what I eat and drink, so I think we'll be trying some rice cereal with him soon. I'm not sure when I'll do that; it might be after his 6-month birthday, or maybe a little before, since that's when we'll be home at my parent's place for a wedding (more on that later).

But, since he's sleeping, maybe I should catch some shut-eye. I don't dare put a lamp on to knit, and the computer screen doesn't provide enough light for my tastes. I just hope Hubby doesn't come storming in ;)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My first work "week"

Well, I survived. I should be sleeping right now, but I thought you might like to hear how everything went :-)

Hubby and I had worked out that Monday and Tuesday would be the best days for him to stay home, since it was essential for him to be at work Wednesday and Thursday**.

So, we planned out the days for them, and off I went to work. This week was a bit unusual, since it turned out in the end that Hubby had a reason to come in both Monday and Tuesday, but it worked out.

I woke up at 6AM on Monday morning (which was more painful than I could ever imagine), and nursed Baby N. We tried to put him back down for a morning nap, but according to Hubby, he stayed awake until his 9AM feeding. He napped after that, though, which was good. Hubby had to be into work on Monday for around 2PM, but kept the baby with him for the meeting. I got to visit with them for a few minutes, and Hubby stayed in one of the conference rooms with the baby for the rest of the afternoon, so we could walk home together.

The uni is really good to support breastfeeding mothers, and I've been able to book timeslots in one of the "mother's rooms" twice a day. That way, I can go in, pump for 15 minutes, and be able to bring that home for the next day's feeding. The rooms are really comfortable, with spaces for two moms, and there's a sink to clean pump parts and a microwave to sterilize them. I'm booked in twice, four hours apart, but when the baby is at home, he eats every three hours, so I pump twice, but he has three feedings. It means that some nights I might only feed him once more, and then he goes to bed. All in all, it works out pretty well.

Tuesday was a bit tougher - Hubby had a last minute lab meeting, which meant I had to take over for an hour. Luckily it started at the same time as my first stint in the Mother's Room, so instead of pumping, I just nursed the baby. We spent some time making friends with the departmental secretary, and once Hubby was done with his meeting, they went home.

All in all, it was a fairly successful few days. I've learned a few things, though, that we'll have to pay attention to:

  • I have to make my lunch the night before; there's no time in the mornings
  • It works out best if I sterilize all bottle/pump parts as soon as I get home (or early Sunday evening), and lay out bottles of breastmilk/formula the night before I go to work. Otherwise Hubby wouldn't get any work done during his days home, which is essential to keep his boss happy
  • We have to be really careful to schedule my work on days where Hubby has no meetings. Having done it both days this week, I know now that it just complicates things.
  • Getting to bed early is essential. I can't stay up to watch TV or knit, as much as I'd like to. Luckily, Comcast broadcasts most of what I watch the following day; unfortunately, sometimes it'll cost me $0.99.
  • I need to get up when the alarm rings; otherwise, I catch the bus on the return loop, and don't get a seat.
It's not easy, but it's do-able for the time being. I miss my boy something awful, but I realize I get to spend five other days a week with him, and I'm so grateful.

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The daycare debacle, part 2


One thing I've been repeating to myself lately comes from Hubby's aunt (well, not originally, but it's something she lives by, and I'm starting to adopt it):

Things have a way of working themselves out.

I have to hold on to this, because if I didn't, I just might go bonkers. I mentioned before that I wasn't optimistic about getting into the daycare we applied for before Christmas. Turns out even that's unrealistic. We've come to find out Hubby's boss sits on the board (and is definitely NOT the type of person to use her connections for undue influence, so no advantage there), and she was forthcoming with information that the director was not.

There are 15o people on the waiting list.

Hubby's boss seemed really irritated that the director refuses to tell people this, and keeps parents' hopes up falsely, and I have to say I agree. But, does this change much for us? Not really. We still need a daycare that's within walking distance, because we just can't afford daycare and a car.

His boss did know of another daycare that's somewhat close to our apartment (about a 15 minute walk), so we're going to get on their waiting list too. I'm not holding my breath for a start date before Christmas there, either, but it's all we can do. We can't afford in-home care, and besides - if you get a nanny through a reputable agency, the majority of the contracts require you to provide that nanny with transportation, i.e. a CAR.

We'll figure it out. Somehow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Keeping my eyes on the prize

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen

I just spent ages rambling on about how much this end-of-leave-getting-into-daycare thing is stressing me out, and I forgot to share the most important part -

I have the best, most adorable baby in the world.

Still sleeping like a champ, still happy pretty much all the time.

Every day I love him more, and I think I'll burst with all the love, and then another day arrives, and the love just keeps going.

The daycare debacle

I don't like to write about this, because I don't like to think about it. Unfortunately, it's one of those things that, when ignored, rears up and whacks you in the face and then laughs about it.

My maternity leave is coming to an end in a week.

(Pause. Sob uncontrollably. Gather. Pause. Continue.)

My contract (which we're in the process of trying to get renewed with our funders) is part-time, because I had to switch when I was pregnant. Full time was too much to handle, physically, so working part-time gave me the chance to rest, and I also got to make up time from early on in the pregnancy when I was really really sick. It turns out that it's a good thing - it enabled us to stretch out the first contract by 7 months, keeping our benefactor happy. It's also a good thing because we don't have daycare yet.

When I first thought about having kids, I'd hoped that we'd be living close to my parents, along with having the Canadian option of at least a year of maternity leave. That way, I could bond with the munchkins, and when I had to go back to work, my mother could take over (because she works part-time too). Here, like I'm sure I've mentioned, maternity leave sucks, at most you can have 5 months, but a lot of people only get 6 weeks. So, I knew I had to apply for daycare.

The problem, believe it or not, is the mentality most people around here have about their cars.

CARS? Wha?

Well, the deal is this. We got info from HR about daycare options, and they were generally helpful for most people, but not for us. There is basically one daycare that's accessible to us as a car-free family, and there's a wait-list (which we're on). The HR woman who specifically takes care of child care was shocked that we didn't have a car, and took great pains to point out the fact that there's only one daycare we can get to without one. Her advice?

"You're going to have to buy a car."

Now, I'm sorry, but that's just not realistic. If I'm working part-time (which, because of the contract issues, might not last forever), we can just afford to pay for daycare. Daycare that's full-time, since there are no real part-time options. If we bought a car, between gas and insurance and the initial expense of the actual purchase, we'd be in the hole every single month, and our small savings from last year would be eaten up within 8 months.

So, we have to wait until we get into the daycare that's close by.

Which means a heck of a lot of juggling. I'm technically on 53% time, which means 21.2 hours a week. That works out to two really long days of 10 hours, 42 minutes; I'm thinking I might do two 10 hour days and then use the third day to meet with my boss for updates and planning sessions (I can bring the baby for those). In order for me to work those hours, Hubby has to stay home and babysit. We can't afford a nanny, and I'm not willing to just get a temporary babysitter, since I don't know anyone here and would have a hard time checking references in any way that I would trust.

Hubby, of course, works full-time, and needs to put in at least 40 hours a week. If he takes two days off to babysit, he needs to find a way to get his computer work and paperwork done during those days, so that he can put in for those hours. That way, he'll only have to work three or four of the remaining days and we'll have at least one day on the weekend together as a family.

When we applied for daycare, we put in a start date of November 1st, since we're taking two weeks off for a wedding in October. If we were to get in on Nov. 1st, we'd only have to do this juggling thing for 3 weeks. I'm not optimistic that we'll get in before Christmas, though.

Sorry for rambling, I'm just trying to mentally prepare for this. I know it's going to be a hard couple of months, but I also know we have no choice. We'll make it work somehow, I just want to make sure that we don't get so stressed out that it's detrimental to the baby and to our relationship.

If only we were living at home...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Brain mush

I used to write all the time, and it was theraputic. Now, most days I feel as if my brain has turned to mush, and it's all I can do to get up, get dressed, and carry on simple conversations with Hubby.

And I never want it to end.

If I was back in Canada, I still wouldn't even be halfway through my maternity leave, but the reality of it is, I have three weeks left. The other side of that reality is that my grant only has three weeks left on it after I start back. We have to reapply or I could be unemployed, and that is some scary shit, people.

But, I have to be completely honest about the whole thing, because I'm torn. On the one hand, there's a large part of me that would love to have more time off, and that's the part that feels guilty about going back to work. I know that there are many many mothers here in the US who don't even get five months off, and I'm really grateful, but I feel guilty. On the other hand, and I feel even more guilty about this, there's a part of me that needs to be a grown-up with a job again.

I think that's why my brain is mush - I keep trying to reconcile this, and it melts my synapses. I can't understand how I can love N. so much, and even consider not being with him 24 hours a day. When I think about leaving him at daycare, I start to cry, but I look forward to getting back to my experiments.

It's killing me. And, evidently, making me ramble.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

*really* sleeping through the night

While we were visiting the MIL, I tried to keep N. on the same schedule as much as possible, taking into account the hour time difference, and for the most part it worked. He was nursing and going to sleep at the exact same time (11PM Canadian time, 10PM US time), and getting up at about the same time in the morning (7AM/6AM). Most days we woke him up because we had errands to run, or cleaning to do, and it worked out fine.

Once we got back home, I decided to see what would happen if we didn't nudge him awake at that 5-6AM hour to feed. Truth be told, I didn't want to, because waking him at 5AM meant he would go back to sleep, usually until at least 9AM, which meant I was sleeping until at least 9AM).

The result?

The little bugger goes down at 10:30PM, and usually sleeps until 8AM.

So, if I take into account the fact that night feedings mean I'm up for a minimum of an hour (I can't breastfeed in bed, the girls are too big, and he suffocates), I'm actually getting an *extra* 30 minutes of sleep.

He had his 4-month physical on Monday, too, which went really well. He's 16 lb, 9 oz, 25 1/2" long, and a head circ of somewhere around 43.5cm, putting those measurements at the 80th, 70th, and 80th percentiles. I was surprised that he was actually gaining weight faster, but with this new sleeping-through-the-night trick, he's often ending up with one less feeding per day (and doing just fine), so I'm hoping that will level off.

Random photo time: Here's a pic of N. with a pic of Hubby at a similar age. I said from the get-go that N. had Hubby's eyes, and here's the proof; I'm not sure if I still want N.'s eyes to darken to brown, but I guess there's still time.

Daddy's boy

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Surviving our first family road trip

Well, that was an adventure ;-)

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, since it sort of came upon us very suddenly, but we took a mini-vacation up to my mother-in-law's last week, which really wasn't a vacation.

We've been trying to sell the family home for quite some time, years in fact, because she's been alone there since 2004 and has been desperate to get into an apartment. Long story short - in mid-July it started looking as if it was finally going to work out, with a probable closing date of August 25th, so we had to go to help.

(We also had to go to make sure she didn't throw out any more family heirlooms, which she's prone to do, but that's another story for another day.)

So, online I went to book another car rental, and we headed out very early last Tuesday morning. I'd had a few weeks to plan out the packing, but considering we were only going for six days (two of which were driving days), the car was excessively full.

Luckily for us, N. was his usual cheerful self. I'd woken him up at 4AM to nurse, so we could hopefully get on the road by 5AM with him asleep in his carseat. He decided that the excitement was just too much fun, though, and stayed awake while we packed the car, and giggled at our manic running around. We were on the road by 5:40 (which wasn't too bad, all things considered), and we stayed on the road for nearly 15 hours.

There were stops in there, and one major detour that took about 80 minutes when we missed an exit, but all in all, it was pretty uneventful. N. was good, not too fussy until later in the day, and we arrived in time for him to have a bedtime snack and go right to bed after meeting his Memére (grandmother) and having some snuggles.

We spent the next day doing legal paperwork having to do with the house sale, and packing/cleaning. Same thing on Friday morning, with the heavy lifting happening Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Hubby's cousins were fantastic, bringing their truck and trailer and loading up all the furniture so efficiently. We stopped for a little pizza and beer around 6:30PM, which N. surprisingly showed an interest in, and then we kept going until nearly 10PM. My father arrived around 7:30PM, to take back to his place important family keepsakes (we store stuff at my parents' place, since they have a ton of room). N. seemed to get along just fine with his Papa, too.

Saturday afternoon was spent tidying up the loose ends, making sure we hadn't forgotten anything. Hubby also took photos of the house, and the yard with all its beautiful trees (it's quite a huge yard). Once we were sure everything was taken care of, we put the baby in the back of the car, and drove away.

I have to say, it was one of the hardest things I've ever done, and I can't imagine how Hubby felt. His parents bought the house when he was eight, and it has been his home for 25 years. But, it was time, it's better for his mom (who's now in a two-bedroom apartment, which means there's space for us when we visit), and it's a load off of everyone's mind.

Unfortunately, we only had the one evening together after all the madness ended, but we had a good time. We cooked dinner, helped MIL arrange some furniture, and played with N. until he was exhausted from all the giggling. Then, to bed early, and up at 5AM to get on the road to come back home.

N. was even better on the way back, with minimal fussiness all in the last hour of the drive. My kid, he's the bomb.

C'mon, Mom, can we go again?

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Heading out on our road trip tomorrow.

Here's to hoping N. decides to sleep a bit. He did well today, on our trip to the mall to get some last minute supplies, so I'm optimistic.

Back in a week!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dear future self,

Prune juice works when you give it to babies. Really. At any point in time when you're tempted to employ this technique - remember that you will inevitably suffer the consequences.

August 13 Self.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Just when I think I can't love him anymore than I already do....

... N. does something that catapults him from the best baby in the world to the best baby in the universe (which, let's face it, he's actually been since being born).

Yesterday, I set out to finalize some travel plans, because we're heading home for my best friend's wedding at the end of October. It's actually taking the place of a summer vacation, because we're going to spend some time at my parents' place, and introduce N. to the huge extended family that's never met him but loves him just the same.

I figured it'd be easy, since we'd decided to book with Airmiles/Skymiles, and it was going to save us somewhere around $1600 (flights, including taxes, were going to cost about $2100, and we'd still be responsible for the taxes). My father has lots of experience with booking Airmiles, and we thought, nearly three months away, no prob.


There were NO flights showing up in the Airmiles system anywhere near when we wanted to fly. We shifted the whole vacation by nearly two weeks (changing from the wedding at the first of it to the wedding at the end of it), and still nothing. There was one option, which involved arriving the night before the wedding, but that was cutting it close. I'm matron of honour, and we still haven't actually altered my dress yet (it was purchased while I was pregnant, with an estimated size). Luckily, my mom's also a seamstress, but even she can't alter a formal gown the morning of the wedding.

I spent the day on the phone with Dad, who spent the day on the phone with Airmiles, trying out a zillion options. Then, we finally decided to investigate car rentals, and then trying to figure out which credit cards would cover the rental insurance, so we could do this for under a thousand bucks.

In the end, we've figured it out, and are saving the extra money, so it's all good. It was the kind of day, though, that would've sent me into apoplexy before, much less when I have a baby to take care of.

What does all of this have to do with N., you ask?

He took not one, but TWO, naps while I was on the phone, and each and every time he was awake, he was HAPPY. No fussing, no crying, no whining, no meltdowns.

I heard today of another baby in my extended circle (Mom's friend's granddaughter), who's older than N., but still wakes up lots at night, has reflux, and is generally needy, the poor thing. Every day, something happens that makes me appreciate that I really do have one of the best babies around. I will never ever take that for granted.

Oh, and his passport came in yesterday, too. We could theoretically get away without it because we're driving, but it's nice to have. And oh, so cute.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My baby, he amazes me

So, we had an outing today, and it was one I wasn't looking forward to. We had to go to the post office to apply in person for N.'s passport, which involved pictures of course.

I was worried he'd be freaked out by the time we got there (a 25 minute walk), or that he'd scream to high holy hell at strangers trying to take his photo. But, my boy, he's a trouper.

We dealt with a really nice lady at the counter first, who went over everything, and he just charmed the bejezzus out of her. He giggled, smiled, flirted, and chatted up a storm. Then a second lady took the first few photo attempts (all failures because the contrast on the camera was off), and he smiled for her, and looked directly at the camera the whole time. When another man had to come to fix the camera and try the picture again, N. was still pretty happy. The picture that ended up being used is slightly funnier than some of the others, but is just darn cute.

(I can't believe I'm getting a passport for a 3-month old)

We even got to stop at J. Crew on the way home without him melting down, so Hubby could get some polos on sale to replace the really scuzzy ones he's wearing now. Me, I got some headbands to keep my hair out of my face and out of N.'s little grabby fingers ;-)

Oh, and his 3-month weigh in? 14 lb, 9 oz, 24 3/4" long, and he's squarely in the 75th percentile. Well fed, and happy, and still sleeping like a champ. The little gipper is napping this afternoon (just like he did yesterday), in his crib, arms thrown above his head like he hasn't a care in the world.

I hope he feels that secure as long as I can manage it.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I had my first meltdown in quite a while this morning, and I'm guessing it was a long time coming. I can't even blame it on a lack of sleep, because my little champ is still snoozing now, at 9:15AM, like he usually is every morning.

I've been trying not to think about going back to work, but it's hard not to. As a post-doc, and as a scientist in general, it's difficult to have long absences from work, even if they're for child-rearing. I have to keep working as much as possible for my future, and for N.'s future, and my logical brain knows this.

Maternity leave here in the US isn't great. In fact, it sucks. I'm one of the lucky ones, because I know that some people only get six WEEKS, where I can take nearly 6 months. The majority of that is unpaid, but at least I get all that time to bond with my little angel. I don't like to think about the fact that if I'd stayed in Canada I'd have a year, and that I'd be paid half time for that whole year.

I still have lots of time left, but I have to start preparing to take N. to daycare, and that is breaking my heart over and over and over. I mean, he's my baby. He needs me, and I need him. I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to do this.

I also know it'll be good for him. We've been here for almost 16 months, but we're still strangers here. I don't have any friends in the city, and most of the time that's OK with me, but I think socializing N. with other babies and kids will be a really great experience.

But, he's my baby. I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to do this.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Can it be?

I have nothing really exciting to report... which is weird. Usually I'm desperate for blogging time, and I forget all the things I wanted to talk about, but this time, I don't think there's much.

N. is sleeping, which is a bit surprising. He woke up at 3:30 for his middle-of-the-night snack, which is hugely early, but seems to be content in there, little arms thrown over his head with abandon.

We're trying to wean him off his extra supplement (still 2oz per feeding) to see how he handles it, since by our dinky bathroom scale, he's weighing in at somewhere around (ie over) 14lb. Which I think is still OK, since he started off life big, but we want to make sure he doesn't end up overweight before he can truly enjoy the extra calories that put him there. (I'm saying this as a big girl from a family with several other biggies).

He's now on supplement every second feeding rather than every single one, and seems to be tolerating it just fine. He'd started spitting up quite a bit (and quite immediately) after almost every bottle supplement, which meant copious amounts after every feeding; at his age, it should be tapering off, from what everyone tells me. Now, when he only nurses, there's no real spitting up at all, leading me to believe he might have been overfull.

Fortunately we have an appointment with peds on Friday, so we can go over everything with them. He's still happy, and he's plenty porky, so I figure it'll be OK.

We're also desperately trying to get more tummy time in, and it seems like he's finally tolerating that too. Before, we'd get maybe 90 seconds before he got uncomfortable, but now, it's much better. He prefers tummy time on the bed, rather than his tummytime mat (natch, because we spent 30$ on the tummytime mat, and the bed was free).

And this whole blogging from Flickr - well, it only allows for one photo per post, and who the heck only wants one photo?

Notice my chins. Ain't no underfeeding happening here, nosiree.

Drunk on the milk-a

Just kidding, mommy! I'm not drunk, I'm just silly!

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Again with the sleeping.


I know that we're reaching the age where babies are supposed to begin sleeping better, and even through the night, but it still surprises me. Particularly so because there are a number of babies born near N.'s birthday who are still waking up every 2 hours.

N. was in bed last night by 11:00PM. He'd started feeding at 9:30PM, a bit earlier than expected (based on his "every 3 hours" schedule), but went right to sleep. Because of that earlier feeding, I was expecting him to wake up around 4:00AM or so, but we were lucky.

Hubby's in there right now trying to get him to go back down for another little while, but I'm not optimistic ;-) He seemed pretty cheery and awake after his breakfast.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Things they don't tell you

  • Bibs. Buy bibs, lots of them.
  • Buying fancy blankies can be a huge waste of money. My kid likes cloth diapers.
  • The cuter the outfit, the harder it is to get on and off.
  • Sleepers with zippers or snaps only down one leg are a pain in the ass.
  • One hour of sleep will feel like a lifetime (and actually seem somewhat refreshing).
  • Babies grow FAST. (OK, they do tell you this, but no one believes it until it happens)
  • The bigger the diaper, the less you get in a pack.
  • You will learn to walk around with your shirt covered in spit up and won't care in the slightest.

And, finally -

That none of these things will matter when your baby looks up at you and smiles, because he knows you're his Mom, and to him at this moment, you're everything. Because forever, to you, he's everything.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fire alarms

Well, it's been an interesting two days; we've had three fire alarms, and I'm hoping that they're finished.

It's one of those things that you don't think about. When I was in college, both in the dorms and when I was out on my own, a fire alarm was a simple thing. I had to grab my wallet, my laptop, and make sure I had enough clothing on depending on the weather.

Now, I have to find wallet, passport, clothing, and then grab the diaper bag, a blanket, and something to put the baby in, in case we're outside for a long time. Then I have to grab the baby, make sure he's secure in my arms, and figure out a way to go down the stairs AND cover his ears to protect him from the horrible thousand decibel siren that rings in our hallway.

Today, we had to do that twice, once at 5AM, once at 8AM. The first time I was awake, the second time, we were all asleep.

SO not fun.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


So I was right to suspect that N.'s routine is changing, but I'm not sure if it's temporary.

The past two nights he's been fussy, to the point where he shrieks if we put him down.  I know he's not doing too bad, because most of the time he settles when held, but not always.  Being the brilliant first time mom that I am, it took me forever to decide to check his temperature, which was a little bit elevated from his normal temp.  Nothing to call the pediatrician about, unless it hangs on, but still it was about a half degree higher than usual.  We gave him a tiny bit of acetaminophen, and he calmed down within the hour (without getting drowsy from the medicine, thank heavens; that would've made me feel guilty).

He still woke up for his middle-of-the-night feeding over two hours early, but went right back down when he was finished, and his temperature had returned to normal.  Unfortunately it's screwed with his normal daily routine.  He'd usually be eating right now, but he's been back asleep in his crib for an hour, having fed two hours early.  I'm not sure what it'll mean for bedtime tonight, but we'll go with the flow.

I ended up with about two fewer hours of sleep, but that's not what's bothering me.  It took me a little while to figure it out, but I'm pretty sure it's because I miss him.  Usually now we're having a very chatty morning feeding, and he's up until lunchtime.  I should be knitting (there are no dishes to do, hallelujah), but I'm surfing the net, trying to distract myself from the quiet.

It still amazes me just how much I love him.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oh, we're so spoiled (and so screwed)

In the previous post, I talked about how good N. is, particularly in the sleep department. I must make it abundantly clear - I know this won't last. In fact, I'm expecting the good luck to run out at any time now. The problem is, I'm not sure how we'll handle it when it does.

Hubby is very practical, and although he's not always good at creating routines for himself, he thrives on them. Our nighttime routine involves him giving the baby his final snack, burping him, and putting him in the crib. Up until two nights ago, this was exactly our routine, and it worked out well.

The past couple of nights, though, N. has been a little fussy after nursing and getting his supplement. He sometimes spits up, sometimes not, but instead of falling asleep within seconds of being put up on Hubby's shoulder, he cries and whines. Hubby tries putting him on his lap, with a pinkie finger to suck on, but that doesn't seem to work any more.

And it freaks Hubby out.

His logical brain knows that N. is being a baby, and he'll change his routines a billion times in the next 18 years (and maybe even after that). The emotional part of his brain can't grasp why 'first X, then Y' might have worked before, but doesn't work now. He doesn't appreciate that change often happens without warning; tonight he said with desperation, "I just don't get it. I did this the other night and it worked. It's worked for 2 weeks. I don't understand why it isn't working tonight!"

It didn't work because N. is a baby. Sometimes Hubby needs to be convinced that a) he's doing nothing wrong, b) there's nothing wrong with N., physically or otherwise, and c) usually if we wait another five minutes (whether one of us takes over for the other or not), things usually settle. I go through it every single day when I put him down for his nap; he'll cry pitifully (not the 'pain' cry), and within 5-10 minutes, he's out like a light.

So, tonight, N. fussed for a few minutes, and I could see the look of panic in Hubby's face, so I took N. and put him on my shoulder to rock for a few minutes. Within 5 minutes, he was asleep, and I successfully put him to bed *myself* for the first time in about 5 weeks (since this is usually Hubby's job). I think it was a good lesson for both of us, that we have to be flexible.

But I know once teething starts that it won't be as simple as 'wait another 10 minutes'. I'm trying to bank up sleep in the meantime ;-)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sleeping through the night (now with totally unrelated video!)

N. is starting to try to talk lately, and his favourite word is "hello". We're convinced he'll grow up thinking that's his name. Everytime we catch it on video, I think to myself, "I know all babies do this cooing thing, but I'll be damned if my kid ain't the cutest one!"

He's asleep in his swing again - it seems to be the preferred location for the morning nap. I tried putting him down in his crib yesterday morning, but he wasn't having any of it.

The whole sleep thing - it's really rather interesting. I'm not sure what to think of it. I barely remember the first few weeks, but I know that N. was waking up at least 3 times a night, and I do remember being exhausted. The poor little thing was starving, and kept on waking up hungry and getting little to no satisfaction. I may have mentioned it before, but once we started the whole pumped breastmilk/supplementation routine, he's been sleeping better and better.

I've been reading up on sleep patterns, and what's normal for this age, and comparing it to our friends and coworkers with new babies/grandbabies. The royal "They" says that at N.'s age (2.5 months), most babies are starting to sleep through the night, but that "sleeping through the night" really means 5 hours in a stretch. My overachieving son has been doing this for ages - probably nearly 6 or 7 weeks. He totally seems to get the day/night thing. He can be having the fussiest evening (and they do happen with him, happy baby or not), but once he settles in for his bedtime feeding (at anytime between 9:30 and 10:30PM) he's down for the count. I nurse him on both sides, Hubby gives him his supplement, and then lifts him to his shoulder to be burped. Usually by the fifth pat on his back, N. is sleeping. Hubby puts him in the crib, where he may fuss for a minute or two, and we don't hear from him again until at least 4:00AM, sometimes not until 5:30AM.

As for napping in the crib - "They" say that letting your baby nap in his chair or swing means he's not going to want to go to sleep in his crib at night. With N., it's the exact opposite. Would I like him to nap in his crib instead of the swing or bouncy chair? Sure. Is it causing a problem with his nighttime sleeping? No. If it ain't broke, I sure as hell ain't gonna try and fix it.

I'm thrilled with this, but I feel bad for everyone else whose babies need a little more attention. My cousin's wife V. had her baby girl, C., the week before N. was born, and she's having a tough go of it. Nursing isn't going well (not for V.'s lack of trying - she's really sticking with it, and I admire her tremendously), but they're supplementing and that part's going OK. C. just doesn't like to sleep - she's still waking up several times a night. One of the girls in our business office has a new grandson, who still wakes up 5 or 6 times, and one of my grad school classmates has a new son, E., who's two weeks older than N., and he still stays awake at all hours. I seem to be the only one who's settled into a routine so early on.

I'm convinced it won't last, and once teething begins I'll be a wreck. But for now, I'm getting 8 hours of sleep (in two ~4 hour blocks), and it makes me a happier mommy.

N. should be waking up any minute now, for his lunch, so I think I'll finish the dishes, and try and find a clean outfit for the day. Dishes are done; laundry isn't, and we're nearly out of everything ;-)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My happy boy

This is just one of the outfits my brother and sister-in-law got for N. The socks were purchased during their visit - a box of 6 different colors of argyles, my brother couldn't resist.

Monday, June 30, 2008

I can't believe he did it again.

No sooner had I sat down at Starbucks and gotten my latte, than my beautiful baby boy decided to register his discontent with corporate coffee culture, and did the same thing he did the last time we were there. My brother and sister-in-law were visiting and we were chatting, so Hubby offered to take care of it this time.

He was gone for almost 15 minutes, and I guess N. screamed bloody murder the whole time Hubby was changing him. Hub felt that he had to keep on saying sweet, reassuring things lest the other men who came in and out of the restroom thought he was strangling his own child ;-)

I was afraid our outing was finished, but a quick feeding and a burp, and N. was good to go for nearly two more hours! A successful day all around, if I do say so myself.

But we're never going to Starbucks again.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The story of poo

I realized very quickly after becoming a mom that dignity flies out the window, both for myself and for my child. Apologies to those who don't care about poo as much as we do, or for those with sensitive stomachs.

Baby N. is a happy child, and he's *ahem* a very productive child. We've taken to buying diapers in the box of 216, and we still go through them like kleenex during cold season.

Last weekend, though, an interesting few days began. We went on an outing to the university bookstore, so we could pick up a couple of things and have Starbucks, which I never get while housebound. N., who is usually the picture of peace in his stroller when we go out, decided to be fussy, so I took him up onto my lap while enjoying my decaf iced latte. As soon as he settled into a happy baby, there was an ominous rumble from his bum. Being the cool and collected urban mommy that I am, I decided to finish my latte before heading to the washrooms to change him, but that wasn't in the cards. He 'overflowed', shall we say, and I had to employ a bunch of tiny cafe napkins in order to clean my lap off enough to stand up and go to change him.

Hubby and I laughed ourselves silly, and headed home, where we proceeded to call N.'s uncles to tell them the embarrassing story. I figure N. was just protesting against corporate coffee trade, since he likely prefers organic, free trade. We were home for about an hour when there was a repeat performance, punishment for telling tales about my perfect little boy, and this time it was so bad (and so widespread) that N. required a bath and a shampoo.

I still thought it was hilarious, until the next few days passed, with no poo. Then a few more, and a few more. I was starting to get worried about my little champ, but since we had a peds appointment on Wednesday, I just kept hoping he wasn't in any danger; since he was still a very happy baby, I thought he couldn't be in any pain.

The pediatrician told us that he was probably fine, but the next thing to do would be to feed him prune juice to see if that would move things along (pun intended). I think the stuff is nasty, but I was willing to try anything because we were going on a whole week.

I woke up on Friday morning, and prepared a tiny bottle of diluted prune juice. He took a few drops and made the "new food" grimace, which was adorable. After that, he didn't want anything to do with it. I kept at him, and he took five good sips, and two seconds later, he shook the windows with an atomic poo that could be heard in the next county. I proceeded to laugh myself silly and call Hubby - "That stuff works like magic!", I said, knowing that it was just the funniest coincidence possible.

Now, I have almost two liters of prune juice, which I froze, that's likely to go to waste, but it was worth it :-)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Now I get it

There are so many things that I used to hear about, from my own parents, from friends with kids, even from strangers, that I couldn't fully understand until I had my own child. Now, all of those things make perfect sense.

Yesterday, N. was two months old, and of course with that milestone comes a pediatrician's visit complete with vaccinations. Oh, how I was dreading that visit.

We woke up yesterday at the usual time, and were in a pretty cheery mood (with the exception of the fact that my poor little man hadn't had a poo in about 4 days, but that's another story for another time). He had his breakfast at 8:30, and his lunch at 12:00, and we got ready to meet Hubby at the peds office for 2:30. I put N. in the Moby, since I still can't handle the megastroller on the stairs with him in my arms, and we set off.

Usually, N. falls asleep within 3 minutes of walking in the Moby, but of course this time he was looking around, not wanting to miss a thing. We got to the office, and went in to get weighed and measured by the nurse. He was really chatty with her, which was a good sign, and then he was still pretty chatty with us while we waited for the doctor to come in. He giggled and babbled through the whole exam, and seemed to be in a great mood. Then, we had to wait about 15 minutes for the nurse to come back with the shots, and those were the longest 15 minutes of my life.

She finally came in, and we determined that he wasn't getting just one needle, but three separate ones plus an oral vaccine that supposedly tastes horrible. The nurse gave him the oral one, which he sucked down like a trouper (she was surprised), and then we prepared for the torture.

I purposefully didn't look at the needles to see the gauge, so I have no idea how big they were, but I'm sure they were awful. I grabbed N.'s little hands and got into his face, and at first he was only a bit fussy. Then, the nurse jabbed the first one in, and he yelled. Thankfully, it wasn't the torturous shriek I was expecting; it was only slightly louder than his worst cry so far. Then came the next two shots in his other leg, and he didn't like those much either. I was desperately trying to keep the tears from leaving my eyes, though, because I know that he was hurting. I swept him up into my arms, and he settled fairly quickly; I then fed him before we left, and he slept the whole way home.

What I now understand is how it is that I can feel the pain of another human being. I'm a very empathetic person, and I hate to see my loved ones hurting physically or emotionally (like most people), but this connection to my child is so different than anything else I've ever known. My brain knows that he only felt the shots for a moment, and that they were for his own good, but I literally felt physical pain while I held his hands and kissed his cheeks, knowing that he was hurting. I would have taken the shots, had blood drawn, gone through anything, if it could have kept him from hurting for those short moments.

This is how he looked when we finally got around to heading to bed. The photo was actually taken 4 days earlier, but this is how he looks pretty much every night, after his bedtime snuggles with Daddy :-)

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen

Monday, June 23, 2008

My little man!

I'm trying this whole "blog this photo" feature from Flickr... interesting to see if it works.

This is my big boy, in his swing, happy as a clam. In fact, that's where he is right now - happily napping, waiting for our mid-afternoon snack.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I really should be sleeping

N. slept until 5:45AM (!), after having gone to bed at about 11:45PM (!!), and seems to be proving my morning suspicions - the brighter the sunshine, the less likely he is to go back to bed for a nap before the next feeding.

Knowing that he was unlikely to happily go to the crib, I offered Hubby a choice - take N. in and try the crib, knowing it might lead to some fussing, while I stay up and pump (blech), or leave N. awake with me in the living room so that he (Hub) could get a few hours of sleep; the condition was that if he left N. with me for some peaceful sleep that he'd be on the hook for extra baby duty during the day ;-)

(he chose to go to the crib, and N. is napping after a bit of fussing)

This leaves me wide awake in the living room, having done my pumping duties. Our futon is very comfy, and the room is air conditioned, so I could be having a nice, delicious nap too. Why am I awake, then?

Yesterday, I took more photos of N., who is getting more interactive and cheery by the day. I'm beginning to get the knack of catching his smiles on camera (although they're on the other laptop, so I'll post them later). He's also getting used to his swing again, which means I can do the dishes and cook dinner while "chatting" with him, and he's usually content for at least a half hour that way. Some of the pics from his "swing" time yesterday were particularly adorable, so I uploaded them to Flickr right away.

I then took a few seconds to look back through my iPhoto library of all the pictures of him since he was born, saw one of him in the swing at 2 weeks compared to now at 8 weeks, and I started to cry. I love my baby more than I ever thought possible, and I love that when he wakes up crying out of hunger, seeing my face makes him smile from ear to ear through those tears. But he's getting bigger by the minute, he's lost the newborn look, and he's becoming his own little person. I can't wait to hear his first real words, and to see him crawl and then walk, but I just want to hold onto each moment and I can't. It's such a paradox. I love him so much that it just kills me.

My perfect little man, I'm so blessed to have you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I have the best baby EVER

My child is a social creature. The nurses in the hospital said that from the time he was hours old. I love him for it, but I was starting to worry about it, figuring I'd be chained to a chair with a baby on my lap for the next 6 months or so. His favourite place to nap was the Boppy, after feeding. In the beginning, we desperately tried to get him to nap in his crib, but he would wail and wail until we brought him back into the livingroom with us (where he would promptly fall asleep on the changing pad).

However, we've had a breakthrough. It doesn't happen all the time, but it's progress. We were getting ready to go out in the Moby wrap on Friday to see Hubby at work, and I of course had to put N. down to get dressed and ready. I put him in the crib and turned on the mobile that my dad had bought for him, and prepared for the shrieking that never came. He entertained himself for 10 minutes, giggling and trying to talk at the animals twirling around his head.

And, as if that wasn't enough, he's also learned to keep busy in the playpen - later that afternoon he happily giggled to himself for 45 minutes. That doesn't even cover the fact that he loves his bouncy chair, and likes to hang out there while Hubby and I prepare dinner and do the dishes.

Don't get me wrong, he still has his moments, but it's encouraging. For instance, right now he's in the bouncy chair next to my desk, trying to figure out how to get his thumb in his mouth, while I blog and eat a sandwich.

Definitely the best baby ever :-)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Things only I can know

What it felt like when he first kicked in my womb, barely a flutter, early one morning when only I was awake.

How surreal it was to see him on the screen during the sonogram, and to feel him roll at the same time.

His weight on my chest, when he was hours old, and knowing he knew I was his mother.

His eyes looking up at me when he nurses contentedly, while his tiny hands gently pat my side at the same time, as if to say, I love you.

The small sleepy sounds he makes, when his tummy is full, as he falls asleep on my shoulder.

The giggles that let me know how happy he is to see my face.

The miracle and honour it is to be his mother.

Monday, June 9, 2008

We made it.


Part of the purpose of this blog is to document Baby N. for my own memories, along with keeping the world in the loop about how we're doing. I've wrestled with the idea of posting this, but since it's part of N.'s journey, I feel like it's important to put it down. That being said, all these events have come about after much thought and soul-searching by Hubby and me, and no choice was made lightly. We're at peace with our decisions. The last thing I need in my sleep deprived state is to be told I did the wrong thing, especially because we truly believe we did the right thing for our baby.

*steps down off soapbox*


The appointment that I'd alluded to in my last post didn't go so well. Baby N. still only put on a couple of ounces, much much less than he should have considering the time period and the ammount of supplementation he was getting. We got to see the chief of the pediatrics department who, I must say, I fell in love with. Hubby described it well - he was the most un-doctor-like doctor, in the best possible way. Part doctor, part baby whisperer, part young buddy-buddy type guy. We were hitting close to N.'s 6 week birthday, and he still hadn't re-gained his birthweight, so we all were worried. There was still the issue that I was suffering from a bit of a supply/demand problem, but with that you can never be sure. Assuming that he wasn't getting enough from breastfeeding, what we wanted to know was whether or not N. *could* put on an appropriate amount of weight if he was adequately calorically challenged. And, in the back of my mind, the little nagging voice was reminding me that my baby is building not only muscle and bone and tendon and cartilage right now, but he's building little neurons and connections and that requires enough food.

We'd been reluctant to add formula from the very beginning, because I really wanted to give breastfeeding enough of a chance to get started (which I think I did, and I *will* be continuing it exclusively until 6 months, and keeping it going after he starts solids). I also have to say that I never once felt pressured by our clinicians to switch, and they all are very quick to encourage me to *keep* nursing through whatever may happen. They're so supportive, I love each and every one of them (except for that one in the hospital who was so mean, but we won't talk about him anymore).

So, after discussing it with my new favourite doc, Dr. D (second only to my favourite nurse practitioner, CNP M.), we opted to supplement N. with 1 oz of formula per feeding, along with the pumped breastmilk. I would've supplemented with 2 oz of breastmilk, but I just physically couldn't pump often enough, or at high enough quantities, to have another extra oz per feeding. Hubby and I had been thinking about it for weeks, and agreed that at this point, the important thing is to get N. up to his birthweight and past (since he was about 4 weeks late in reaching that milestone), and that we would continue with the breastfeeding at each and every feeding. It's been challenging, both to keep him on a good feeding schedule and to find the time to pump enough to have that extra expressed milk to have at all feedings. And, it's not only finding time to pump, but I have to make sure to keep hydrated and eat extra well to up production. It's been a tough couple of weeks to say the least.

But, it's all worth it -

We're thrilled to say that N. has surpassed his birthweight!!!!! He's happy, healthy, and putting on weight at a good rate.

(plus, he sleeps better now that his poor little tummy-tum isn't empty all the time)

There's a part of me that feels guilty for those first four weeks - when I thought he was just being fussy, he was actually starving, poor little guy. The thing that kept me going (and still does) is that he's a very contented baby in between. My father came for a visit, with his car, so we went on big outings several days in a row, and N. slept contentedly the whole time (even when we weren't moving in the car, which he seems to love). He's interactive, he's trying to make noises to us, and he smiles and giggles all the freakin' time :-)

So, we'll see how things go at our two month visit... CNP M. gave us the go-ahead to back off the formula and see how he does, since it also seems like I'm producing much more milk now.

In other fun news, N. was baptized yesterday, and didn't say boo the whole time... It was a beautiful little ceremony, and we had both my Dad and Hubby's aunt and uncle there. I felt very emotional, especially after I saw one of the photos that Dad took - Hubby and N. and I - we're a little family!!! Pictures to come soon!

Friday, May 30, 2008

My baby has a supercharged metabolism.

That's the only explanation I can come up with. We were supplementing him every second feeding or so, and in the week he only put on the same 3.5oz. So, life is pretty boring for me: Feed, sleep, feed, pump, feed, sleep, feed, pump. He's getting a supplement with every single feeding, and we have another appointment on Monday to see if he's improving. The good thing is he's at least gaining, and no one is pressuring me to formula-supplement yet.

We have a gameplan for the fattening up... now we just have to tackle the sleeping... because it looks like my little prince is already getting spoiled, and he likes my lap much better than his crib. But that's a story for another day.

In the meantime, let's see if we can get some pictures up!

One day old, deep in thought.

Resting with Mommy - his favourite spot.

Sound asleep - this doesn't happen all the time

After our first tub bath, in a homemade hoodie towel from Grammie.

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Still behind the 8-ball

N. had his weight check appointment yesterday, and while he's doing OK, he's not where our clinician would like him to be.

In almost two weeks, he put on about 6 ounces. They tell me that they like to see babies put on about an ounce a day, which would've meant he needed to put on 13 oz in the time between visits.

He's feeding at least every 3 hours, and according to the lactation consultant we spent time with yesterday, he's got a really good latch. It seems like it's a supply issue from my end, which is disappointing.

(I know, I know, it's not my fault. But I feel like it is.)

So, we've got another appointment in a week, and we've re-rented the hospital-grade breastpump in order to supplement him again. I'm not sure where I'm going to find time to pump anything significant, since he usually takes nearly an hour to feed, and I need time to rest in between, but we'll figure it out. Hubby will be doing the supplementing via tube, and while it won't actually take the place of any feedings (which would potentially give me a few extra hours of uninterrupted sleep), it's still a big help. Between that and his enthusiastic participation in diaper duty, I hereby decree that he is the Best! Husband! EVER!

(Oh, and is anyone wondering why there are no pictures? Well, they're all on my computer, which isn't playing nicely with the internets lately, so I'm posting from Hubby's. I'll get on it, I promise.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oh, what a long night.

Just after I told my mother that N. had started to learn the difference between day and night.

Oh, so tired.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Please go easy on the exhausted new mom...

You'd think that this would be something people who work in maternity wards would know, wouldn't you? Unfortunately we got the short end of the stick on the second night we were in the hospital.

When N. was born, they took him to the NICU for about half an hour, just to make sure he was breathing OK. That's where they weighed him, and he was 9 lb, 11 oz, which is his official birth weight. Once we went up to the maternity floor, though, he was weighed on a different scale for the rest of our time in the hospital. Half an hour after he was 9 lb, 11 oz, they put him on the new scale and he was 9 lb, 7 oz. Now, no one should be silly enough to believe he lost 4 oz in half an hour. With me so far?

So, every night the babies are weighed to make sure they aren't losing too much weight (>10%), even though a small loss is normal for pretty much all newborns. The problem with N. was that they were calculating his weight loss based on the first birthweight of 9-11, rather than 9-7. So, the second night when they went up to weigh him, they calculated that he'd lost nearly 13% of his birthweight (when in actual fact it was right around 10%).

I understand that with small babies, and sick babies, weight loss can signal severe dehydration and lots of other problems. N. was neither small nor sick, though, and wasn't showing any signs of anything. The nurse that was on duty that night, though, only saw that one number, 13%, and came into the room at half past midnight with a doomsday attitude. She felt he wasn't getting anything from the breastfeeding, and that we had to make a decision then and there. I was exhausted, Hubby was exhausted, and she was insistent that we start formula feeding him; she made me feel like my baby was in grave danger, and I panicked. I still wouldn't allow them to bring bottles in, though, so we tube-fed him 15mL. I spent the rest of the night lying awake, feeling like a failure.

The next morning, though, the pediatrician came in, and said that N. was doing just fine for the time being. His suggestion was to pump more breastmilk, and feed that mixed with breastmilk via tube, if N. continued to lose weight, and then reassess, although he didn't seem to understand the discrepancies with the scales, and that N. hadn't actually lost more than 10%. No one seemed to listen to us on that one.

I managed to arrange to meet with the lactation consultant that day, and she was amazing. She realized that there was a weight discrepancy, did the calculations herself, and reassured us that we were doing just fine. She did encourage me to pump and supplement that way, but didn't feel that adding formula was necessary. She spent most of the afternoon with us, and then came back Tuesday morning, and spent the day helping us before we were released from the hospital.

Unfortunately, the day we were released, we had a different pediatrician come in to do the assessment, and he was horrible. He felt that I was being foolish not switching to formula right away, and he made me feel about as smart as a four-year-old child. I nearly started crying, but he was so obnoxious that I wouldn't give him the satisfaction. I had been reassured by the lactation consultant that things would be fine if I continued to breastfeed on demand, and I had set up appointments to get N. weighed with our usual pediatricians several times within the first week. We've had three appointments so far, and N. continues to put on weight. He was nearly back up to his birthweight on May 8th, and we're going in again tomorrow.

Now, one thing I've learned (and learned very quickly) is that there's really no point in being absolutely hard-lined about anything when it comes to raising a baby. I know now that I have to be flexible about everything, both for N.'s health and my own sanity. I didn't pitch a fit when I had to supplement with tube-fed breastmilk, and I didn't pitch a fit when one of the nurses gave us a hospital pacifier. I understand that for some people, co-sleeping works, and for others, cribs and bassinets work. Some moms wear their babies all day long, some have swings and bouncy chairs. I'm open-minded as much as I can be, and I try to listen to what the professionals tell me (provided they deliver their message in a professional manner, and respect me as a parent and an adult, and as a scientist who may invest herself a bit more into the research and information).

Let's just hope tomorrow's appointment is a good one :-)