Sunday, April 27, 2008

Doing my best

It's much harder for me to blog these days, for several reasons. First, my arms are almost always filled with Bean. The best I can usually arrange is one free arm, meaning it would take me about two days for a short hunt-and-peck-with-one-hand post. Second, seeing as I'm home a lot these days with a baby who doesn't even know he has hands yet, there's not too much to write about. Do you really want to hear that we bought Huggies instead of Pampers because we had a coupon, but we are switching back to Pampers when they are gone because we like them much better? I doubt it. Finally, my ability to form sentences has been severely hampered by motherhood. I have fortunately regained the memory and focus that pregnancy stole, but I traded those for linguistic handicaps. You'll hear a lot of this around our house: "Honey, would you mind handing me a... ummm... a... one of those prongy things that you use to eat with?" Followed by DH laughing while he hands me a fork. Nevertheless, I will attempt to post tonight, and I'll gratuitously throw in some Bean pics at the end to make it worth your while to hang in there with me.

Last Sunday we had the first non-family visitor since Bean was born. DH invited over a coworker and his dog, Joey, to watch the Wings game. We invited his wife as well, but she decided to stayed home. The coworker said that he wants a baby now, but his wife isn't ready. (Smart girl, take your time. This is serious business!) The coworker enjoyed holding Bean and offered to babysit next time we want to go out. DH enthusiastically agreed, but then warned him that it would work against his effort to convince his wife it's baby time. DOH! We were so close... thanks DH. *sigh* Anyway, Evey and Joey had a great time playing together during the hockey game. She shared all her toys and was very sad when he left. This is her looking out the window after them, hoping they'd come back:

But she was soon back to jumping and barking at us to play with her:

My first 25 pounds of baby weight came off super fast. I was psyched and feeling great! But then I hit a serious plateau, and especially with summer around the corner, I'm no longer a happy camper. In an effort to lose a few quick pounds, I got my hair chopped off at a fancy salon at the mall. It's super short now, and I love how much easier it is to wash, dry, and style. (Considering I only get about 90 seconds cumulative per week to accomplish all three.) I left behind two pounds of hair on the salon floor under my chair. Unfortunately, I gained it right back several hours later when I ate the entire box of Godiva chocolate that DH and Bean bought for me while I was getting my hair cut. Damn.

I only have one week of maternity leave left. Boo hoo. Hooray! Boo hoo. Hooray! That about sums it up. Sometimes it breaks my heart to think of Bean in group care. (We tried to arrange a situation with DH's coworker's 20-year-old daughter to be at the house with Bean while I'm working in the den, but it didn't pan out.) Even though he'll be at one of the best day cares we could find in the area, I think he's just too young and tiny to have to miss his mommy. But then, when Bean is screaming and he won't let me put him down and I haven't brushed my teeth in three days, I long for the few hours a week I'll have when I am once again "Professional C" instead of "Mommy C." With no friends or family nearby to help out, it's been quite stressful for me being home alone with the little guy while DH works long hours. We'll see how this part-time schedule goes... if I suffer panic attacks without Beanster around, then I'll trade in my business cards for a housecoat. I can always cancel my beloved Netflix or push Avon products on my friends and family. Consider yourself warned.

The house hunt has been sputtering along and stalled out this weekend. We didn't make an offer on the ginormous but hideous house I mentioned a couple of posts ago, partly due to our realtor being MIA for a week. But it ended up selling in auction for way more than we would have paid anyway. While our realtor is a very nice person, we are dissatisfied with her levels of responsiveness and professionalism. We aren't under contract with her, so we may have to shop around for a different one. In the meantime, we are trying to enjoy the few perks of renting, like not cutting the lawn and still being able to face the neighbors. Howdy, folks. If you had a Neighborhood Watch program, maybe I'd still have my GPS!

I took Bean to the pediatrician, and she suspects that the poor guy has reflux. We started him on baby prevacid, and we can't exactly tell if it's helping. Sometimes he fussy for hours, dealing with painful reflux or gas or something. Hopefully he'll grow out of whatever it is! As far as sleeping goes, I'm still not doing much of it. Part of that is his unpredictable nighttime waking schedule. Last night he slept for nearly 5 hours, then another 3 after eating. Awesome! But the night before he wanted to eat every 1.5 - 2 hours! Could be a growth spurt, not sure. During the day, he won't sleep for more than 5 minutes unless he's cradled in my arms. It's incredibly sweet to cuddle with him, but after I've watched my Netflix movie and 20 home decorating shows, it gets a bit tiring. In order to address both the fussiness and the sleeplessness, we've purchased an Amby Baby hammock. They are obscenely expensive, so I found one on craigslist for about half the price. DH picked it up tonight, so after we wash it, we'll see if it lives up to it's promises. Wish us luck -- and vote in the poll on when you think I will finally get to sleep through the night. Please, a ray of hope...

And as promised, the gratuitous Bean pictures. Although we have our challenges, it's been so much fun watching him grow. He holds his head up pretty well now and smiles a lot at mommy and daddy. (Not at the dog yet, but hopefully soon.) Photo shoots are always enjoyable:

Gotta cover his little head when we go outside:

My little family resting on the couch:

And last but not least, one of DH's favorites:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Let's start with the ugly.

Marsha was kidnapped.

Right out of my car, in my own driveway, during broad daylight, with me and Bean and Evey unaware inside the house. The jerkface broke my driver's side window and snatched my beloved Marsha the GPS navigation system from the dash, taking my sense of security right out with him. DH pointed out the irony: we have lived in Detroit and St. Louis, the two highest crime cities in the U.S., and this happens in safe Seattle. The 'burbs are the 'burbs no matter where you live, I suppose. Anyway, DH discovered the deed when he came home from work on Monday and saw my window smashed. We promptly called the police department, who took our statement over the phone. They asked DH if he wanted to press charges, apparently in case the bad guy walks into the police station and turns himself in, because they are not even pretending to attempt to find him. Now DH and I have to struggle to coordinate getting the window fixed at one place, tinted at another, and getting a new GPS while working and caring for a baby. Not to mention we have to pay our deductible during a completely unpaid maternity leave! Adding insult to injury is the fact that Marsha's abductor did not take any of my CDs. My taste in music not good enough for you, tough guy?
Now the bad. My sweet little Bean might have reflux. We are taking him to the pediatrician on Friday to get him checked out. Last night around 10 pm, the poor baby was having so much gastrointestinal pain! DH and I were terrified as he gurgled and choked and spit up and cried, it was the first time we could truly understand the horror that parents feel when their child is suffering. Welcome to parenthood! After about an hour, he was snoozing soundly again like a little angel. And this morning, I woke up to this face:
I admire his resiliency. I wonder where he got it from.

Now let's leave all that and get on to the good. We had a wonderful time with DH's parents in town. Not only were they super helpful taking care of Bean, but my father-in-law made it his mission to make sure I got out of the house. We took the baby out to a restaurant for the first time (Cheesecake Factory, mmmmmm), toured the scenic Pacific Northwest, spent an afternoon walking along Alki Beach (gorgeous view of the city across Puget Sound!), and looked at houses with the realtor. And best of all, I didn't so much as boil water the whole time. Awwwww yeah.
Our house hunt started off pretty interesting. We are finding that in our price range, the houses are either in a nice area but ugly/trashed inside, or they are in a strange/undesirable location (one was in an elementary school) but move-in ready. One house in particular has caught our attention. We absolutely love the neighborhood, it's very family-friendly and safe for GPS systems, and the house is huge. But the inside is strangely reminiscent of the first house we bought: fabulous "bones" but ugly as sin. Remember the offensive green carpeting that came in our old house, even insulting you in the bathroom? I kid you not, this house has it too. We are torn between being wary (didn't we already fix up this place? and now we have an infant!) and being eager to once again slip into a house that we otherwise couldn't afford. Join us next week for an all new House Hunters, followed by Flip this House!
I spoke with our day care center on Monday, and it looks like they'll be able to accommodate my schedule. Starting May 5th, I'll be working from home three days a week (M, W, F). I'm pretty ambivalent about returning to the job. Nothing like a little "can a woman have it all" angst! Part of me is heartbroken to leave Bean with someone else. Will they rock him to sleep as he likes? But the other part of me can't want to have my hands free, myself free, for 24 hours a week. I'm dying to know if I still exist under all this spit-up. I'm hoping the part-time schedule will accommodate both mommy and individual, making me the first woman in the history of the world to yes, actually have it all. Right.
Other than the possibility of reflux, Bean is doing really well. The breastfeeding has been going much better lately. Our next task is to wean from the shield we've been using, and then we will be pros! We've even did our first NIP (nursing in public) at Alki Beach. This was my view:

(No, I will not show you Bean's view. Let's keep it clean, huh?) My little smarty boy has also figured out the difference between night and day. Hooray! We are still up to nurse several times, but at least he goes back to sleep instead of staring at me with those wide eyes: "How are you going to entertain me now so I don't scream?" A tired momma's nightmare. We are learning each other slowly but surely, this Bean and I. I'm still coming to terms with the fact that my to-do list is a huge joke (my public apology to anyone who has emailed me in the past month, I'm sorely overdue to reply). And he's coming to terms with the fact that I get to choose what we watch during the day, at least until he can gesture preferences. In my defense, I thought the movie "Enchanted" was satisfying entertainment for all audiences. Loving the Netflix!

Now I'll end with the adorable. Here are some more pictures from my in-laws' visit. Is it just me, or is Bean getting cuter every day?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Why I'm happy

Last night, Bean celebrated his one month birthday by partying well into the wee hours of the morning. (And by "partying," I mean constant eating and pooping from about 1 am to 4 am. He was nice enough to include me and DH in all the festivities.) But as an overall trend, we are having more good days and nights with the little guy than we were before. Two nights in a row, he woke up only briefly for a meal then went right back to sleep. And the breastfeeding is going better (not well, but better). We are participating in a mommy/baby class at the birthing center, which is fun, and we have gotten in a lot of quality cuddle time. It's amazing how much my mood is tied to what sort of day Bean is having; all the sunshine in the world can't brighten a day with whiny Bean, but the rain is beautiful and refreshing if I'm hanging out with content Bean. Despite a tough night last night, I'm still having a great weekend. Here's what's been going on.

Free Movies. We decided to sign up for Netflix last week. I don't know why we didn't join sooner! What an amazing concept. Movies we like show up in our mailbox out of nowhere, we watch them, and we send them back... all for free! (Okay, not technically free. But $9 a month on the credit card is minimal and far removed from the actual process of picking and watching the movies, so I consider it free.) Our first one came on Friday: A Bee Movie. It was about as good as I expected -- and I didn't expect much -- but as I told DH, I was more excited to mail it back and have another one magically appear a few days later than I was to actually watch the movie. And since it's all free (not really), I'm taking the opportunity to pick random DVDs that I always wanted to watch but never wanted to pay for. Like the Twin Peaks television series. Did you know it was filmed just outside of Seattle? Perfect entertainment for when I'm glued to the glider-rocker with my hungry little muncher. And even though it's not costing me a dime (not true), Netflix is taking the time to learn what movies I like and don't like, and it makes suggestions appropriately. How thoughtful! Now that my world revolves around what Bean needs, it's nice to have someone else taking a genuine interest in me. I can't wait to find out what I chose to show up next!

I Wear my Baby. One of Bean's most endearing, exhausting qualities is that he always wants to be held. I can't blame him, I like being near the kitchen myself (never know when you'll need a snack). But it's really difficult to do anything with arms full of Bean all day. Even when he's sleeping, putting him in his crib is like dumping a bucket of cold water on his head. So I purchased a Moby wrap, on the advice of my good friend Brooke Shields. LOVE IT! There are a bunch of ways we can wrap it that allow Bean to snuggle up while leaving my hands free for exciting things like, oh I don't know, getting a drink of water. I wrapped him up (see below) and was actually able to eat a hot dinner on Friday night! Other than the piece of avocado that fell on his head, it worked perfectly.

The In-Laws. I am one of those lucky women who has awesome in-laws. (And they don't read this blog, so I don't have to say that. But if someone runs into them, please mention that I did.) My mother-in-law, who churned out homemade dinner after homemade dinner for a family of six, has never criticized my lack of kitchen savvy, nor has she given me any God-awful decorations for the house, like this...

... and then asked where it was when she visited. (Apparently that's what an obnoxious mother-in-law would do. Or so I've learned from sitcoms.) Anyway, my in-laws are coming into town this week to meet their first grandchild. DH will be taking off work and can't wait for the emotional introduction. Personally, I can't wait for the aforementioned homemade meals that his mom will be cooking, and pawning Bean off on some new willing victims. But you can leave that part out when you talk to them.

House Hunters. Someone call Suzanne Whang, DH and I are now actively searching for our next home. We've spent the last five months desensitizing ourselves to the outrageous housing prices out here, and we are finally ready to dive in. Bean will be the only one of us who will be eating (the Breastaurant is always free), but at least we'll be homeowners again. Although it will be a pain the butt to move without any help, we are so excited about the possibility of our very own mountain view. I've been watching hours upon hours of decorating shows in preparation for the new place. Being surrounded by the neutral surfaces of our rental home has been slowly eroding my will to live. And it's about time that Bean had a proper nursery, even though all he does in there at the moment is pee on the walls. Yep, just happened again a minute ago.

Baby Love. Last but not least, my sweet little man makes me one happy momma. I try each day to appreciate him, as I know he won't be this small for much longer. Some days I'm more successful than others, depending on how much sleep I've gotten in the past 24 hours, but I am usually amazed and enamored with my son. He has the cutest smile. He laughs in his sleep. He loves the Boppy pillow. His arms and legs flail around uncontrollably. He wears itty bitty jeans. His hair sticks straight up in the back. He loves cuddling with mommy and daddy. His diapers have Cookie Monster on them. He's got strong lungs (waaaah!). He can't hold his head up. He hiccups all the time. He constantly needs his nails clipped. He makes little baby coos and gurgles. He ignores the dog. He loves looking at the light. He has adorable clothes. His face turns red when he's pooping. He looks like DH. He makes soft snoring noises when he sleeps. He pulls his own hair and cries about it. He has an adorable little mouth with a tiny tongue inside. And he doesn't mind that momma takes a million pictures of him a day.