Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Final days

I had a revelation a couple days ago. I went back through all the pictures of Liam at this age, and discovered that there is no way Thea has my eyes. I don't know why that's such a big deal to me - I thought if they were Matt's eyes, or anyone else for that matter, her eyes would be big and round, but they are sorta almond-shaped, just not my kind. Liam literally looked like he was Asian.
Thea has been hot and cold the past few days, giving me some of the best and worst days yet. She has, I think, scared the dickens out of Matt's sister or at least her husband when she hollered her head off for at least an hour at dinner the other night. Then, yesterday, we got to hang out in leisure for most of the day as she slept.

The other awesome thing that happened yesterday was in the afternoon. Liam brought Thea the buzzy bee toy while she was on the couch, and she laughed at it. It was, I believe, the first time they "played" together. I loved it so much. She adores him soooo much. Even when she's turning sour, he can get a smile out of her. Very cool.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Marathon nursing

I remember thinking when Liam was little that this nursing business was out of control - I couldn't be gone for more than two hours without a problem. Now I would give my right eye for two hours. Thea and I have reached an understanding. I nurse her virtually constantly when she is awake, and she doesn't holler her head off during that time. Perhaps the stork misplaced her and she belongs as the child of one of those progressive societies where the kids get to ride around in a sling with constant access to the boob (by the way, those societies have a lot less reports of colic than we do.) Whatever the reason, I can tell you that it has tested both my patience and certain parts of the anatomy. But, it is heaps better than listening to her holler.
Today, during our cooing exercises, she hit a note that I KNOW Liam never even thought of trying - it's that note that opera singers can hit, but really shouldn't, during a tense scene. Glass-shattering comes to mind. Yet another difference in the unfolding world of raising a daughter.

I can honestly say I am ready to be done with life somewhat on the road, no matter how nice it is outside. Liam is bouncing off the walls and even seems bored at the beach. He craves his friends and his routine, and as a result, so do I. Matt doesn't seem to agree - his three-hour surfing sessions each morning are sitting pretty well, I guess. As for me, I don't have a clue what the next couple months are going to look like, but I'd rather face that uncertainty at home than far from friends and family.

Monday, February 18, 2008

shades of grey

It’s true that things are changing now that the six-week deadline has passed, but sadly, as many of you predicted, it is not the black-and-white metamorphosis I had hoped for. On the other hand, grey is not bad, either. The smiley periods are getting longer, the bouts of crying shorter, and we’ve been sleeping fairly well through the night with only a couple feedings.
But the poor girl is still plagued by belly troubles, despite what I predict will be a very positive outlook on things. Last night, for example, she was sooo tired, and kept falling asleep only to wake 10 minutes later wailing and wiggling in what I can only assume is discomfort. As frustrating as it was for me, it had to have been twice as frustrating for her.
This morning was a similar funk, and it made me renew my pledge to hold off dairy products for a week and see how that works. There has been quite a lot of ice cream and yogurt consumed lately, and it wouldn’t hurt me any to stay off the former for a bit.
I did have a glorious morning yesterday, though. Matt and his sister along with Liam went shopping for a stroller and left Thea and I to our own devices. After nursing her to the brim, I stuffed her in the Snuggli, which hasn’t been well received lately. But it never hurts to try again and again with babies since you never know what color the sky is in their world today. And sure enough, she went for it, fell asleep, and I took an hour-long walk on the beach, stopped for a frozen chai along the way, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Then, after a little awake time, she conked out again and I got to take a long nap with her that just about made up for the ½ hour period at 2 a.m. the night before when Thea thought it was time to party.
She is getting so much stronger these days and loves standing up, just like her brother did. I think she’s a bit behind him with strength and she still looks down a lot, but it is changing daily and I bet by the end of this week she will be able to hold her head up when she wants to. She’s also grabbing things more these days, but again, I’m sure Liam was reaching for toys earlier than this. I distinctly remember at about six weeks putting him on one of those activity mats for the first time and he reached out immediately and started grabbing things. I felt so guilty because I hadn’t done it earlier, and he must have been somewhat bored. Oh well. Thea, however, seems much more interested in face time than any silly toy.
We’ve got 10 days left in paradise now, and I’m determined to take advantage of them as best I can. I went for a walk this morning, and I’ve got six little bags of breast-milk freedom in the fridge, so that should be good for something.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

love bug

Thea's valentine present to both Matt and I is that she let him put her to sleep twice today. Once, I ditched her and she had little choice - Liam and I went to the beach for an hour and a half and she and Matt went several rounds of purple face before she finally crashed. The second time, I guess I ditched her again, but this time, I had to take a shower. I was shocked to hear the crying stop and even more shocked to see her totally asleep when I came out, cuddled next to her dad. Awesome.

Yesterday, however, was not so smooth. She nursed on and off all day, howled in between nursing and had two periods of calm that lasted about 9.2 minutes. I should really start keeping track, because no one would believe me otherwise, but it's not an exageration. I wonder if any studies have been done about the impacts of such colicy behavior later in life. While other babies are busy finding their toes, colicy kids are striving for that perfect pitch that sends everyone in a 2-mile radius into panic mode. Last night, after flipping out for several hours, we finally decided to try a bath to mellow her out. HAH. Have you ever held your screaming infant while she turned your bath into a jacuzzi with her churing legs while taking full advantage of the bathroom acoustics to rattle every brain cell in your head. Not at all relaxing.
On the plus side, she has had a couple nights of mellow - waking only at about midnight and 5 a.m.
And anyway, tomorrow she turns six weeks.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ups and downs

Our friends Dan, Amanda and their baby Gracie left yesterday night back to Alaska, and I must say, we are all sad to see them go. It was a nice mix to have a bunch of folks floating around, and Gracie was such a cheerful little girl, it was hard not to smile when you saw her.
Liam might be the only one who was a little glad at the extra space. He had been sleeping in our closet and had to police all his pirate toys pretty heavily to keep Gracie from ingesting a Playland spear or musket. Even so, he asked where they were when we got home last night, and this morning, too, and said he was sad they were gone. Pretty successful for the first foray into sharing a condo — I think we will definitely pitch it to friends next year, too.

As for Thea, she continues to have good days and bad days. A couple days ago, she spent most of the day either cooing or sleeping, with only one bout of screaming at the end of the day. But yesterday, she woke up in a funk, and essentially nursed every 15 minutes for the whole day, rarely slept, and howled whenever her favorite human pacifier wasn’t in close proximity. By the end of it, I finally gave up on a late family dinner and pulled the plug before the food was served, which I’m sure wasn’t well received, but all of us were exhausted and needed beds, soft lights and chocolate. OK, Thea didn’t need the chocolate, but once again, what’s good for Momma is good for her.
Today, I ventured to the library, a four-block walk from our condo. Thea hollered the whole way, dispelling my theory that the stroller mellowed her out. There was a six-month-old baby at the library, happily buzzing around looking at books while Thea insisted on nursing and spitting up all over me pretty much continuously. By the time we got back, I was done – all I want to do is stare at the wall and mumble to myself. She’s only got two days left until she’s six weeks. Hope she realizes her howling days are numbered. Please, please, please.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

poop post

OK, I promise not too many of the poop posts - but this one has to be told. Yesterday at breakfast, Thea let er rip with such force we were all impressed, but none more impressed than me when I felt a damp sensation and realized the daiper hadn't quite done it's job. At all. Yeesh.
Our friends Dan and Amanda and their little 8-month-old baby Gracie are staying with us. I think Gracie has given Matt some hope that the future will be a bit less howlie. Thea hasn't let go of her howling yet, but I'm hoping it will happen soon. I've taken to heading for the bedroom when she gets grouchy and just trying to get her to sleep. It works often enough to make it worthwhile.
We've got a bit of a routine going with early morning trips to the beach and afternoon naps. Matt's got some good suring in, and I've got a couple good walks in, too.
I'm anxiously awaiting the 6-week-mark in hopes that Thea turns the corner on the belly blues. That gives me five days left, right??? After that, she's not allowed to turn purple any more. I'm putting my foot down. Rigggght.

Monday, February 4, 2008

WalMart Wailing

So this morning I put on one of Thea's 0-3 month onsies and could hardly get it buttoned. Either she grew in the night or the airplane shrank all her clothes. I'm guessing it's the former, which is unfortunate, since I only packed 0-3 month clothes. So, today Thea and I braved the dangerous combination of newborns and consumerism and headed to the stores of Kahalui to pick up 3-6 month onsies, some necessities (underwear) and luxuries (books, books and more books). Despite flash flood warnings and a road construction detour that took me miles out of my way, we were both happily trundling along for the first few hours. I went to the second hand store and scored some toys for Liam, a wonderful Chinese jacket for his dress-up box, and two skirts for me that would have cost a zillion dollars new for less than the price of a gallon of milk here on the island.
Then, I ventured into a sporting goods store to look for a body suit for Thea that was made with spf 50 material. No luck - there was one, but it was big and had only a zipper down the front. I'm pretty sure that she would get more sun exposure from the amount of time it would take me to get her in and out of it for each diaper change than she would avoid by wearing it.
I got a phone call in the middle of it all from a Homer friend who said the magic words I long to hear: that her baby was a screamer for the first six weeks but it settled down and now she's not at all like that. It's funny, these women never mention that their kid is making them crazy until you confide your own insanity and then the truth comes out. Are we all implanted with a stiff upper lip during delivery? Nevermind - it is so incredibly good to hear that others have weathered this experience and come out the other side with hearing somewhat functioning and a minimal number of nervous ticks. And she offered up the solution to the label issue Matt and I have gone rounds over: does she or does she not have collic. The book defines collic as three hours of crying three days a week. Thea goes for more like 30 minutes most of the time, though she can do more if she thinks she's hungry. My friend said the didn't say their baby HAD collic, but rather "was collicy." That'll work.
So, I bypassed Old Navy and went straight for WalMart for the remainder of my list: but shortly after selecting underwear (why do they have to make the sizing so complicated???) for Liam and I, there was a peep from the car seat. The peep squaked, the squak wailed, and before I knew it, I was THAT MOTHER. You know, the one you shake your head at when you are walking through the store and wonder if a. their parenting skills are woefully deficient, b. they are deaf or c. their child is posessed. I continued dogggedly through the store, searching for deoderant and a few other things, quietly repeating to myself that I will likely never see any of the head-swivlers as long as I live, and my daughter is just fine, and I'm not leaving until I finish shopping. But then the blasted people started approaching me and offering advice. "Is she hungry?" Gee, I never thought of that. "Oh, she needs to nurse." Is THAT why I have these big splotches on my shirt?? "How old is she? A month? Oh, she's just not ready to be out and about yet." I couldn't even think of an imaginary comeback for that one.
Meanwhile, Thea is pulling out all the stops, enjoying the limelight by turning a pleasant shade of purple even under the florescent lights.
So, I get most of my shopping done, and get in line, but you know the lines at WalMart. They are crazy. So now, these "helpful" folks have me trapped. Luckily, Thea must have realized she was calling more attention to herself than need be, because she finally stopped spitting the pacifier back at me like a boomerang and calmed down a notch. I got out to the parking lot in one piece, nursed her in the car, burped her, and even changed her diaper on my lap without too much messiness. She went back to sleep, I went to the book store and even got a coffee and sat in Starbucks for a 1/2 hour before heading home. Was feeling pretty confident about it all - supermom and all - until I surveyed my purchases at the end of the day. I did pretty well, but somehow in the middle of it all, I grabbed a deoderant that intentionally smells like Chai. A good drink, for sure, but under your armpits??? I'm not so sure.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

On shores of Maui

We made it. Two days’ travel, zillions of miles, and enough breastfeeding to make a lactation consultant cringe, and we landed on the sandy shores of Maui.
So what is it like traveling with a 1-month-old infant? Sort of like holding a grenade for 8 hours, hoping that you can provide the right combo to keep it from exploding into a fit of crying at the wrong moment. But I pretty much did it. She only had a couple freak-outs, and they were short-lived by Thea standards. The drive up to Anchorage was amazingly mellow – five hours in a car and we only stopped twice to feed and change her, and then she conked right out again.
Perhaps her grumpiest moment came when we landed in Maui and loaded up in Aunt Jennifer’s car. Sadly, Thea screamed her head off for a good 15 minutes before I inserted a finger in her mouth and she mellowed out. Jennifer is pregnant at the moment, and I can’t help but wonder what she thought of it all. Thea is certainly not a poster-child for reproduction.
Yesterday was a day of adjustment for all of us, and today as well, as we try to navigate how to leave the house with a child who cannot yet wear sunscreen and occasionally despises her Baby Bjorn. I am getting ear plugs, and I don’t care what kind of looks I get about it. Having a screaming child that close to you for more than 5 minutes is absolutely not good for your long-term hearing.
But, on the up side WE ARE IN FREAKIN’ MAUI. And every time there is a nap or a mellow moment, it is truly paradise. And Liam is having soooo much fun on the beach, digging for treasure and dancing around. Each year brings a new experience.