Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Last week in pictures...

Bathtime Fun:

At the Santa Monica Farmer's Market:

Entranced by (or slightly afraid of?) the moving monkey on his bouncer:

Cheering as he squeezes into his last "newborn" outfit (Daddy's favorite) for a photo op:

"Wow, look at all of my friends..."

"...I must be really popular."

Daddy is so comfortable...

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear:

Mommy's little sweet pea:

Some Kind of Wonderful

There are a couple of reasons why today is a wonderful day, even though it began with my son projectile spitting-up all over me (which he rarely does - but truth be told, I'd stuffed the poor boy with about a gallon of breastmilk...oops).

It is a wonderful day because last night was the best period of sleep that I have received since Carter came home from the hospital. For the past several weeks, he has been on an aggravating and exhausting schedule, sleeping for a long stretch in the early evening from about 6-11, then waking briefly to eat, then sleeping again from 11:15-2, and then waking every couple of hours thereafter, only eating for about two minutes each time. Grhagggghghghghgh!!!!! I discussed this with my mommy group at the Pumpstation and the moderator told me that this pattern is fairly standard for his age and will pass.

Last night, however, was magical - I fed him at 10:30 or so - a good long feed, about ten minutes on each side, instead of the paltry four minute feeds that he's been doing recently. He went to sleep at 11 and I conked out immediately thereafter, instead of staying up for another hour watching crappy TV like I usually do.

Ladies and gentlemen, the boy slept until 2:45am - that would be a whopping three hours and forty-five minutes - then awoke to do another nice long feed and have a diaper change, and then (drumroll...) slept until 7:15am! Another four hour stretch! All told, I got almost EIGHT hours of sleep, albeit not consecutively, but hey, beggars can't be choosers, people. I awoke refreshed and rejuvenated, and am fairly certain that I am actually a better mother today since I'm not utterly sleep deprived. Carter, however, has spent most of the day sleeping, which does not necessarily bode well for the evening we have in store for us (sigh).

More importantly, today is also a wonderful day because it is our two-year wedding anniversary. Two YEARS already?!? Where did the time go? Didn't I just walk down the aisle yesterday? Wasn't it just a moment ago that I was taping my nipples down to slip into my wedding dress (if you were there and saw the dress, you understand the need)? Weren't we just in New England celebrating our first anniversary, drinking wine and beginning to think about making babies? Carter was just a twinkle in daddy's eye - now suddenly we're two years in and parents.

And every day I love him more than I could ever have imagined.

Happy Anniversary, LOML. We love you so much.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

No Swine Flu for Yours Truly

Well, I finally figured out that there's a "Blog I'm Following" feature on Blogspot, where I can enter my favorite blogs and be notified on my "Blogger Dashboard" when they write something new. Yeah, it only took me a year and a half to figure this out. Good lord.

As I write this, my little boy is fast asleep in his swing - hallelujah! He's had a big day - we left the house bright and early this morning to drive to Venice and stand in line to get our H1N1 vaccines. LA County is having free clinics for 1) people without insurance and 2) people in the high-priority groups. As parents of an under-6-month-old, we qualify for one of these criteria, so GIMME my shot, people!

We arrived promptly at nine, only to discover a line wrapping around the block. We was waiting patiently when an organizer came walking down with a loudspeaker, telling pregnant women to come to the front of the line for the thimerosol-free version of the vaccine. I popped up and asked her if breastfeeding allowed me to quality for the mercury-free shot, as my pediatrician had told me to get it in that formulation.

She looked at me and must have taken pity as I stood there in the chilly ocean morning air, shivering in my short-sleeves (hey, it's hot in West Hollywood) and jiggling my sleeping infant in my arms. "Come with me" she said, and the next thing I knew my husband and I were escorted to the front of the line, where we waited while she asked the resident doctors if breastfeeding entitled me to the preservative-free shot. Turns out that it didn't, as they only had limited quantities specifically for pregnant women, and evidently the CDC has publicly declared that thimerosol does not enter breastmilk, so there is no risk with the regular shot. No matter - we were already at the front of the line, and got in and out in no time. I rationalized that there is no guarantee that I would have been able to find the preservative-free version anywhere else, so I suppose this will have to be one time that I choose to trust my government agencies, solely for my own peace of mind. We are flying up north in two weeks to visit my parents, so we felt it was important that we be vaccinated before the trip.

I will leave you with a few new pictures, all taken within the past couple of weeks. I hereby vow to be more punctual at posting new shots:

Carter looking startlingly like his Grandpa:

Discovering grass in Grandma's backyard...

...and looking unimpressed. Perhaps he's really a city boy at heart, like his father.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Among the many things I hadn't anticipated about motherhood is the guilt. Every day I am plagued with it. Each time I want to take a few extra minutes in the shower to (gasp!) shave my legs, it's there. When I take two minutes to throw some make-up on my haggard face, it's there. If I use five minutes to jot down a blog or write a quick email, it's there - the nagging voice in the back of my head, the waggling finger tsk-tsk-ing me into a shameful panic. Am I talking to him enough? Am I stimulating his brain sufficiently? Should we play more developmental games? Am I taking him out in public enough/too much?

With the brief exception of bathroom breaks and the occasional shower, I am with Carter every moment of the day. On the rare occasions that he naps for more than ten minutes at a time, I find myself racing around the apartment, using the fleeting opportunity to wash the dirty dishes in the sink, toss in a load of laundry, take out the trash, etc. When he is awake, I am either holding him or playing with him - singing, talking, feeding, having tummy time. I try to make every moment of the day count, to pack in as much love, affection and attention as I can, but sometimes I am so exhausted that I will actually pass out in the middle of playtime, dozing off on the nursery floor next to Carter's beloved jungle play gym as the kiddie melody jingles in my mind, or nodding off in the middle of breastfeeding, my head sagging down onto his little belly.

Sometimes I try to combat the exhaustion by taking some time to myself - putting Carter in the swing or his bouncy chair while I relax on the couch with a cup of tea and the remote. He'll let out a little squawk of protest, and that's when the guilt begins anew and I mentally chastise myself for needing ten minutes to myself.

In my previous life before I became a mother, I would listen to moms talk about not having time for themselves, how there aren't enough hours in the day, how challenging it is, and think Whiny bitches. What could possibly be so hard? Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby eat my words. Karma is a cruel wench indeed.

I know that I will get over this. I am a good mother, and am doing everything I can to make my baby grow strong and healthy, and to show him how much he is loved. Every so often, I remind myself that I was a woman before I became a mother, and I am still a woman now, one who deserves to treat herself as well as she treats those she loves.

With that mantra running through my head, last night I did something amazing. I left Carter with my husband and a bottle of breastmilk, and left the house for TWO HOURS - by far the longest I've been away from him since his birth. I went straight to the nail salon and got the most amazing pedicure of my life - I hadn't had one since well before I got pregnant, since I didn't wear polish during my pregnancy and have been living with janky polishless toes for almost a year. Afterwards I made a Target run for breastfeeding pads and other mom-essentials, and even spent a ridiculous amount of time browsing the accessories aisles without a slight bit of guilt. I arrived home to find my little boy dozing peacefully in daddy's arms, and all was right in the world.

Today, I look down at my sparkling red toes and am reminded that I am entitled to a few minutes to myself. My days may be spent changing diapers, breastfeeding, burping, bathing, singing "The Wheels on the Bus" and cuddling my baby boy, but my fancy toes remind me that not only am I a mother, I am a woman.

There may always be guilt, but there will also always be pedicures. And by damn, I will be one mama with nice toes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Clothing Crisis

This morning while dressing Carter I was, as usual, crippled with indecision about which cute outfit to put on him. Preppy stripes? Footed duck jammies? Onesie embellished with witty phrase? Looking over the profusion of adorable choices, I happened to glance down at my own stained tee and saggy yoga pants. Suddenly I came to the startling realization that my son's wardrobe is far better than my own. Between the preloved hand-me-downs from friends' sons and the collection we've amassed from generous baby gifts, his drawers are full to bursting with 0-3 month clothing. In fact, my little fashion plate could probably wear a different 0-3 month outfit every day until the three month mark without repeating.

While I rotate between the same handful of decent-looking tops and somewhat-flattering pants, Carter is perpetually decked out in a parade of fantastic duds - or rather, he would be, if I had the wherewithal to dress him up every day. However, more often than not I forgo the snazzy Ralph Lauren jumpers in favor of comfy sleepers or a onesie and socks, then spend the rest of the day feeling guilty about not dressing my child better. Evidently the indecision with which I have always faced my own closet has now trickled down upon my baby's. Curses!

Not only has Carter now outgrown all his "Newborn" clothing, he is also too big for several of his 0-3 month outfits. My best friend Erica had given me an organic cotton red onesie with white piping and matching hat and socks - it was the first clothing anyone gave me for the baby, and I'd planned to have him wear it home from the hospital. However, it was far too massive for his tiny body when he was born, so I had saved it until last week. I tried it on him, only to find that it was now TOO SMALL. I missed the window! The poor child looked so uncomfortable, so I took a few pictures for posterity and have since retired that outfit to the back of the closet.

Behold my child, AKA the Christmas Elf:

His "Why the hell have you done this to me, mommy??" face:

Unfortunately, after 3 months, he's out of luck - I only have a tiny collection of 3-6 months clothing, so his wardrobe will diminish significantly come December. Also, I have decided that before I go back to work in December (argh!) I am treating myself to a wardrobe upgrade, too. Babies R Us and Banana Republic, here we come!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back in the saddle again

Last week was a tough one - I got a nasty cold and spent several days congested and achey, scared to death that I would get Carter sick. Fortunately, I washed my hands 80 times a day and tried to refrain from sneezing in his vicinity, and it seems to have spared him from illness. Although really, about ten days ago he had a sniffle, so I maintain that the baby gave it to me. Except for Monday's Mommy movie and my six week postpartum doctor's appointment on Tuesday, I laid low and took it easy, and now I'm feeling 100% again.

Yesterday we took Carter to a pumpkin patch for some festive autumnal shots. He was in a very agreeable mood:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tuesday's Child

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is fair and wise and good and gay.
*I grew up with this rhyme, and always wondered about the day that my baby would be born. Full of grace, indeed.*

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Baby Party!

Yesterday was the much-anticipated reunion gathering for all the couples from my birth class. It was great to see everyone and spend a few hours unabashedly yammering on about breastfeeding, diapers, sleep schedules, baby acne, and mommyhood. All of the babies were beautiful - our class made some fine-lookin' kids!

My friend Erica and her husband Uri hosted - they have an amazing camera and got some great shots of the party. I think we need to upgrade from our dinky point-and-shoot digital!

With mommy in his fabulously preppy outfit:

Examining Daddy:

Our little family:

Baby party!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Carter's Nursery

Here are a few shots of Carter's nursery. Clearly, I didn't spend much time setting up the room with proper lighting, etc. to make it picturesque, but you get the idea.

The three pictures on the wall above the crib below are the covers of the classic childrens' books This is San Francisco, This is New York, and This is Paris. I always loved these books growing up, and Max and I both love San Francisco, got engaged in New York, and had our honeymoon in Paris. I bought the books, made color photocopies of the covers, framed them and ta-da! Instant art.

The gumball art is from an exhibit that my mother and I went to in San Francisco almost ten years ago, and the teddy bears are from my childhood collection. I found the glider in perfect condition on Craig's List.

Our incredible hot air balloon - I still have to sponge-paint white clouds on the wall behind it.

Carter enjoying his jungle playmat:

Park Day

Yesterday I took Carter on his first trip to the park. We live only a few blocks from the Pan Pacific Park, which is absolutely ginormous, with multiple playgrounds, a jogging path, baseball diamonds, basketball hoops, tennis courts, picnic tables and lovely grassy fields. This is the same location where my awesome friend Natalie took my belly photos, so I thought it was fitting to walk over and sit under the same tree with my little boy, now holding him in my arms instead of my belly.

I popped him in his Moby Wrap for the trip and he slept the whole time. After the park, I wandered over to the Grove, browsed Nordstrom's shoe department, puttered through Crate & Barrel and ended up at the ice cream stand in the Farmer's Market, where I got a fantastic scoop of homemade pumpkin ice cream. I walked home enjoying the crisp breeze in the air and feeling particularly autumnal.

I could get used to this.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Diapering Fun for Everyone

A few days ago, I realized that Carter was finally big enough to fit into the collection of cloth diapers that I've been hoarding. They were a gift from a friend whose mother-in-law runs a secondhand shop - one day she got a donation of brand-new cloth diapers and passed them on to my friend, who was pregnant at the time. The friend ultimately decided to go with disposables instead, and was generous enough to pass the cloth collection on to me.

This was tremendously exciting, as I've been obsessed with cloth diapers since well before I even became pregnant. I don't know what it is about them - the cute colors, the practical, money-saving element, the fanatical cult following in online cloth diaper ("CD") communities - but I developed my obsession ages ago, and am overjoyed to finally have my little person wearing them.

To my delight, washing them hasn't been nearly as much of a pain in the ass as I'd anticipated - I just toss 'em in our fancy-schmancy new HE frontloader (bought specifically with the notion of using cloth diapers) and they come out spotless and fresh each time. I only have ten, so I've been washing every day - fortunately, I just ordered three dozen prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers that I'll be using in my gDiaper pants (a money-saving alternative to these "all-in-one" pocket diapers, which are pricey at $18 a pop). When they arrive, I won't have to wash nearly as often. Since Monday, I've used only a handful of disposables, mostly while we were out and about - they were all size Newborn which I had to use up anyway, since he has graduated to size 1.

BEHOLD! Here is Carter looking snazzy in his Fuzzi Bunz diaper and organic cotton carrot socks. If that's not style, I don't know what is.

Strike a pose:


Helloooo, ladies...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The greatest adventure so far...

Today I took Carter to the LA Zoo. A group of mommy friends were taking their toddlers and asked if I'd like to come with - somehow I have become totally fearless lately (either that or I've just lost my mind from staying in this apartment too long) so I agreed.

It was a gorgeous day - breezy and warm, yet with a perfect, crisp hint of fall in the air. All of the animals were out and about - I saw lions, gorillas, zebras, otters, giraffes...I could go on. This group of mommy friends meets up at the zoo regularly to walk, chat, and hang out at the amazing playground. The yearlong passes are a bargain, and I had so much fun that I think I'll invest in one. I am looking forward to the day that Carter is old enough to enjoy it - today he slept in his Ergo through the whole trip, waking only to be breastfed on various benches.

After the zoo excursion I found myself hardly a mile from my office, so I took the opportunity to stop by and say hi to everyone. It was great - Carter was fussing in his carseat in the garage of the building, but I just popped him in his Moby Wrap (which I have now learned to use, thanks to the Pump Station's sling clinic) and he passed out immediately and slept on my chest like a little angel. He was a big hit with all of my co-workers.

It surprised me how much I enjoyed seeing everyone. I can't believe I've been on maternity leave for 10 weeks already - it seems like I was just there yesterday. Everyone was asking when I was coming back, and I kept it vague with a "sometime in December" answer, since I haven't officially decided if I'll come back before Christmas or after. The time is flying by, and I can scarcely believe that there will come a day when I will have to leave him with strangers.

Until the next adventure...

Monday, October 5, 2009

I just thought of something that I forgot to add on my last entry - on the day that we went to Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, the library, etc. I went home and made banana bread while he was strapped to my chest in the Ergo carrier! That was truly liberating - there are few things I enjoy more than baking, so I finally felt like myself again. Ahhh...

Yesterday morning we went down to Venice beach - my sister-in-law was doing the LA triathlon, so we joined the chaos to see her off. Carter was very agreeable and slept the whole time. He is definitely his father's son - he is such a deep sleeper that it's damn near impossible to wake him before he's ready. Barking dogs, loudspeakers, sirens - you name it - it doesn't disturb him. This is clearly an excellent quality for an infant, so I realize how lucky we are.

After the beach I took Carter to a friend's baby shower. Unfortunately, after sleeping all morning he refused to nap at the party, but he had lots of aunties around who were eager to hold him so that mommy could grab a bite to eat.

Today was another Mommy & Me movie - he slept the whole time, waking only once to nurse. I could get used to this.

Mommy & Me photo shoot:

At the pediatrician:

Bath time!