Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas recap

Em's first Christmas was a success!

We went up to my hometown to visit my mom for Christmas Eve, returning to LA on Christmas Day. It was Em's first time meeting my brother and my nephew. She was napping when they came to visit, and as my nephew, who is 3, looked over her in her playpen, he whispered to me, "Is that my baby? No? Oh, it's your baby?" followed by, in an even quieter whisper from him, "Shhhhh. The baby is sleeping."

We visited Shelby's parents, which I do nearly every time I'm in town. They're like family to me, so it was important to introduce Em to them. Shelby's sister, Meg, and her 10-month-old daughter Livy were there, too. Livy is probably one of the happiest babies I've ever met. She was soooo excited to meet Em - Meg couldn't put her down fast enough! She had to hold Livy back as she charged toward Em, squealing all the way. So cute, I tell ya.

My mom defines proud grandmother. Her friends often give her stuff for Em. This hat was a recent gift.

Hopefully Em will grow to like it 'cuz Mommy sure thinks it's adorable.

Em had lots of playtime with Grandma.
Playing with Grandma

They played until they were both wiped out.
Grandma and Em napping

Em did great in the car over the 3-hour drive. She slept the entire way there and back.

We spent Christmas evening with Brent's family and my brother-in-law's friend (and at this point, our friend, too!), Gretchen. My mother-in-law made us an amazing dinner, which was a nice way to end our Christmas celebrations.

I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays, too!

"The only thing bad about a holiday is it is followed by a non-holiday." - Anonymous

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

From our favorite little elf to you!

"I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up -- they have no holidays." - Henny Youngman

Monday, December 22, 2008

Here is heaven and earth and the brilliant sky inbetween

This is my point of view when I'm trying to keep Em engaged and interested during tummy time on the changing table. I love it.
Time to work on the neck muscles!

Daddy decided to read to her. Don't think she liked the story.

Check out their matching hair.
With Dad

"I dwell in the darkness. I let in the light. I sleep in the afternoon and become the noise in the night." - Blessed, Brett Dennen

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Playing catch up

More than a week since my last post?

Here's my wrist. Feel free to slap it.

What have I been up to?

Let's see.

Last week I had lunch with my friend Leah and her 5-month-old daughter, followed by a class about developmental play. I learned some great tips for making Em's tummy time more enjoyable, along with other ways to encourage her to reach milestones like grabbing her feet, rolling over, crawling, etc.

Brent and I also got out for the first time last weekend sans Em. Grandma and Grandpa offered to watch her, coincidentally the same evening that we were invited to go out with some friends of ours. While I do make it a point to get out on my own frequently, it was strange for the both of us to be away from her, together. No surprise -- she did just fine.

We recently tried our new baby carrier. It's the Beco Butterfly II. We've only used it once, and Brent was super excited to carry her around.
Daddy tries out the new carrier

I also tried out the Bumbo seat that I bought from Wan. I thought Em was enjoying it...
Enjoying the Bumbo?

But then all hell broke loose.
Not enjoying the Bumbo

(The photos are grainy from my camera phone. These were pics I sent to Brent at work.)

She's still a little young for it, so I imagine she'll enjoy it more when she's older. Those pics crack me up, though.

We've introduced her to a lovely gift from one of my bosses. This giraffe, Sophie, is apparently all the rage with babies everywhere. It's not hard to imagine why - it's super cute!
With Sophie the Giraffe!

Other than that, we've just been hanging out, enjoying our time together.
With Daddy, eyeing Mommy

Sweet as cherry pie

"So the giraffe turns to the police chief and says: 'The last thing I saw was that screwloose detective trying to pick the nuts out of the fruitcake!'" - The Joker, The Batman

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Hit me with your best shot

Today was Em's 2-month appointment. She now weighs 12 lbs., 11 ozs. The doc said it's a little more than a typical baby would have gained by now, but it's nothing to be concerned about. She gave us some tips to help her sleep through the night (e.g., not immediately feeding her each time she wakes up but instead see if we can lull her back to sleep or let her put herself back to sleep if she's not crying).

Em was particularly cute before she got her first round of vaccines.
She has no idea

And she was happy to have Daddy there to hold her close.
With Daddy

For some reason I thought there was only an oral vaccine and two shots, so I was surprised to learn that Em would be receiving FIVE shots. (I thought the multiple vaccine shots were combined.) A lot of moms talk about how much harder it is on them than the babies when it comes to the babies' shots. However, after seeing Em go through the multiple heel pricks when she was overcoming jaundice her first couple of weeks, today's quick shots didn't faze me. I had to laugh at watching her go from a post-feeding bliss to "WTF, Mom?!?!" But it was over quite quickly. After a little fussing, she passed out and slept most of the day.

I joked that they must have given her shots of additional cuteness, because she was quite happy this evening before we put her to bed. And seemingly overnight she's traded in her baby grunts for baby coos. I didn't think our baby girl could get any sweeter, but somehow she's found a way.

"Tommy's a hypochondriac. In fourth grade, he traded his lunch with another kid so he could get in the vaccination line twice." - Christopher Titus, Titus

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Post script

The move to the crib is going well. Last night Em basically slept from 8-3, with a quick 2-minute snack at 9 after she stirred for a minute. The early morning hours were a little rough, as she was fairly wide awake until 4, and again at 4:45 and 5:30, but I'm still quite happy with the initial sleep period. And there's nothing like walking into a baby who's wide awake and beaming ear-to-ear with a smile for her mom. Awww...

Mrs. M asked if there's anything I would have done differently with Em's crib transitioning, like starting Em in her crib right from Day 1. I go back and forth with it. Part of me thinks it might have made things a little easier having started from Day 1, but those first few weeks I was soooo exhausted that it was nice to only have to take a few steps to her Pack N Play to feed her throughout the night. Also, I think the timing was right for ME, as her mom, to have her a little further away. I imagine I would have spent a lot of time, while she slept peacefully, staring at her over her crib. For my own peace of mind, it was nice to be able to hear her grunting and stirring so closely rather than through a monitor the first couple of months. Even now I still stare at the monitor quite often, but probably less than I would if she were even younger.

I'm excited to see that others, like Leslie (super squeal!!!), are preparing for their own parenthood journeys. That reminds me - I was so overwhelmed by the amount of unread posts in my Google Reader that I just marked all 700+ of them as "read." So if I've missed anything big in YOUR life that I should know about, be sure to let me know.

And I'm about to make a big change. (Ok, maybe it's bigger to me than it is to you.) I've decided to share some pics of Em here. Don't know how long or how many, but we'll see how it goes. I'll still keep photos of her on Flickr for friends and family only, but family (aka the grandmas) seem to have issues navigating Flickr. To be fair, I haven't shown my mom how to use the Flickr or Gmail accounts I set up for her, but she has learned how to read my blog from her new computer. My father-in-law is also a faithful reader. I also have other friends and family who read my blog but don't use Flickr, so I'm doing this with all of them in mind.

Em turned two months old yesterday, which amazes me. Her two-month appointment is next week, and it's the one where she starts getting her shots. Thankfully Brent is coming with me, so he can help calm me, I mean Em down, if needed. She weighed 12 lbs., 1 oz., on Tuesday during my lactation consultation, so I imagine she'll be around 12 lbs., 8 oz. at the ped's. I'm also interested to see how long she is because I get the feeling she didn't get my vertically challenged genes.

Anyhow, I totally slacked on taking specific photos of her when she turned one month. But the Next Exit photos were fairly close to her one-month date, so I kept that in mind. I'm going to be diligent about it from here on out, though. I really liked this idea I saw awhile back, but I have no place to store or display a calendar that huge. So, this is what I came up with instead.
2 months old

As an added bonus, here's a close-up.

I may be biased, but that's one cute kid.

"The baby's not due for a month. I told you it wasn't conceived in the elevator. It was Dewey's parent/teacher conference."
- Hal, Malcolm in the Middle

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Crib notes

**Warning. Long mommified post ahead. Non-mommy types can feel free to skip. No harm, no foul.**

When I got pregnant, I always thought that Em would sleep in our room in her Pack N Play for a couple weeks and then we'd transition her to the crib in her room. With her frequent night feedings - typically 3 or more - it just became easier to keep her with us. I wasn't looking forward to the not-so-long-but-still-not-conveniently-at-the-end-of-our-bed trek down our hall. Then I realized that a couple weeks had turned into a couple months, and thought it was time for her to get acquainted with her nursery.

I started off trying to put her down in her crib for naps, but that was problematic because I don't put her down for naps in general. I know when she's been up too long and it's time for a nap, but I just let her fall asleep and stay asleep wherever she is, for the most part. That's usually in her swing -- which she loves so much that I bought another one off Craigslist to keep at my in-laws' -- in her car seat or on me while wrapped in the Moby.

The first few times I tried to get her to nap in her crib? Fail. And on Saturday when Brent commented about how he was worried that Em shouldn't be swinging so much, I showed him exactly how tough it was to get her to nap in her crib. She cried and cried and cried some more, basically crying right through her typical time for naps. (We didn't let her "cry it out" - we'd pick her up when she started to cry, then put her down when she was almost asleep only to have her wake up again and start crying.) Then I decided that we should try swaddling her for her nap like we do when we put her to bed, something I was trying to stay away from as it's not good for babies' joint development to be swaddled for longer than 10 hours. We swaddled her and she finally napped in her crib... for about half an hour. Back to the swing it was.

Sunday evening I told Brent that I wanted to try to put her to bed in her crib, but if it looked like it wasn't going to work then it'd be back to our room for the night. I didn't want to battle putting her to sleep on my lonesome - if it was going to take a fight, then I'd rather it be on a weekend evening when Brent could stay up and help me fight the fight. But Sunday's attempt turned out to be ok. It took three or four times to get her to fall asleep somewhat happily in her crib, but once she was out she slept her usual 3-4 hours before waking up for her next feeding. I slipped into bed and watched her for a few minutes via our video monitor. (Totally awesome product, by the way. It has night vision!)

Monday evening started out even better. She passed out after her feeding. And I mean, passed out. Nothing seemed to stir her, and we didn't want to jinx it so we carefully wrapped her up in the swaddle blanket without evening changing her into her pjs. She was fine until 4 hours later, when she woke up and basically stayed up for 2 1/2 hours. I'd feed her, try to burp her with no luck, put her down asleep only to have her wake up 20 minutes later crying from gas pain. She'd burp easily then, and then be hungry for more. So I'd feed her, try to burp her again with no luck, put her down asleep and then she'd wake up again from the gas. Ugh. Once I got her down comfortably, though, she was back into her typical sleeping ritual, even allowing us to sleep until about 7:45.

Last night, though, was a bit insane. It started in the evening, after I had gone in for what I call a breastfeeding tune-up. I had a late afternoon follow-up appointment with my lactation consultant to work on Em's latch technique, which had gotten sloppy. When I got her home, I fed her some more.

Then she flipped out.

It was definite gas pain, and I knew exactly what did it.

For lunch all I ate was a big bowl of leftover Thanksgiving sweet potatoes. And Monday evening I had some with dinner, followed by her crazy gas episode in the middle of the night. By deduction I figured that sweet potatoes are not Em's friend. I tried everything to calm her down - gas drops, gripe water, burping, and then a special baby hold that my lactation consultant had recommended. I held Em with her back against my stomach and her legs pulled up, her feet in my hands as I walked around the house. That worked much better than the ol' bicycle trick. She seemed happy for a bit, but then the hard cries came again. The interweb told me that a warm bath might calm her down and relax her stomach muscles. Thankfully Brent was home by then, so he tried to calm her as I scrambled to pull the bath together. And wouldn't you know it, as soon as she got in, she was relaxed. And wouldn't you know it again, as soon as we got her out, again with the crying.


By then it was time for her to eat again, so we gave her a bottle of milk I'd pumped pre-sweet potatoes. She gulped it down, BURPED (it's the simple pleasures, folks), and then passed out. She then slept the longest she ever has - nearly 6 hours! The next feeding was simple - eat, burp, back to sleep. But this morning's early feedings were a little hectic. 4:30, 5:30, 6:30 - then more of the gassy crying, but not nearly as frantic as last night's crying, followed by TWO huge poopy diapers. (I'll spare you anymore details.) Relief at last for all involved.

I knew I had to blog about this so when I think back about transitioning to her crib, it won't be all dandelions and unicorns.

If you've made it this far, you deserve a gold star. And I've made it this far, so I deserve a little pampering. Grandma is coming over to watch Em and I'm off to the salon!

"You know, when you were a baby in your crib, your father looked down at you, he had but one hope - some day my son will grow to be a man. Well look at you now. You just got your asses whipped by a bunch of goddamn nerds." - Coach Harris, Revenge of the Nerds