Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Me and My Big Mouth

The other day, my friend Carole wrote about being a sick mommy to two sick kids. I sympathized, noting to her that I felt her pain (Charles and I both still have nasty colds), but at least we didn't have diarrhea and weren't vomiting. Oh, I am such an asshat for tempting fate like that.
Sure enough, Tony came home from work around 3 pm on Monday sicker than I have seen him in a long time. He curled up in bed with a bucket beside him and didn't move until 5 am, when I asked him to take care of the baby because I had fallen ill, as well. Oh, Lord, how I hate being sick to my stomach. Gallons of Gatorade later, and I am mostly feeling better, and Tony is back at work. Luckily, Charles has so far escaped this one. Great for two reasons: one, I really don't want him to be sick and experience more discomfort, especially bad tummy illness, and two, he's got enough snot going on that I have about hit my bodily fluid threshold for the day.

Look! Sitting up (but not stable yet). This means I need to go buy a high chair soon... and then we'll begin the adventure of letting Charles play with his food in the attempt to feed himself - which he already very much wants to do.

And, for you grandparents who think this sort of thing is cool, here is a quick video of Charles babbling. He makes noise ALL. DAY. LONG.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cuteness Levels = Exceeded

My Ears...

There's a lot of crying going on in our house these days. And coughing. And snot. (Don't know the verb for that one... snotting?) My head and ears hurt constantly. Who knew baby shrieks could be so piercing?

Charles and I both have colds, so the vaporizer has been running nearly nonstop for the past several days. He coughs in his sleep until he wakes up, so I have been up more than my usual half-the-night. Tony, of course, sleeps right through it. I think my cold is worse, as I can feel and hear my individual bronchial tubes rattle with each cough, but Charles' cough and runny nose are certainly more pathetic. To top it off, just when tooth number one had fully popped out in all its white, sharp glory, tooth number two arrived on the scene. We go through a lot of tylenol around here, people.

On the plus side, the weather is beautiful, and I am thankful for another new season in Skagit Valley... this is one of the greatest places on earth to live, the natural beauty is astounding. Tony has been home from his weekend class around 4 on Saturday and Sunday, and has been able to take the dog for a run as well as have family time during the daylight/waking hours. This is quite a novelty, and you can see Charles' delight every time his daddy walks in the room. The tulips are blooming, a bit late this year, but that means they will stick around longer, making the beginning of May pretty, too. Now, if only I could kick this cold and get to the gym or get running again, all would be well with the world.

Here are a couple of shots of Charles eating... man, does he love food! Although it hasn't diminished his love of the boob one bit. I am as much a milk factory as I ever was, and perhaps more so in the wee hours of the early morning, after we bring him into bed with us (happening earlier and earlier since he's been sick). He frequently rolls right over and claws at my shirt. My mom would probably say that I am encouraging "snacking," but I swear that he gets a full meal, sucking downs multiple ounces right through let-down.
Mmm, banana in a bag!

That's not green barf... that's avocado!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Farmer Chuck:
Elvis Charles:*Yes, I bought baby aviators. Who could resist?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A post of lists

Things I have learned in the past 24 hours:

  • Charles hates the nose suction bulb thingy
  • A small child can produce a lot of snot when teething
  • The dog doesn't like it when Charles is unhappy
  • It is nearly impossible to photograph new teeth on a squirmy baby. Evidence:

Charles' overworked immune system while teething has made way for a bothersome cold to stuff up his bitty sinuses. The fact that he can't breathe through his nose makes it tough to nurse or to suck a binky, which makes sleeping doubly tough. However, I think we turned a corner last night - my little man, who had been so sad all day long, was briefly back to his old, giggly self, making faces in the mirror and reaching for the dog. I actually stayed in his room through his evening nap (the first he had taken laying down in 48 hours) to make sure that he didn't stop breathing. And, of course, he slept with me in bed all night, the humidifier going full blast.

Things to which I am looking forward after tax season is over:
  • Spending more time with Tony. Fancy that, we actually enjoy each other's company
  • A date night once in awhile
  • Watching Tony and Charles play - Charles lights up whenever Tony is in the room. Say what you want about mama's boys, this kid loves his daddy :-)
  • Running with Buster (after Tony's captain class, so we have a few more weeks)
  • Going to the gym in the evening when Tony gets home
  • Finishing a multitude of house projects, including gardening, baseboards in the bedrooms, refinishing the bed set, and too many more to enumerate
  • Picnic dinners on the back deck
  • Watching Tony's softball games
  • Reading a book once in awhile

One more full day. Tony had thought he might even spend the whole night at the office last night (*gasp*), but he was home by 3:30 or so. While I hear every move Charles makes, I don't even hear Tony come in and am frequently surprised when he shows up in bed. Or, like the other night, when I got up to check on Charles because he was crying and was startled to see someone holding him! It was Tony, back home at 2:30. He's lucky I didn't scream :-)

We got some great news last night: Charles' newest cousin (due late August) is going to be a BOY!!! We are ecstatic! We were truly happy about the prospect of another little one anyhow, but now that we know it's a boy, we can't help but be super excited about all the fun cousin-things Charles will get to do in the future:

  • Gang up on his girl-cousin, Claire
  • Play boy toys and games
  • Build forts
  • Collect gross things
  • Be daredevils
  • And so much more... including drive their parents nuts

Welcome to the family, kid. By the time you are old enough to care, your uncle Tony will have a sailboat, and you can come crew with your cousin Charles in the summer. I'll bake you my famous cookies, you can play with the dog(s - we will probably have more by then, as we will eventually upgrade our house and yard size), get super muddy and fish-smelly, and then go look for Sasquatch in the woods. It's a wonderful life.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Home Stretch

Poor Tony didn't get home until 4 last night (this morning). Then, he got up at 8:30 to rush out the door to church with me and Charles at 9. I am so glad that tax season is almost over-- I am very tired of being a tax widow. We have so many projects to finish around here, and I can't do them alone or while I am watching Charles. Unfortunately, we will still be without the man of the house on weekends and evenings for awhile, as Tony is taking an intensive class at the CC to get his captain's license renewed. For whatever reason, he has the first weekend in May off, though, so we will head to the beach for Loyalty Day and the Blessing of the Fleet... sounds like Charles might get his first boat ride!

Easter outfit :-)

This tax season has certainly taken its toll on us. I have a strong, renewed respect for single parents of small children, because I have had a glimpse of what they deal with on a daily basis, and it is tough. Of course, I did it with an extra income (and extra laundry) and the knowledge that Tony would be home at some point in the night to cuddle, even if not for long. Still, I can't even explain how hard it is to be without support system on a daily basis while being a first-time parent. All the second-guessing has no outlet, and I nearly lost it. Also, I am convinced that if I was able to get to the gym in the evening a few times a week, I would not be such a fatty. I find that my fuse is short these days, and the self-hatred and bitter envy of skinny women and women who bounce back from pregnancy super quick burn hot. I am almost to the point of breaking my own rule and purchasing new clothes before I hit my target weight because I don't have much left to wear. I am too small for the clothes I wore immediately post-partum, but much too big to fit into old clothes. Sigh.

Sleeping Angel

The past few days have been extra tough because Charles is teething. He has two showing on his bottom jaw, and it is truly amazing how this affects him. He will be perfectly content for a couple of hours and then - all of the sudden - BAM! VERY UNHAPPY CHILD. He shrieks until the baby tylenol takes hold and then he usually drops off to sleep. Poor guy. I admit that I will miss his gummy smile. Babies with teeth just aren't as cute as before. I think that's another area where I am a little sad - Charles has gotten so big, so fast, that I was able to take comfort in a few small things. Things like, he still has a gummy smile, or he still snuggles in close to sleep. Now, he is 20 lbs and still can't sit up, thus providing me little relief in the carrying-around department (we bought a backpack this weekend because I still need to carry him in the grocery store and he is too big for the Baby Bjorn, and there is no one else to do the shopping), he likes to sleep all spread out, he can soothe himself to sleep in his crib with little or no crying (suck it, cry it out methods - our baby still knows I am there for him!), and he has teeth. Pretty soon, he won't want to nurse (dooming me to lose the weight on my own) and he won't want to cuddle. Why can't he grow up in the normal ways, like sleeping through the night? Instead, people just think he is a developmentally-challenged 18-month-old.

Charles is a wonderful boy with a sunny personality, always happy and smiling with no attachment issues like stranger-distrust at all. I know he will have an excellent life. But I also feel a bit cheated out of the early stages because I was doing it all alone and he grew so quickly. I see my other friends' babies who are only 11 pounds at two months (Charles was almost 12 lbs by the time he was 3 weeks old) and I am sad. They will get to enjoy all those baby clothes so much longer than we did, they will be able to carry their child in the front pack much longer, they will be able to hold off solid foods until the recommended time, and most of all, they will do it with their spouses there every night, to help establish a bedtime routine, to share in the short-lived baby period, to reassure each other that their baby is not a freak whose only possible career track is NFL lineman. We missed that, it went so fast and I was all alone. I just hope it will be a bit different next time. Genetics and chosen professions are not on my side, though.

Well, thanks for reading my pity party. Wednesday's the day, and then Tony gets to babysit Thursday afternoon before starting his class on Friday. Then, once captain status is reestablished, Tony will be cruisin as backup on the Deception Pass Tours this summer - probably only one weekend a month or so, but fun nonetheless.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Daycare Update

When I walked into the infant room to find Charles this afternoon, he was hanging out in a jumperoo/excersaucer - type plaything, flirting, and I mean actively flirting, with the baby girl in the jumperoo/excersaucer - type plaything next to him.

I think daycare is going to work out just fine. However, I am a bit worried about the teenage years. We've got a little Casanova on our hands...

the many ways to worry...

In 15 minutes I will pack a sleeping Charles into his carseat and take him to daycare for the first time. Will he be okay? Will he cry when he realizes that I'm not there? Will I cry? He is very used to being passed around to "strangers," and I have never kept anyone from holding him, not since the day he was born (hey, I hold him A LOT at home, you all can have your time with the squishy little guy, I'm not selfish). And still, five hours is a looooong time.

The daycare is great, the staff are wonderful, and the women in the infant room have both been there for 2 years, giving me faith that Charles will be able to attach to one or both of them, rather than having a revolving-door of caretakers. And yet. I still wonder if I am doing the right thing.

The other side, of course, is that I want him to experience life, to not be attached to my hip for years, to love trying new things without fear. This is a first step, and it will make the transition to school and overnights with grandparents that much easier in the future. He might learn to be a bit more self-reliant (although he is already showing quite a bit of this, beginning to put himself to sleep in his crib all alone, spending time playing while I vacuum 0r dust, and more). He will probably have a lot of fun playing with new toys. And, he is fascinated by other children, so he'll get a chance to be around them. I anticipate some colds in the next few weeks, but it is good to challenge his immune system, and I have never been one who believes in sheltering a child from germs. As Tony says, the kids who never get sick are the ones who eat dirt. The kids who are always sick are the ones whose moms wipe their hands with antibacterial wipes all the time.

Anyhow, what will I do with my five hours? Besides worry about my baby, I mean... Well, first I will get my hair cut (long overdue) and then I will go to work at Goodwinds, where I will frantically do as much as possible on the marketing before taking a 15-minute break to pump breastmilk and then head off to my other job at the Chamber until 4:45, at which point I will head back to the daycare to pick up Charles. It's a constant go-go-go around here.

In a couple of months, maybe sooner, I will add Wednesday afternoons to our daycare schedule (currently only Tuesday and Thursday) so I can do even more work. Businesses don't run themselves, you know.

I'll let you all know how the first day of daycare goes. Until then, wish me luck.

Gratuitous photo of Charles using Tony's ears as handlebars:

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Baby

Our neighbors brought Charles a gift the other day - their 11-month-old's used exersaucer, which he no longer fit. Charlie loves it! He can rock and roll and spin all around, and there are scads of toys with which to play. He contentedly played in it today while I vacuumed today.
We have had a busy week, and it's about to get even busier. My folks were here, so Charles and I have been spending a lot of time at Goodwinds. Also, it's been raining, so no walks of late (which sucks, since I can't get to the gym - the only time I can go is VERY early in the morning, and I have been so exhausted that that really isn't an option. I can hardly wait until after tax season so Tony and I can take turns going to the Y in the evening. Sure, we won't see much of each other, but we'll feel better).

Tony is exhausted from taxes. He tried to put Charles down for a nap last night and ended up sleeping with him. Aren't they just two peas in a pod?

Charles continues to love every food we give him, except formula (thanks for the suggestion, Carole, but I don't think this one will work). He flat out refused to take a bottle of formula from me (remember, I have no one else here at night to potentially give it), and he only would drink about an ounce while my mom babysat him yesterday, all the while being, in her words, "pissed off about it." And he makes the funniest "gross" face! He knows there is something better out there, stubborn child. On the upside, Buster thought the formula was AWESOME, so he got the leftovers. Anyhow, Charles still wakes often, but goes down a bit earlier, and we have opted to have him sleep more of the night in our bed for everyone's sanity. Instead of bringing him in about 4 am, we get him at about 2.

AND... we decided to invest in cloth diapers! Now, these are not your mama's cloth diapers. There are no pins, no folding, and no rubber pants. They are colorful and very absorbent, have loads of snaps, and fun little inserts. Also, they will save us a boatload of money. We figured out, based on the diapers we have purchased so far and estimates of increasing costs as the diapers get larger and more complicated (pull-ups, for example), that we would end up spending anywhere from $1200 to $2000 on diapers between now and Charles' 3rd birthday, not to mention what we will spend on the next baby, and these diapers are designed to last through multible children. So, instead we spent $450 on 24 "one size" FuzziBunz diapers that are adjustable to fit a 7 lb to 35 lb baby. Now, I can see how they would be a bit bulky on a 7 lb baby, but nonetheless, much cheaper. Also, they came with 24 cloth wipes, which, if we had used sooner, might have saved us that horrible diaper-rash incident of long ago.
And they're cute.
So, I was a bit confused and did a lot of research, but they have so far worked out really well. I think I have finally got them adjusted to fit correctly, and we put in the super large "toddler" insert for nighttime, and the smaller "infant" insert for daytime. I dump solids into the toilet - easier now that they are actually pretty solid - and put dirty diapers in a pail. Then, I wash in the washing machine with a soak cycle and a double rinse and a teeny bit of bleach. Voila! Clean diapers. And they are so soft!
Next, I am going to get a composter for my garden. How granola am I?
Well, I wish you all a great weekend. It's Liz weekend here, so we are going to have some fun (My good friend Liz is flying in from San Fran). Cheers!