Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A giveaway and a half

I'm giving away a copy of Truly, Madly by Heather Webber over on my book blog. If you're a fan of fun, sexy mysteries, check it out! The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada, and closes at midnight on April 11.

I'll also have a really cool giveaway up and running soon in cooperation with CSN stores, online sellers of kids bedding, toys, and tons of other products. Stay tuned for details!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I blame those lunatics at CERN

Nico and I had a few errands to run this afternoon, including a lunch thing with some people who hadn't met him yet. I won't deny that I like to show off my kid a bit, and dressed him accordingly in a hippie "going green" onesie, his cutest pair of pants, and my favorite pair of his warm socks. Because he views his carseat as an instrument of The Man, he protested mightily the entire time he was in it, from the dining room to the site of our lunch date. And then, because apparently he really wants that pony, he behaved like an angel through our hour-long lunch, a visit to the office where I interned in college, a quick stop at the library, and a trip to buy some cloth diapers.

But one of his socks didn't make the trip. They were both on his feet when I buckled him into his carseat, and ten minutes later when I got him out of the car, one sock was gone. I looked on both sides of his carseat base, in the carseat, even down in the crevices of his bunting. No sock. After lunch, I looked on the ground beside the car and checked behind the seat. No sock. I began to wonder if he'd kicked it off before we left the house, and when we got home I checked the garage, the path we'd taken through the backyard, the dining room, and even the places where the dog tends to put things that he takes. No sock.

The damn thing has utterly vanished. There's really only one explanation left. Testing at the Large Hadron Collider must've opened up a small black hole after all. Those guys at CERN totally owe us a new pair of tiny striped socks.

Monday, March 29, 2010


My favorite thing about these is that they weren't staged at all. I just walked into the nursery, and there they were.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Miles and miles

I know it's totally cliche to wail that my baby is growing so fast I can't keep up, but you guys, my baby is growing so. damn. fast.

two months

By the time I come to grips with having a two-month-old I have a nine-week-old and then ten weeks have gone by, and I'm sure it's going to be like this for the rest of my life.

nine weeks

Smiles are many and pretty easy to earn these days. There's not much in the world better than a big crinkle-eyed, open-mouthed, pure-joy baby grin, especially when it's meant for me. (And he has my dimple in his right cheek, hold me back!) He's even smiling at people he's just met now, which is a huge hit when we take him visiting.

I try not to get too hung up on milestones and dates, and haven't cracked my copy of What to Expect the First Year since Nico was a few weeks old. I'll admit to peeking at the developmental chart the hospital gave us, though, which I helpfully magneted to the side of the fridge when we brought him home. Of course I feel pleased every time I get to check something off, and with myself for not getting too Type A about it. (But the paper says he should be holding his head at least 45 degrees off the floor during Tummy Time. Find me a protractor!) In the past two weeks, he's begun to discover that he can make sounds other than crying, and it's awesome. No consonants or true babble yet, but there have been definite baby noises. Oh, and when we all went to visit our delightful chiropractor on Wednesday afternoon, he demonstrated a sudden talent for cheerful high-octave shrieks.

The other night I put him to bed with his feet toward the mobile, like always. When I woke up in the morning, he was still perfectly parallel to the sides of his crib, but rotated 180 degrees so that his head was toward the mobile and with both feet sticking out between the ankle snaps of his footie pajamas. He looked for all the world like he'd been placed there, and he was so perfectly aligned that I texted MB to ask if he'd moved Nico when he got up (he hadn't). This morning, he'd repeated the rotation, though he wasn't wearing an escapable pair of footies.

It was a gorgeous day on Wednesday, and I decided to follow through on my harebrained idea to take some photos of Nico in front of pretty flowers. The building next to my workplace has a small but very nice garden, and I was headed over there to meet up with Julia for a quick project meeting anyway, so I stuck the camera in the diaper bag and tossed the Bumbo seat and a quilt into the car. After my meeting, I put Nico on his quilt in front of a perfect bed of purple crocuses and started snapping away. But my poor winter-born baby...this was only the second time he's been outside without being strapped in his stroller or the front carrier, so he was all, "Sunlight? Fresh air? WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?" and in most of the pictures, his eyes are shut tight. I moved him to the Bumbo seat, and he opened his eyes but was highly suspicious of the whole operation.

Skepticism, with flowers

He was kind of hungry and sleepy, I reasoned, so I figured I'd try again with the lone clump of daffodils in our front yard once he'd eaten and was more alert. Same setup -- baby in Bumbo and then on quilt, strategically positioned in front of flowers. Same squinch-eyed results, with an added bonus. Because MB hasn't done this season's first mow yet, the grass is long enough that it was touching Nico's feet. I now have captured for posterity my small son with a very distinct "Grass?! WTF!" look on his face.

I tried to get this post finished on Wednesday, but didn't have a chance. And then Thursday came around and more stuff happened. (Skip over these next two paragraphs if you don't want to hear about breastfeeding.) Since he was born, we've been seeing the lactation consultants at the hospital for help with nursing. I came home from the hospital with instructions to nurse Nico every three hours, feed him a supplement of formula after he ate, and then pump for ten minutes. He started on 30 mL of supplemental formula or pumped breastmilk per feeding and was up to 242 mL of supplements per day when he was five weeks old. At that point, the LCs put us on track to start weaning Nico back from his supplements. For that, the goal changed to 8 - 10 nursing sessions per day and a reduction of no more than 30 mL of supplement every few days. After five weeks of recording every feeding, every dirty diaper, and every pumping session, he's down to an average daily bottle-given supplement of about 115 mL of breastmilk and hasn't had formula in two weeks.

At ten weeks, he weighs 13 pounds, 4.5 ounces and we've been officially declared normal nursers. The LC we saw yesterday took notes on Nico's progress and then said, "I'm kicking you guys out." No more weekly weight checks, no more worksheets. Just me and Nico and the milk we worked so hard for. Now that we're here, it's hard to remember what it felt like to pump for ten minutes and get 3 mL of milk. I can -- luckily -- barely recall the night in the hospital that he spent screaming with hunger and frustration while I wept onto his small stripey-hatted head. I knew something was wrong, had known something was wrong for a day and a half, but it was Sunday, none of the LCs were in the office, and we didn't know that there was an emergency beeper for the lactation department. The LCs came to see us first thing on Monday and got us started on the pumping and supplementing, and it didn't get easy right away, but here we are. We're normal. Even if he continues to take a four-ounce bottle of pumped milk every evening, he's still normal. I am so happy to be normal. Every time I look at the chub on his thighs, I feel proud of how far we've come.

And because my child is clearly a genius and knows exactly how the game is played, he laughed for the first time Thursday afternoon, at my parents' house, while my dad was making faces at him.

Photo Friday

View the entire Photo Friday collection on Flickr.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy Egguinox

Last Saturday, Nico and I went to a cookout that my cousin Amethyst hosted to celebrate her daughter Custard's 10th birthday. My cousins had heard that at 12:32 PM on the Spring Equinox, it's possible to stand an egg on end. Sunny managed to get the egg balanced just so, and it stood there for a few minutes until Custard jarred the table and the egg fell over. After that, Sunny couldn't replicate the feat. I had heard the egg / equinox thing before, and our experience seemed to corroborate the tale. But, being a science nerd and someone who is in charge of teaching science to kids, I always triple-check my sources before talking about anything vaguely sciencey in order to avoid looking like a dumbass. Turns out this is a good thing, because the balancing egg story is a myth. It's possible to balance an egg on its end any day of the year, if you're talented enough. Click here for a cool article explaining the whole thing.

Even though the myth is busted, I think we can all agree it's still pretty impressive that she managed to balance an egg on a folding table set up on a deck on a breezy day.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

By the numbers

8: weeks since Nico's birthday

12: pounds of baby at this week's checkup

24: approximate inches of hair gone

29: my age today

4: friends who joined us for cake

2: hours spent playing an epic game of Chinese Checkers

9: people having dinner at the Thai restaurant

1: hilarious photo of my kid (taken by evilducky)

The master contemplates his first move.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hair today, gone tomorrow

I have an appointment to get my hair cut at 10:00 tomorrow morning. I haven't had my hair cut since the week after I got married, back in 2004. Before that, my last haircut was in 1993. Nineteen ninety three. So I've had two haircuts between the ages of 12 and almost-29, and OMFG I am nervous. I have no clue what I want, so I'm going to let the stylist recommend something, with the caveats that it can't require a flat iron or hairdryer to maintain and I don't want bangs. NERVOUS.

And, after:

It's not as short as I expected, but I suppose I can have more taken off later if I want. This is after it was dried with a diffuser, sculpted a tiny bit with a curling iron, and then treated with Moroccan oil and a fancy-pants gel for curls. In other words, it'll probably never look this good again.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Nicosaurus Rex

Our friends H & C gave us this super cute dinosaur outfit at Nico's baby shower. I think it's supposed to be a Halloween costume, but it makes a perfect warm suit for walks on sunny but chilly days.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Holy shit, it's March? How did this happen, and how can we appeal? In the meantime, have some loosely connected bullet points and baby pictures!

>> There's an ice cream shop near our house advertising a "giant cupcake -- serves 12!" I'm pretty sure that's just called a cake.

one month old

>> My maternity leave is half over, a fact that I can't think about too much lest I feel like I might cry. Right now Nico's sleeping on my shoulder, and I don't have anything pressing to do or anywhere to be...and I hate to think that in a few short weeks we may not have time for these long naps anymore. Not to mention being away from him all day, gaaaaah.

>> On Saturday there was a funeral Mass I wanted / needed to attend. MB was teaching and my mom had to work, so I chanced it and took Nico with me. I bet he'll never be that good in church again. He took the two small bottles of milk I'd brought without shouting about it first, and then passed out on my shoulder and slept until it was over. I was so grateful. That evening we took Nico out with us to meet MB's work friend and his wife for dinner, and he slept through that, too. It's quite possible that I owe him a pony.

How hilarious is this getup? He looks like an
old man getting ready to mow the yard.

>>Nico is growing so fast it's ridiculous. See this cute little outfit?

(modeled by six-day-old Nico)

On Sunday I tried to dress him in that puppy onesie, and the sleeves were about two inches too short. Then that night I put him in a really cute pair of 0-3 month size footie pajamas after his bath and his legs were too long. I'm so very glad that he's thriving and growing and healthy, but it's killing me all the same.

>> Speaking of his bath, it was only his third tub bath ever because we don't want his skin to get really dried out in the winter air. We have one of those plastic baby tubs with the little hammock thing for Nico to sit in, and when I first put him in the tub with his butt down in the water, he started crying. But it was just the shock of it, because after a few seconds he stopped crying and was just totally digging it. He doesn't coo yet, but he has this painfully adorable interested expression when he's really into something. He was just totally loving the bath, and I thought about how much I love baths, and then I realized how awesome it is that he's literally learning how fantastic baths are right in front of my eyes. To him, all these things he's experiencing are completely brand new and wonderful, and it feels like an incredible gift to be able to watch him as he learns about the world.

>> And then this morning, Nico was chilling on a blanket on the floor while I pumped milk for him, and when I said, "Hey, Nico, whatcha doing?" he smiled at me. Like, totally on purpose. And holy crap, y'all, that was an insanely great moment. He didn't do it again all day, until MB got home from work, and then he smiled at MB, too. Way to play it fair, kid! Just yesterday MB said he sometimes worries he's missing out on a lot of Nico's smallhood, so I am pleased he got a smile as well.

>> The pregnancy books don't include any warnings about this, so I'm just going to come right out and tell you that baby farts are often just as loud and offensive as adult farts. The more you know.

Somebody has an opinion!

>> Now that my restrictions are lifted and I can do laundry by myself again, I'm finally going to try some Bum Genius cloth diapers on Nico. I'm slightly nervous, having seen the volume of poo this tiny kid can produce, but I'm going to give it a shot. I'll let you know how it goes (as if most of you care...ha! ;) ).

>> Since I spend a huge part of each day sitting on the couch feeding Nico, I've been using the time to finally watch Bones on DVD. My sister loaned me the first four seasons, and I pretty much ripped through them. I watched the last episode of season four yesterday, and now I'm on the lookout for another good series to watch. It has to be available on DVD, and it would be nice if there were at least 2 seasons. Ultimately the local library will also have to have a copy available since we don't have Netflix, but they have a pretty good selection. Any recommendations?

Six weeks old, napping on MB.

>> I managed to prop up a book while Nico nursed for the first time today, so I may actually be able to read again instead of being limited to watching TV or surfing the internet via my phone while he eats. I started The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which is the March book for the Book Lushes. I've never once been invited to join a book club until now, so I'm super pumped about this one. It doesn't hurt that a bunch of my very favorite blog people are doing it, too.

>> One more thing, and then I think I need to stop. Does anyone have any really good oatmeal cookie recipes? I tried making these and even though the texture was fantastic, they were really bland. Then I made the oatmeal scotchies recipe from the back of the butterscotch chips bag, and they were tasty but a bit too crispy. And so, the search continues.

Oh, Lord, where has my tiny baby gone?

January 17, two days old