Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Yesterday Cricket and I went out shopping. As we headed into the first grocery store, a man stopped us in the parking lot and commented on Cricket. Yes, he's that cute. He looked at everything in the grocery store. He was awake and alert at the second store too. He loves Trader Joes, but I know that there'll be hell to pay later after all that over stimulation. He didn't let me down. But think about this: he's looking around at everything. Everything.

As we drove home with the windows open and I heard his little peeps from the backseat, I just started crying. And crying. And crying. The thing is, Cricket at (almost) three months is just so different from newborn Cricket. I'm so pleased he's growing and getting so much stronger. I want to have a sturdy boy, but oh my God. My newborn is not a newborn anymore. He looks more like a little boy every day.

And he's growing up. Why does this make me cry all over again? My little pup. One of our favorite things to do is take a bath. He loves the bath. And I love taking the bath with him. Someday it will be inappropriate for me to be in the bath with him, but I'll still supervise. And then someday after that, it won't be right for me to be there at all when he cleans himself. And all the little parts I take such care with now, cleaning him, massaging his lovely chubby legs-- I won't even see those parts. They won't be mine to see. How can my little boy ever get that big?

Sometimes I think we live so in the moment of parenting, we forget the aim. We obsess about getting him to sleep. Cleaning the laundry. Going to the doctor. Packing the diaper bag. Did we read enough to him today? Did he get adequate tummy time? Why is he crying? Should we get him out for a walk? Is it too cold? Too hot? Why (oh why oh why) won't he nap? And all those questions we ask ourselves, we forget about the larger meaning behind them. Why do I want to read to him? Why is it important he gets tummy time? I want to make all those neural connections and get him strong so he'll keep growing into a strapping little lad, and then into a well built man. It's the goal, per se, of motherhood and the fact that he's growing means we're doing our job.

The motherhood lark is a new type of job, eh? Because I desperately want to do a good job, but I'm so sad at the same time I'm happy to see it being done. I look forward to all the things we have in front of us, and there's so much. But then I think of the pile of clothes stacked upstairs in the bedroom. I try to put an outfit on him "one last time" before it retires. I can remember when these same clothes didn't fit him and he was swimming in them. It seemed he'd never fill out the smallest of onsies. And now he's bursting out of them. Pant legs that were once too long now only come to his knees. We might, with the help of God, have another child to wear some of these clothes once more, but Cricket will never again wear them. And while it's always happy to see the season turn, there's a certain sadness as we turn into the sun knowing the turning will continue until the day Cricket walks off on his into that same sun. And then I'm sure we'll watch with pride just as I'm sure as our tears fall.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Cricket's Guessing Game

Okay: Here's the way you can guess Cricket's name that allows me to not put it out on the internetz for every Tom, Dick, and creepy-ass Harry to know his identity. I don't know that I really think this is a problem, I'm just trying in a sad little way to protect his anonymity. I may change my mind about this sometime, but for now, our kid is Cricket.

YET, if you want to guess, send me an email with your best hypothesis. Include your blog link. If I recognize you and/or your blog, I'll confirm via email. But you must email it to me! Here's a link with my address.

I'll post the winners names with links to their blogs.

The Kiddio Recovereth

When I wrote my essays for nursing school, I thought it might be helpful to indicate what type of nursing I'd like to do. I think this approach worked because when I was interviewed, I was asked about my essays and my intended speciality. What did I say? Pediatric nursing.

Cricket is making me doubt it this week. I can hardly stand to hear him cough. How exactly did I (do I?) think that I could work in a PICU? Or children's oncology? I'm not saying I'm totally off the idea, but it's really heartbreaking to see a kid sick, and I knew all along he was going to get better. Get my gist?

The big news? He's sleeping, upstairs, in his swing. I am downstairs, at the computer. For the past four nights he has slept alone, albeit in his car seat, which I have placed into the co-sleeper. We strap him in and off he goes. While some sleep people/parents might say not to do this, I can't help but note that is far far safer than sleeping on us in a chair. He can sleep with the fucking car seat until he's ten. I don't care. Just sleep. Without me.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Cough Cometh

I don't type very well one handed. I'm slow and clumsy (yet still I think I am faster than my dad's two hands-- probably because I know where all the keys are.) In my senior year of college I tore a ligament in my right thumb (playing rugby) and wore a cast that came over my fingers. I mastered one handed typing then. I am wondering if I can get back some of my former dexterity. To really appreciate just how awful I am at this, I should leave my typos in. It's woeful. I can't tell you how many times I've typed a capital "O" for a capital "I." And it's taken me so long to type that, that I have started wondering why I am using the pronoun I so much. Me, me, me.

I'm blogging! while breastfeeding! But breastfeeding is a slight misnomer. It's more like light sucking which will need to be followed up by some serious pumping. Last night I couldn't get my breasts to shut off! After Cricket stopped eating, the breast just kept going, literally into the air. It was quite a sight to see.

But why isn't our Cricket eating so well? The previously ravenous Cricket is lackluster because he's sick. Sick, sick, sick. The poor pup has a nasty case of broncholitis most likely caused by the dreaded RSV. It started, sadly, on Saturday when we thought all he had was a modest cold. As you can see from the photos, we took him out anyway. Sunday he started feeling warm and axillary temps ranged from 99 too 100. Monday, a cough developed and a night call to the nurse line assured us that this probably meant he was getting better, but as dawn broke on Tuesday morning, it was obvious that getting better was the last thing he was doing. After eating, since he was still eating then, his cough was worse (probably because he was flat) and then the scary wheezing started. I called the vet, whoops, the pediatrician's office and discussed his wheezing with a nurse.

"I don't want to be a hysterical mother," I said to her. I was asked his temperature and admonished for not taking it rectally. (!!!) After imitating his wheeze, she told me to bring him in. How soon could I be there? "Well, I haven't taken a shower yet, but considering that are out of shampoo I could skip it and be there by 10:00."

"Come right over," she said. She told me to say "wheezing" to the receptionist and that would get a nurse right out there. She also told me to go to the "well child" waiting room. Previously I thought we were safe in that room, but apparently not...

Once at the doctor, I felt like he had stopped wheezing, but he brought it out just in time to show the doctor what I had heard. "You aren't being hysterical," he said to me. "He's sick alright." I asked if I was aggravating it by having him sleep on his chest on me, and assured the doctor that I was trying to get him to sleep on his own. The sweet doc, not my own, gently told me that no, I wasn't aggravating anything, and quite possibly I should abandon the sleep projects when he was sick. "Just let him sleep on you until he gets better." Like I wasn't doing that already.

Last night I set a two a.m. deadline: If he hadn't fallen asleep by then, a midnight call was in order because it was all kvetch-cry-wheeze-bark. He fell asleep at 1:45 and slept until about 8:00 am. And then he woke up, ate, and wow, did he ever wheeze hard core after that. His coughs were (are) quite spectacular-- resulting in a totally scary purple face. Accompanied by loud grunts, think female tennis player style, a la Monica Seles, it was really quite concerning. And there was some serious retraction happening, so I called the doc's office again, and again, they said, come right away. And since today he sounded 1000% worse than yesterday, I went even faster.

It's a virus and I know as well as anyone else that there's nothing to give a virus. Except, apparently, Albuterol. And a nebulizer. My sweet baboo did not like that mask over his face. Possibly it conjured up bad memories of the C-PAPP machine, but whatever the case, he coughed his way through his first treatment at the doctor office. It felt like I was gassing my own baby. And although he was still coughing when the doctor checked on us, she assured me he sounded better though the scope. I'm going to start insisting that I get to listen also. That, I'm sure, will really endear me to her.

The cricket is sleeping mostly, which is good because he doesn't wheeze as much in his sleep and coughs even less. I am concerned at the fact that he's not nursing as exuberantly, but hey, when I'm sick I don't really like to eat that exuberantly either.

Okay, that's it for now. I'm going to wrap him up and let him breath some of the moist spring air before the sun sets. And hope beyond hope that even though I had to BUY the damn nebulizer, I never ever have to use it at home.

Oh, and incidently, rectal temperature? Really my issue, not his because he could give a shit. Literally.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Happy Saint Patrick's Day-- A Day Late

I know you don't know Cricket's name, but let's just say that there are those who just cannot get his name right. ("Uh... Could you spell that?") Yesterday at the Detroit Irish festival no one had that problem. He was right at home with the other babies. He met a Sean, Siobhan, Liam, etc. He was the only one of his name. But everyone knew it. Here's our wee fella on the high holy day.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Sleep-- Who Needs It?

Well, here's a quick update on sleep: The kid knows how to sleep; he'll go sometimes five hours. Rare, but it happens. His first night shift is often four hours, and we'll take it. Sometimes when he wakes up to eat, he'll quickly go back to sleep. Others he wants to fuss and fuss and eat and eat, but okay-- he's only ten weeks old, five adjusted, so I think he's doing pretty well.

So what's the problem then? He still only sleeps in our arms curled up like a weevil on our chest. I know this is not "safe sleeping practice," but he wakes up almost instantly if we try to put him down in the co-sleeper, baby seat, swing, our bed, etc. I kid you not. He can be totally limp and once he goes down by himself, his eyes literally POP open and he cries. Cries and cries. It's no good.

And it's getting dangerous as he is starting to move more in his sleep. We need to get him to sleep alone. And soon. I'm reading The No-Cry Sleep Solution and considering consulting Moxie.

He slept for an hour alone this morning in his swing. Could I put him there at night and not have it swing? My suspicion is that he has reflux and therefore sleeping slightly elevated and on his stomach feels better. I can't blame him. I like sleeping on my stomach better too. But we don't dare put him on his stomach alone for fear of SIDS. And truthfully, he doesn't like being on his stomach on his own much as illustrated by tummy time kvetching. I'm thinking of trying to prop the co-sleeper "mattress" up a little and see if he likes that better.

Don't tell me to swaddle-- that just frustrates the shit out of him and he gets really pissed off when we swaddle him.

We also dream of being able to sleep together in the bed again soon, cuddling up to each other, because as much as we love our Cricket, we really love each other too and spooning was previously one of our favorite things to do. And as comfortable as the reclining chair in the bedroom is, it can't shake a stick at the bed. The glorious bed.


Believe It or Not

I just have to say every day I am loving this kid more. He makes little noises when he sleeps. He smiles at me. He has a fuzzy head. He looks like my partner. He rocks to music. My heart grows larger every moment. Oh, how I love him. And oh how scary is this new fierce heart of mine-- Oh how it would break if anything were to happen to him. My sweet Cricket. Is it normal to still not be able to believe he's here and he is ours? My sweet sweet babe.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

His Kiss Is on my List

I like to sing, and thus had visions of sweetly crooning lullabies to my baby while he drifted off to sleep in a rocking chair to be gently put down to sleep. All hopes dashed. First of all, our kid doesn't like to be put "down" to sleep. Just try it and his little lids pop open. He's no fool. He gets picked back up and voila, baby sleeps on mommies, exclusively. We asked at the pediatrician on Friday if we could perhaps try putting him down on his stomach, since perhaps it's back sleeping he hates. She advised against it.

He's a little gordito lately, gaining three pounds in one month. We have the world's largest Cricket. 11.3 pounds! I guess all the marathon nursing has paid off.

Also, with regard to the lullabies: Cricket is a rocker. He likes loud fast music and he goes right to sleep. Right now his favorites are: (I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles by The Proclaimers, Kiss on my List---Hall and Oates (and seriously, look at his kisser in that picture, his kiss is on my list!), Beast of Burden--Rolling Stones, 3 Rs--Jack Johnson, Yakety Yak-- The Coasters, Angelina Zooma Zooma-- Louis Prima, When You're Good to Mama, from the Chicago soundtrack, and finally (Night Time Is) The Right Time, Ray Charles. Pretty much if he can't fall asleep all I need to do is blast The Proclaimers followed by Jack Johnson. He loves it. If I as much try and sing something like "Golden Slumbers" (Beatles), he'll have none of it. The nights when he's the most kvetchy, I'd put him in the sling and head out for the nearest blues club where it not so smokey. If there were a non-smoking blues club, I might do it. But then again, wouldn't a non-smoking blues bar be antithetical? I think so...

For now, we're jamming in the house.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

The News Blues

This past Wednesday I was talking to my mom on the phone. When we were hanging up, I admitted I really wanted to get back to watching America's Next Top Model.

"I can't believe you watch stuff like that," she said.

"Neither can I," I replied.

Here commenced a thoughtful reverie on why I was watching such vapid television, and what I came up with is that it's an antidote to seeing the "news."

For example, this week alone I saw:
  • Women's torso found in family home: Detroit has been consumed by this story. When it first broke, I said it was the husband but was secretly hoping this women went AWOL with some lover in the Caribbean; after all one can get a bit squirrely in Michigan at this point in the winter. Like about every new story lately, I couldn't help but think about the kids, who were probably in the house when this happened. It makes me feel sick.
  • Two boys killed: Shot in the head. 12 and 13. In their own home. By men who were not supposed to be out of jail, but apparently the system messed up and they got out and on their brief furlough, managed to kill two young kids.
  • Two and half year old tortured: This is the one that put me over the edge. The news station showed video stills from the video the mother found of her boyfriend torturing her two and half year old son. They showed stills because the video was so disturbing. I can't imagine it being worse. They didn't mute the sound though, and the cries of this young child haunt me. At the time I was watching this, I was nursing our Cricket and just started crying. I couldn't stop. I had to hold my baby very very tight and wonder just what the fuck is wrong with people. I can't imagine how the mother of this child is feeling-- The man's excuse? He said that was how they "play." I pray for this child every night.
  • Anything Anna Nicole: Look-- this is tragedy. A little girl has no mother and is surrounded by some pretty cagey people who seem to leave a trail of slime behind them. It's sad. She's dead. Stop already.
  • I swear I heard on the news this morning about a guy trying to get his 2 and 5 year old nephews to smoke pot. And then there's that bus that went over the guardrails. And men breaking into houses to steal people's dogs. And the tornadoes down south. The whole VA scandal.
  • ... and this is just the national news? Never mind the international scene.

At the brunch I was at a few weeks ago, one of the moms there talked about how she can't watch the same things she could watch before having children. I don't think there is anything innate about motherhood that makes someone feel more or less, but I do know that my hormones right now are w-h-a-c-k-e-d out, and that stories like the above are hitting me harder. At my six week check up with the midwives, they gave me a little questionnaire, not diagnostic they were quick to say, about post-partum. A woman is a risk, it was noted, if she scored 13 or above. I scored a 9, which prompted my midwife to say we should just be watchful.

Watching the local news may just push a person past thirteen.

I don't think I'm PPD, but I've definitely had the blues for a large part of this week. We're making some efforts around here to change that. One: I have to get out of the house, everyday, for at least 15 minutes. I have a hard time leaving Cricket. Two: We have "Katie-Saturdays" where I hand off responsibility for the kid any time I want. Somehow this makes my time with him even better. Just knowing I can ask Partner to take him helps. And well, that's it for now. I'd like to come up with some things I can do that aren't dependent on money, since, well frankly, it's in short supply lately. I'm so ready for spring. We walked on Wednesday-- all of us-- and the therapeutic benefits can't be denied. My threshold for taking Cricket out is forty degrees plus/minus 3.

The television, even Top Model, doesn't help. It's all vapid and noisy. (I do wish, however, there was network where I could watch continuous Grey's Anatomy, Coronation Street, and Rome.)

If I can plan it, which let's face it, isn't likely, I would never have a kid in winter again. I'd shoot for March-- Only one month of blech weather left, not much RSV season left, flu waning, spring sprouting, the sun returning... The weather itself more predictable and thus I'd probably watch far less local news (since really I'm watching for the extended weather forecast to see if we're going to be able to go for walks). And then in my dream of having a baby at this time, far far less TV in general since we'd be spending all our time in a hammock in the shade, on a blanket in the park, or strolling leisurely with a lemonade through town... Don't tell me it's not that way if you did have your baby in the summer. Let a girl dream. It's all I have. Oh. That and Top Model.