Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Four Months

Today you are 4 months old.
There's no telling the amount of stop signs I've run or small items I've inadvertently stolen from the grocery store on account of sleep depravation. I sing your playmat songs in the shower and I hummed your bouncy chair song while pumping gas the other day. I eat every meal at lightening speed, even when you're asleep or when someone else is taking care of you. And I can now hear your first wake up noises from 500 paces.

But enough about me.

You are no longer a pet rock. You are now a person. One morning, the week after you turned 3 months old, you woke up and announced you were no longer going to stand idly by watching the world turn. You decided to become an active participant on the spot, and you haven't looked back. Except for when I'm nursing constantly look back to see what is behind you, in turn detaching from my boob, and proceeding to scream as though someone has ripped it away from you before you latch back on and start that whole process over again.
You are very smiley, so smiley that I can't believe sound doesn't come out yet. You strongly dislike being held like a "baby". You want to be upright viewing your surroundings. You have learned how to grab objects and bring them to your mouth, talk to your Dad and me as though you were truly having a conversation with us (and sometimes I think you're desperately trying to tell me all about God and heaven before you forget it all with age), and you finally rolled all the way over on Christmas day. There is no television too close or too big for your viewing, and I find no shame in the fact that I've propped you up in your Bumbo chair many evenings in front of the TV while I cook dinner. You love The Electric Company, and who wouldn't?
You are getting a little bit better at sleeping, though there's always room for improvement in this house. Some nights you require my attention a lot more than others, and just when I think I can't take it anymore you sleep for 8 hours. I usually stay awake from hours 6-8 wondering if you will ever wake up again when you do that.
You continue your ongoing rivalry with the parrot that hangs from your playmat. Today, for the first time, you chewed on its tail without sticking its wing in your eye. Victory! You practice overpowering parrot everyday and because of this, you've learned to grab on to many other toys and body parts (I won't name which one you've just discovered, but let's say it'll only be cute for another year or so). Some mornings you lay on the changing table and stare at your hands as though they are their own independent theatre group with a puppet show just trying to earn a few extra dollars on the Santa Monica Promenade. You cheer for them and coo with delight at their stories until you remember you're a baby and can't move on to the next show without my help.
You drool as though the president of the united states asked you to single-handedly solve the clean water crisis in Africa. It's incredible that you are not constantly dehydrated. And you produce more boogers than any anyone else I know. I don't know how those two talents combined will help you earn a living later in life, but if Johnny Knoxville can do it, I'm sure you'll be fine.
I love smooshing my face into your belly and watching you play in the morning; you always look bigger in the morning. I love bath time with you. I love lifting you up like Super Man and watching you smile all the way back down to Earth. There are still days when I feel some loss for the spontaneous life I used to live. I try to remind myself that it is inevitable: I will be able to eat out at a restaurant again without anxiety that you need me or that you're crying. I long for the ability to get in the car without speeding to my destination because you might start screaming in the back seat. I pray you learn that sleep is just as important as eating someday soon. That's just mom being honest.
You're my sky, bigger than life and always shining. I'm really proud to be your mom and I'm so grateful you chose me and your Dad. We may not always make the right choices, but we will try everything and anything it takes to make you happy and keep you healthy. I love you. Happy Four Months, Abey Baby.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Busting Out

I take everything back I said in the last blog. Abe busted out of his swaddle last night like a convict from prison. There was no getting him back in that thing. He ran like Shawshank Redemption until he hit freedom. And between being completely confused about his flailing limbs and my utter frustration as to what to do at 3am, no one slept. Don't have children. I'm exhausted.
Merry Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Why It's Not So Scary

So, it has come to my attention about 20 times in the past 3 months that I have succeeded in scaring the living crapola out of many a girlfriend. Suddenly they're terrified of becoming pregnant, giving birth, and raising children. You've heard of the Baby Boom? I'm a little concerned that my blog will single-handedly create the opposite phenomenon within my circle. So I give you:
Why It's Not So Scary
A Somewhat Sappy Explanation of How Much Better it is Than I Make it Out to Be on my Blog

  • Pregnancy was actually kinda fun, in hindsight. WHAT?! Yeah, I had a really hard pregnancy, but I also loved the changes my body went through. I felt much more primal, in touch with my cavewoman roots. Feeling him swim around in there isn't a feeling I miss, but it is a feeling I'm so grateful I experienced. And people are SO nice to you when you're pregnant. It's fun to see the brightest side of the human race for a few months.
  • Labor sucks. No getting around that. But the high you feel in the days after delivering is unlike anything you can possibly imagine. Way better than the high I felt after taking that glaucoma medicine in college...
  • I am now completely used to getting up in the middle of the night. Only about 1 night out of 7 do I run into a wall or trip up the stairs anymore. The other nights I'm sort of excited to go up and see Abe. WHAT?! Who said that? Yep. He's really cute in the middle of the night. Plus, he's only waking up between one and two times and since my husband takes the second shift, it's no big deal.
  • My life is completely different, it's true, but I still get to take long showers a few times a week and once Abe turned about 2.5 months old, he was cool to hang out with me in the bathroom while I got ready. Different day, different bouncy chair.
  • The attention isn't all on me anymore. Some might find it shocking that I consider this a perk, but I love that I don't have to make stupid small talk with people anymore. Everyone just immediately locks on to Abe and all I have to do is stand there and hold him repeating his name, age, and how many hours he sleeps in a row.
  • I sit outside Abe's bedroom sometimes while his Dad gives him a bottle listening to Abe chat. He tells his Dad all kinds of secrets at night and just recently started grabbing his Dad's face. It was so cool it almost made me cry. It's gross, but I'm totally becoming that mom.
  • I ALWAYS have an excuse to go to bed early and no one questions me. I also have an excuse to stay in my pajamas until 1:30 and again, no questions. 
  • After watching my body expand and contract, I'm much less hard on myself. No, my body is no where close to what it was before Abe, but I'm ok with it. I mean, my body grew a person and that makes it so much more than just something to look at (or something I'm concerned others are looking at). 
  • Breastfeeding, while killer at first, is actually a lot of fun now. I don't have to warm up a bottle or even hold a bottle for him to eat. I don't have to constantly check to see if a bottle is empty while Abe is eating so that he doesn't start sucking air. And I don't ever have to carry anything with me for him to eat. Plus, we only have a total of 4 bottles. I can handle cleaning four bottles. And did I mention breastfeeding burns 500 calories a day? Let's just say I take FULL advantage of this fact.
  • I never have to go through the first 3 months of my first born's life again. And now that it's over, it's much easier for me to look at other new moms and say, "If you're having trouble, please know that it gets so much better if you just hold on to hope."And I know if there is ever an Abe 2.0, it won't be as hard or scary.
If I could ask for one part of my old life back, it would be the 45 minutes I used to dedicate to reading at the end of everyday. I desperately miss reading and I feel fierce jealousy and resentment when my friends tell me about a book they just read. But right now, sleep is too precious.
So fear not my fine feathered friends. It is the most challenging thing you will ever do in your life, but it gets easier and more fun everyday.  I still have mornings that I stare in the mirror and wish I had my old life back, and that's when I turn to my girlfriends who have experience and wisdom to share. And if you need a girlfriend with experience and wisdom to share, consider me yours. We all have to pass it on.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Just a little update. We're approaching the four month feels like we're getting ready to send him off to college.

Abe is aware enough now that when he's pissed off it can no longer be attributed to random baby pissed-off-ed-ness. He is actually trying to tell me specific things that aggravate him or make him sad. And I actually have to try and respond appropriately. Prior to 3 months, I could chalk it up to, "Babies cry. Who knows why?" But infancy is a slow rise to toddlerhood for a reason: the stakes grow higher an inch at a time until your 2 year old is screaming, "JUMP WOMAN!" and you're sobbing, "HOW HIGH???"

The cloak of anxiety that shrouded me for three months began to lift several weeks ago and I emerged my old self. For a while. But in the past few days it's back with new and improved cloakiness. Now that Abe recognizes me from farther away, I can see when he is looking at me from someone else's arms, as if to say, "I don't understand why you would leave me. Was I not a good baby? I tried, mother, I really tried." I set him down in his bouncy chair and he immediately checks to be sure I'm still there. I lay him down on his playmat and he squirms until he can clearly see my face. I sneak into his room to give him his pacifier and I duck and run out so he can't see me when he inevitably opens his eyes to ask, "Who's here?" This becoming more aware stuff was fun for a few weeks and now it's caused me to be glued to my baby the way I was in the beginning!!

On the flip side, he stores up new tricks to display several at a time one day. He can back-scoot (push with his feet so that he can scoot around the floor on his back), lean his head back to check out what's behind him while on the changing table, and even reach out to try and grab things. The grabbing skills are not yet mastered and often lead to a screech of disapproval, typically directed at the parrot that hangs from his playmat. He and that cunning parrot have a rivalry to last the ages. Damn parrot always slipping from his shaky grasp...

I am so looking forward to the next big milestones of thumb-sucking (so I don't have to put that freakin' pacifier back in his face every 5 minutes) and upper torso control so I can stick him in one of those exersaucers things while I have a beer and do some yoga.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Two Pieces

The one good thing about infertility is that I can exactly pinpoint the time that I went from not pregnant to pregnant. And it was one year ago today that Abraham was one little piece of me and one little piece of David looking for each other so they could shake hands. It was one year ago this week that those two little pieces found each other and created the little guy I hang out with everyday.

One short year later, I'm having these conversations with my husband...

David: I need you to take him while I send an email.

Erin: You can hold him and send an email at the same time.

David: Well, I need to be able to type.

Erin: I do it all day. You can do it.

David: He also has a dirty diaper though so can you just...

Erin: You should change him then, too.

David: Harumph.

OH how those two little strangers completely changed our lives. :)
Love you, husband.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Who am I?

There are pros and cons to getting through the first 3 months with a baby and choosing not to donate him to a worthy cause.
Pro - You get to see him start smiling and cooing and learning to grab toys and all kinda of other neat little milestones.
Con - You think all these milestones are the most incredible things you've ever seen which means you no longer know who you are anymore. "Incredible" used to include Broadway shows and hurricanes, but now "he found his own feet" will suffice.

I'm a completely different person than I was just a short time ago. When Abe was a few weeks old and sleeping just an hour or two at a time, people told me that as soon as he started sleeping longer I wouldn't be able to sleep. I laughed in many a face over this one. Really? You think so, huh? After months of not sleeping because of a little, screaming monster, I'm going to get a straight 6 hours and decide to stay awake?
They were right.
Now I sit up waiting for him if he isn't up by 2am (which is often lately). I stare at the clock wondering when he's going to get up. And then I start asking myself, "Is he breathing?" Why wouldn't he be breathing?! "Maybe I should check the monitor." So I fumble around and turn on the video monitor and stare in the darkness to see if I can see his chest rise and fall or hear his breath. It's completely sick. Then, if and when I do fall asleep, I spend the entire time DREAMING that I'm really AWAKE and frustrated that I can't sleep so that when I do wake up it takes me 20 minutes to realize I actually DID get some rest.

After one sleepless night in particular, I decided we needed a real plan of action. Abe is three and a half months old...he should be sleeping 5-6 hours straight without waking up for a pacifier or a quick look at mom every 45 minutes. I decided to "sleep learn." This is a sort of cry-it-out method that allows you to comfort your child while still helping them learn to sleep without your assistance. By about 4 months of age, most babies are developmentally ready to sleep on their own, and mommy is DEFINITELY ready. I read an entire book that a lovely friend recommended and got all of my sleep learning tools together. We will begin sleep learning in the middle of January.
And then, last night happened. No, Abe didn't sleep all night and change my mind. He did the opposite of sleeping. He was up almost every hour. And I was exhausted. And while nursing him at about 2am, do you know what I thought to myself? "If we start sleep learning next month, by the end of January, I won't see him in the middle of the night anymore. Maybe we should wait until 6 months to sleep learn." Wait. What?! Who said that??? WHY WOULD I WANT TO STAY UP ALL NIGHT FOR ANOTHER 2 MONTHS? AND WHO IS TRYING TO CONVINCE ME I SHOULD?!?!

Having babies does really weird things to you.