Monday, October 30, 2006
Caffeine? Maybe. I had a coffee and a diet coke yesterday, one of them late enough in the day to keep me up for a while when I went to bed. I won't be doing that again.
Eight week picture
Today we walked around Green Lake, a local lake with a three mile walking track and various playgrounds, ballfields, and other recreational areas. While we were there I was amused to see a huge, shaven-headed, ear-pierced, scary-looking dude, wearing a World Wrestling Foundation sweatshirt, walking from his car to the playground while proudly carrying what must have been his daughter's Dora the Explorer red plastic purse. Because when you look like that, who's going to mess with you? Carry any kind of purse you want, dude.
Sofia slept through the walk, mostly, but I was happy to just get all the way around the lake. Last week I started working out in earnest again for the first time since the surgery, spending a few hours on the treadmill downstairs. It's been about five months since I've really worked out, after three years of keeping up a pretty consistent routine, and I must say that I'm shocked at how far I've slipped - a half hour on the treadmill was totally kicking my @#$%, and a three mile walk at a decent clip is much harder than it ought to be. It's going to be quite a while before I'm jogging again, I think.
That's a little depressing.
Monday, October 23, 2006
More importantly, she celebrated her seven week birthday by sleeping seven straight hours last night -- and the night before, AND the night before that. Wow, are we happy campers. She's now sleeping from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. pretty reliably. I hope it lasts!
And her closeup:
Hopefully that's it. No raccoons, but we all know they're too smart to fall for fruit loops.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
This morning was the kind of morning where Sofia was so perfectly wonderful that I could rent her out to childless and ambivalent couples to help them decide that maybe they do want children.
What was so perfect?
- First (and most important) -- for the second night in a row, she slept for five hours straight, skipping the 2 a.m. feeding all together. Hallelujah! This means that I feed her around 9, Brett gives her a midnight feeding, and I get to sleep all the way from 10 p.m. until she wakes up around five a.m. This is pretty much a full night's sleep for me, or close enough to one. When it happened yesterday I assumed it was a fluke, but now that we have two nights in a row I'm hoping it's a new trend. We'll see!
- Second, I woke up well rested and at 8:30 a.m. she was STILL ASLEEP, allowing me to actually have breakfast before she woke up. This almost never happens, relegating me to spending the first 45 to 90 minutes of the day starving to death while we feed and diaper and settle ourselves down into her morning routine before I can sneak away downstairs and grab some food. Today was much better.
- Third, when she did wake up, she didn't cry - she just laid contentedly in her crib blinking sleepily and waving her arms around until I picked her up. And then she SMILED and SMILED and SMILED at me all through her diaper change.
There is nothing in the world like the feeling when your baby starts deliberately and purposefully smiling at you as if you were the most delightful and joy-inducing thing in the world.
- Fourth, she settled down on the bed to play a long game of "let's have a conversation" with me -- she coos, I coo back, she gaahs, I gaah back. I've now heard pretty much all the vowel sounds from her, and more consonants every day - she's mastered the letter l, is working on m and g, and occasionally makes a few others. Her process of acquiring language and practicing speech is fascinating to me. During this game, she also realized that some of the faces I make at her are really funny, and rewarded me by laughing. See above for how good this feels, too.
After all this sweetness and light, we went on a long walk to the drugstore, and because I needed to rest before the return trip home (darn operation - still in pain), we went to a coffee shop and had a latte. And I was sitting there in a comfy armchair sipping my warm, frothy beverage, Sofie napping in her stroller next to me, and I was staring at her face between reading pages of a magazine feeling utterly calm and content, and suddenly I felt a moment of perfect and complete happiness, as if the heavens had opened up and bathed the whole room in a golden glow while an unseen choir sang.
Life is perfect. It's so nice to get completely bowled over by that once in a while.
I went to the first session of a mothers group I joined yesterday, and realized while I was there how incredibly well Brett and I are really doing at this parenting thing. While not everything is easy, we really do have a remarkably low key baby here; several of the other women were talking about how they can never put their baby down long enough to read their email, how much the baby screams every night, how they or their spouses are fighting a lot, and (most often) how their husbands are too afraid to handle the baby to be much help.
That is not true in our case. Brett is not only not afraid to handle her, he delights in making her "fly" and doing other acrobatic feats with her, dances and sings with her, can diaper change like a pro, and is getting better and better at getting her to sleep when she's tired.
When I said that Brett takes the baby for a couple hours every night to let me go to bed early, there was an audible gasp in the room, and many envious looks. My husband is now the rock star of the mommy's group, the one everyone there wishes they were married to. And boy did that make me appreciate everything he's doing.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
And now we're in the nasty part of this business where it's daytime and these poor nocturnal creatures are stuck outside in the rain in scary steel cages while we WAIT and WAIT and WAIT for the critter control team to come pick them up. I'm not even THINKING about the fact that this is probably a mother and her baby who are in separate traps out there.
Nope, not thinking about it. LALALALALA. I can't hear you, thoughts.
Even though I know nothing good is going to happen to them after they get picked up, I can't help feeling like I should go out there and at least cover the cages up with towels so that they don't get rained on all day.
I won't. But I want to.
Last time we caught an opposum in a cage, a few years back, I ended up going out and feeding it cat treats while we waited, something Brett has never let me live down. But it was scared, and tiny, and kind of cute. If they'd just stay out of my house!!!
I don't exist.
According to this tool there are, however, 300 people with the last name of Shult, my maiden name. Which sounds just about right. Both Zalkan and Shult are rare names that are either derivatives of what the family name was in the old country (Zalkan), or completely made up by enterprising immigrants who wanted a name that sounded "more American" (Shult).
Given that, pretty much everyone in the US with either name is a relative. Which is handy if you do genealogy, as I sometimes do - not too many false hits to sort out, unlike when you research a name like Barlow, my mother's maiden name, which is basically seen in England with the frequency of the name Smith here. Yikes. Every time I start delving into that side of the family I'm brought to a complete standstill.
The site also claims that there are no other people named Megan Shult, though, and I know I've got a distant cousin in California named that. So I'm not incredibly impressed with its accuracy.
Still, fun toy. :)
Sunday, October 15, 2006
So I've taken to reading crappy thrillers. Easier to keep track of, easier to digest in my sleep-addled state. Which leads me to the Worst Book Ever, which I just finished this morning at five a.m. while I was waiting to make sure the little one was really asleep before going back to bed myself.
The Righteous Men, by Sam Bourne. Good lord, what a piece of trash that was. I bought it because it was written up in a fairly enticing way in the flyer from a small bookstore I really like, so I thought it might be worth it. But within the first chapter I was calling out to Brett things like, "Oh, you've got to hear this sentence!" and "Listen to this!" Not good. It's full of unlikeable characters, endless cliches, and some of the strangest sentences ever.
Here's my favorite, this odd little simile which ends a chapter early in the book:
"He slid from his hiding place like meat from a sandwich."
Meat? From a sandwich? When does meat slide out of a sandwich? And how would getting pulled out of a coat closet by a thug feel/look/be just like that?
Saturday, October 14, 2006
He lives in her activity gym, one of multiple toys that dangle from the pair of arches that crosses over a play mat. Each morning, after we wake up and change the diaper and eat and practice talking for a while, we go play with the gym. I place her on her back and she scans the gym until she finds her friend the dragonfly and then she shouts out a baby greeting to him with a big delighted grin on her face.
"AAAAAAAAH!" she says, gesticulating wildly. Then they commune for fifteen minutes or so.
The dragonfly bops along to the music and grins down at her.
The other toys in there excite her to some degree. Oh sure, she likes the butterfly well enough, and the purple spinny thing is entertaining and all, but they're not a dragonfly, after all.
It's very, very sweet.
Friday, October 13, 2006
- Shooed a racoon away from our open cat door at about 8:30 last night - he was outside looking in when Phoenix noticed him and hissed. Good kitty.
- Come upstairs from the basement an hour later to find a small possum making a hasty exit from our kitchen. Yikes.
- Woke up this morning to find the brute pictured below, our newest guest cat, fast asleep in our bedroom.
This hulk of cat (he must be twenty pounds) is Sebastian. We know his name from his collar, and know his owners a bit since they're the parents of four month old twins and live down the street and around the corner. He's now, apparently, the third of our resident aliens -- in the tradition of Indiana Jones and then Trooper. (Oh, and also Gelato, our vacation cat. And Caesar, from Sun Mountain. Good lord, this happens a lot.) What distinguishes him from those two is that he seems to be a little nicer - no fights, no mess. He just wants to hang.
Why does this keep happening to us? If it's karma, is it good (we're good people, animals want to hang with us) or bad (we're being punished by the animals of the world by their constant intrusions into our house)?
On the possum/racoon front, this is bad news. We're obviously going to have to call critter control again about the possum, at least, and maybe the racoon. Brett has been fighting this a bit, because it's an unpleasant business, this animal removal thing, but the wildlife intrusions are becoming a nightly event and leaving the cat door locked shut forever isn't a great solution for us since two of our cats live primarily outdoors and need to come in to feed.
On the Sebastian front, the jury is out. He's a pretty amiable fella, so far, so he may get a free pass to hang out, IF the other cats accept him. Sebastian's owners, who I inevitably run into when we're both out with our stroller-bound infants, tell me that he lives in a lot of houses around here. "We went to a dinner party at the house of a neighbor who we'd never visited before," the father told me, "and when we arrived there was Sebastian, asleep on their couch."
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Where am I again?
To be honest, this trip was more a nice getaway for me than it was anything she noticed or participated in. I'm a zoo member, so it's free, and it's just down the street, and the weather was gorgeous out today - so I decided that instead of taking our usual neighborhood walk, we'd go walk around the zoo.
The zoo, on a weekday, is full of moms and toddlers. The tigers seemed to be watching the procession of snack-sized youngsters with an especially hungry gleam in their eyes:
My ulterior motive for going to the zoo was that I was going to try nursing her while I was there, the first time I've nursed outside the house. I've been slowly easing into getting less uptight about this - when Marilyn was here I experimented with just casually nursing with her in the room, which was fine. Now, since Sofie's finally gotten the hang of nursing, I decided it was time to try discretely feeding her in the outside world, because Sofia and I will be a lot more mobile if it's possible for me to do this from time to time. The zoo seemed like a pretty low key place to try this kind of thing out, since there were mothers and babies everywhere.
It wasn't exactly modesty stopping me from trying this for the last six weeks as much as it was the fact that Sofie and I just hadn't gotten this whole nursing thing down yet. It's one thing to quickly and competently nurse your kid in public and another entirely to try it when you're both still struggling to latch and relatch and position and reposition, etc.
(Side note: It's way harder than you might think, this nursing stuff - I don't know how the human race has survived this far if it's this tough for everyone. Or maybe Sofia and I are just hopeless cases. Her doctor pronounced her a "disorganized sucker" at a few weeks old, and me a "total spaz." Ok, the former is a true diagnosis, but the latter is not. But still.)
I'm happy to report that today's experiment went fine. We found a nice, out of the way bench facing away from foot traffic, covered up with a blanket, and had a nice nosh. No one paid us the least attention, and there was really almost nothing to see. Sofia seemed to find it fascinating that we were doing this outside -- when I burped her she held her little head up under her own power for several minutes so she could stare at the people going by -- and I felt completely inconspicuous and surprisingly comfortable.
And one final picture -- an orangutan checking me out:
Yesterday, when she did it again out of the blue, I barely blinked an eye. Sure, I moaned a little when she was up for all but two hours the night before and then stayed up and skipped both her morning and afternoon naps, but I didn't worry about it. I knew that it was just a thing that happens to some babies around growth spurts, and would most likely be followed by one of my favorite things - an Extremely Tired Baby day. Which came today.
I feel -- calm. Almost competent.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Having recently acquired an infant myself, I now know that "sleeping like a baby" more accurately involves:
- Sleeping for an hour here, an hour there, accompanied by random shrieks and grunts and groans that sometimes sound like a pack of wild dogs
- Falling asleep any variety of places but waking up shrieking when someone tries to move you into your comfy bed, where you become instantly awake
- Picking random days on which you are not going to sleep at all
All in all, I'd rather sleep like a middle aged person - able to fall asleep at the drop of the hat, especially in front of the television, and always happy for the opportunity to nap.
Monday, October 09, 2006
We spent a mellow weekend, watching movies, going out for sushi, and taking long walks around the neighborhood. Oh, and holding hands with the baby:
Today, Marilyn and I drove Sofia over to Redmond to visit her daddy at work. Watching Brett show off his baby to his coworkers was lots of fun - he's so, so, SO proud of this beautiful little girl. I was hoping to go visit my coworkers in my building after, but decided to save that for another day when Sofia made it clear that it was nap time.
We saw Marilyn off to the airport this afternoon, and are looking forward to seeing her again for this year's cookie party, in a few months.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Why am I bothering? Because I'm obsessive compulsive. And because the baby is asleep.
I have 300 out of about 500 posts tagged now. 200 to go.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
"With as well as she's gaining weight, don't worry about waking her up every three hours at night to eat," the doctor said.
Hahaha. As IF we'd been doing that! Believe me, the nights when she decides to sleep four or more hours, we throw a little party.
She got a shot today and was so outraged that she turned a shade of beet red (as demonstrated in her four week portrait at left, but redder and angrier) I've never seen on a human being before. I think Brett will have to find a way to come along to next month's checkup when she gets five vaccination shots in a row. No way am I taking the blame for that set of events all by myself.
And, just as a point of interest, to hear Garrison Keillor reading a poem by our pediatrician, Ted McMahon, click here. (If that won't work, click this page and scroll down to Sunday, October 1st.)