New Mama Musings

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I'm Henry Holden...

Who the hell are you?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Latest Developments

Henry has reached a few new milestones. He's busy. Try to keep up:
  1. He's begun holding his hands together in front of him and studying them carefully...which makes him cross-eyed.
  2. He juts his entire lower lip out when he's upset. This is accompanied by watering eyes, and folks, there's not much I wouldn't do to make Henry happy again when I see that face.
  3. He can now roll over. Not even three months old and he's on the move. We first witnessed it last Friday, when every time my husband put him on his stomach he would immediately flip to his back as though he had a spring on his tummy. A few days later Henry was chilling on his back in his crib with Pooh bear, and when I checked on them after a few minutes they were both on their stomachs. Very suspicious.
  4. He's finding his thumb with regularity now and uses it to soothe himself to sleep. Just this morning I put him in his crib so I could brush my teeth, and when I came back to get him he was fast asleep with his thumb in his mouth. Yay for opposable thumbs!
  5. He's started laughing and there's no predicting what will do it for him. And something that was funny thirty seconds ago will cease to amuse him when tried again. I wish I could replicate his laugh for you. It kind of sounds like, "Heh heh heh. Heh heh." Did I give birth to Butthead?
And you're up to date.

Friday, October 21, 2005

New Mama's Favorite Things

With no apologies to Oprah, whose favorite things are frivolous and merely feed the consumer spending machine, here are a few items that my husband and I have found to be really helpful in taking care of a new baby:

  • The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D. Dr. Karp's philosophy is that the first three months of a baby's life are really like the fourth trimester, and thus to be soothed babies need to have their womb environment re-created for them as much as possible. This involves what he calls the "five S's" -- swaddling, side-lying, sucking, shh sounds, and swinging. This stuff really works.
  • The Miracle Blanket. Henry, as we've learned, likes to have his hands up by his face, and when his arms are pinned to his side he will fight to get them free. None of our blankets worked well for swaddling him...until we got this one. He looks pretty cute all wrapped up like a baby burrito.
  • Fuzzi Bunz diapers. We've been doing the cloth diapering thing, and it's been going well, thank you very much. However, Henry does not like to feel the least bit wet, so sometimes it seemed as though we were changing him every five minutes. Actually, sometimes we were. And then we discovered Fuzzi Bunz. They're what's called a pocket diaper -- an outer layer of waterproof fabric and an inner layer of moisture-wicking fleece. There's a slit at the back for you to put in whatever kind of absorbent insert you want. Once we started this routine, Henry was able to go the whole night without a diaper change. Blessed, blessed sleep.
  • The New Native Baby Carrier. The first time I tried this Henry immediately stopped crying and fell asleep. Totally worth the $40. Of course, he's now too big to comfortably lie in the cradle hold position, but as he gets older I can use the New Native for the hip carry.
  • Mother of Eden Stay Dry Breast Pads. Okay, so this one is more for me than for Henry, but until I found these I was leaking everywhere. I don't know about you, but like Henry, I HATE feeling wet. These are comfortable and keep me feeling dry -- and no surprise wet spots while out at the grocery store.
And there you have it -- a few things to make life with a wee one a whole lot nicer.

P.S. What does it say about the Oprah empire that this Blogger's spell-checker questions the word "blog" but skips right over "Oprah"?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Love Means Never Letting Him Cry It Out

Well, I must officially be a parent, because one of my parenting choices has already been criticized. By my own mother, no less.

Henry and I have been going to visit my parents once a week, and every time we're there my mom asks, "So, do you ever put him down on a blanket on the floor?" My response has been, "Yes, sometimes, but he doesn't put up with it for long."

After going through this little verbal dance last week, my mom, who was holding Henry, said, "Your mommy is spoiling you...but that's okay."

Gee Mom, thanks.

I'd like to know exactly what she'd have me do. Leave the ten-week-old on the floor crying so he'll toughen up and learn to like it?

And there goes my whole childhood, flashing before my eyes.

Sometimes Daddy's Love Takes Henry By Surprise

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up, Folks

Actual conversation between my husband and his unmarried, childless co-worker:

Co-worker: The thing about having kids is that it's really stressful.
Husband: Well, I don't know if I'd say stressful, exactly.
Co-worker: But it's not stress-free.
Husband: No, that's true. Especially with a new baby -- the crying can really get to you.

~pause in conversation~

Co-worker: And when they have to do something about that, right?

Friday, October 14, 2005

You Are My Sunshine

If this picture doesn't make you smile, well, then, I just feel sorry for you.

Monday, October 10, 2005

All Apologies

Once upon a time I was a nanny for a family with a seriously screwed up mom. I won't go into details; suffice it to say that I still worry about the long-term mental health of those kids.

One of the few good things to come out of that job was getting to know the stay-at-home mom who lived a few doors down. Jennifer was pretty much everything this other woman was not as a parent, and probably as a human being. (Think I'm exaggerating? The stories I could tell...)

Jennifer extended breast-fed, homeschooled, co-slept and treated her children with respect. She was my introduction to attachment parenting, though I didn't know it at the time.

I'd held many nanny and babysitting jobs, spent a lot of time with my nieces and nephews, and lived with a man with three kids, but I had never come across this term. And although I could see that Jennifer had an amazing bond with her children, her methods struck me as radical.

I mean, her two-and-a-half year old was still breastfeeding. She was homeschooling, and not for religious reasons. And the whole family slept in the same bed.

When I saw their mattress on the floor (with no bedrooms for the kids), I have to admit, I thought it was kind of weird. Parents and children, sleeping together -- mass hysteria!

And then I had Henry.

I'm not saying Henry will never sleep in his own bed (we have a crib for him, despite Jennifer's warning that we won't use it), but so far I can't imagine him being all by himself in a big ol' bed down a dark hallway.

When he wakes up for a night feeding I know because I feel him rooting against my chest, not because his crying comes over the monitor. When he whimpers in his sleep I'm there to pat his bottom and make soothing noises. And nothing, I mean, nothing, is sweeter than a baby nestled up next to you, tummy to tummy, half-smiling in his sleep.

And so this is the part of the blog entry where I bow down before Jennifer and apologize.

I didn't know, Jen. I just didn't know.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

My Little Thumb-Sucker

Henry's been sucking his thumb for several weeks now. He can't always find it on the first try (he flails his arms in the general direction of his head until he makes contact), but we think it's pretty clever that he finds it at all.

Until he gags on it, of course. That part's not so clever.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Lullaby, and Goodnight.

Lately I've been trying to recall the limited number of lullabies in my repertoire to share with Henry. As I was singing The Mockingbird Song (Hush, Little Baby) the other day I realized that this song is seriously messed up.

I mean, first they're telling the baby to be quiet and they'll buy him something, which is just bad parenting in my opinion. But none of the things on the list are anything a baby would care about anyway, aside from the dog named Rover. (And really, that name has been done to death.)

But then apparently Rover is useless if he doesn't bark. Anyone with a little baby knows that a barking dog is the last thing you need around the house.

And what's the deal with the redundancy? A goat for pulling, a cart and bull, and horse and cart? Why so many modes of transportation? What exactly are they trying to haul?

Finally, even if none of these items the baby didn't care about to begin with work out, he'll "still be the best little baby in town." What? What exactly is the connection here? And why just in town? Does this include the outlying suburbs? How big is this place?

And if, say, the looking glass doesn't break, what does this mean for the baby's ranking?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Chunky Monkey

Henry had his two-month check-up today. He's 15 pounds and 24 & 3/4 inches long. The nurse said he was literally off the charts.

That's pure vegan breastmilk, baby.