Archive | July 2009

Things Babies Like

I admit it – I’m a list person. I think, act, and speak in lists. This is evidenced in the fact that about 33% of my spoken sentences begin, “First of all…” There usually isn’t a second and rarely a third, but no one really calls me out on it. Anyway, this list has been formulating in my mind for a while. It’s two lists actually: surprising things babies like (or, “don’t mind”… In my book, not screaming baby = happy baby) and surprising ones they don’t like.
We’ll start with the list of likes/don’t really mind. (First of all.)
1. ceiling fans. WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH CEILING FANS? It’s an infant addiction. Is it me, or does looking at one for longer than seven seconds give me a swirling dizzy headache? Not sure what the deal is there.
2. being naked. His eyes get wide and there’s something in the look that says, “I’m free!” But then again if I lived in diapers 24/7 I’d be pumped too.
3. drool gushing from the mouth. There are sundry reasons for infants crying, but I’ve never heard of “need to itch saliva dribbling from mouth but cannot” as one. Amazingly. Would that not drive you crazy? Someone told me their sense of touch doesn’t develop there yet…sounds sketchy but who knows?
4. being outside. Maybe it’s my little future landscaper, but it doesn’t matter that our backyard “view” is a vinyl garage, or that he was just screaming bloody murder. Just take him outside and all is well.
5. striped shirts. Must be the contrasts.
6. the vaccuum. This is of course well-documented, but still fascinating. The same machine that sends cats and dogs fleeing for dear life puts hysterical babies to sleep in mere minutes.

Don’t like :
1. any of the above objects listed, once an amount of time has passed (varying). In baby books it’s called “overstimulization,” but what it means in layman’s terms is that an object that has just been a profound sense of enjoyment and fun can very quickly and dramatically become terrifying. You’re tempted to think, “Well, just stop looking at the ceiling fan/smiling giraffe, etc.” But as I told Todd it’s sort of the equivalent of the infant car accident: you just can’t look away.
2. the ice machine. Since baby Sam, the ice machine (used at the wrong time) has been the cause of more marital fights than anything else. I think he feels like the walls are crashing down on him.
3. silence. Confession: I’ve been tempted to keep the shower running after I got out to prolong a nap. Don’t worry, I didn’t.
And the final few, in no particular order.
4. getting burped.
5. pooping. It is VERY hard work!
6. garbage day.
Now, admittedly I have one (1) child and I have been his mother for two and a half months. This list may be somewhat specific. I’d love to know some of yours!

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Survey Says…

Results of the last poll are in. Looks like babies and pre-schoolers are the most fun! Both were tied for first place. In a close second was the next youngest age of 5-7. Poor middle and high schoolers didn’t even get one vote. As if those ages weren’t rough enough already.
For the next poll only the married population can respond. I want to know, “Where did you meet your spouse?” But look at it this way, singles, you can see a highly reliable and far-reaching sample to show you where to spend your time! (That was sarcasm. Only 8 people answered the last poll question. I’m just going to assume the other hundred of you readers don’t like kids.)

Favorite Thing of the Week

Okay, favorite thing of the week, July 27…this tremendously under-rated “reality” show is the best thing on TV right now! It shows on FoodTV Sunday nights at 9:00. Twelve real live people have competed for their own show on the Food Network. What I love about this show, besides the obviously embarassing fact that I love food so much that when I’m not eating it I’m watching it, is two things.
1. The contestants are likable, interesting, and nice to each other. This is in stark contrast to the overt viciousness of the slutty girls on “The Bachelor,” or even the fake best-friendship of American-Idol contestants. On “The Next Food Network Star,” contestants help, listen to, and are kind to each other. Furthermore, unlike most shows where you just HATE that so-and-so got kicked off when someone obviously less pretty/talented/etc still remainds, in this one, I am PUMPED about the two finalists. Melissa, a stay-at-home mom, makes fantastic unique food and has Rachel Ray’s peppiness without her annoying New York accent. The other guy, Jeffrey, is just plain likable. He’s humble, kind, and knows his stuff. I’m rooting for Melissa but would watch either.
2. This show has done for cooking what “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” has done for construction: taken a conventionally gender-specific topic and made it appealing to the other side. In “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” they’ve done it by adding a hefty dose of emotional appeal. In “The Next Food Network Star,” it’s gotta be the competition. But this is all a long way of saying that my husband LOVES this show. Tune in next Sunday to see who wins!

I’m just a normal blogger after all… (Highlights of this Week)

No offense to you other bloggers, but when I started the blog I had some high ambitions. While most family blogs chronicle vacations and chart development milestones, I planned mine to be a bit more lofty. Sure your kid rolled over, but wouldn’t you like to hear an eloquent opinion on the health care plan? (It stinks, by the way.) I mean I was an English major…writing has to have significance, and import.
I’m rethinking my plan for a few reasons. The first is that quite frankly it’s just been one of those weeks. I’m lucky I have clean underwear on. Having the energy to formulate something interesting and relevant to share? Come on.
But secondly, and more importantly, I guess I’ve realized the glory of the “mundane.” Because with Sam, even the mundane is beautiful. It’s been a big week for Sam. He’s 10 weeks old now, and lots of things have happened this week to show he’s really growing. They’re small, and they may not matter to anyone else but I can’t resist; here are a few:

– He can hold his head up on his own!
– Growing up as someone whose closest friends were stuffed animals (sad, I know) I was particularly excited about this one: Sam bonded this week with a new friend. He is a mule whose name is – wait for it – SamMule. Thanks to Aunt Marci for this awesome find. I have a great video on my phone of Sam trying to eat his nose. I figure that means something pretty special in infant-talk.
– On a related note, Sam has (I breathed a deep sigh of mommy relief) achieved the typical two month milestone of attempting to “bat” at objects in front of him – in this case, SamMule’s hoof. Still hasn’t quite grabbed on effectively, but let’s be honest, if I’d like to keep wearing earrings that’s probably better anyways.
– Sam slept through the night! For real this time. Dinner at 8:30, to bed, and didn’t make a peep until 5:00, when, I must confess, my motherly concern (also known as sinful, irrational worry) got the best of me and I woke him up accidentally on purpose. I’m curious how much more beautiful rest he could have enjoyed if his mommy would have let him.
– This was the best: this week Sam laughed a real laugh. Not a giggle or cough with a smile – a belly-happy laugh. We actually captured it on video. I’m prouder of this video than any
I’ve ever taken, including the pre-tornadic cloud from last summer, which is saying a lot. I think you can view it at http://mail.google.com/mail/h/oqh1nfnn7b27/?view=att&th=122b7f2fb436f8b0&attid=0.1&disp=attd&zw, but I’m not sure. Let me know.
– Sam ate pizza this week No, just kidding!! Still breastmilk for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This was all very exciting because in the beginning I remember thinking guiltily that Sam didn’t quite seem human yet. (Of course I didn’t think that really, but it didn’t feel like it yet.) It’s so exciting to see him growing into his own little person!
Sam with SamMule.

Survey Says…

The results of the first poll are in…looks like by a vast majority babies sleep through the night between two and four months. I have been fortunate…after even two weeks Sam went six hours between feedings. Since one month he goes abour eight hours. I am very thankful!

So our next survey question is… What’s the funnest age? Non-parents are welcome to participate 🙂

Favorite Thing of the Week

I apologize for those long-distance readers out there. You’ll just have to try it when you come visit. Todd and I will enjoy our two-year anniversary on Tuesday (wow!) and we got to celebrate this Saturday by revisiting our rehearsal dinner spot. I have said before that I think this place has the best food in Lake Norman, and I still say it. We got “asparagus fries” (AMAZING) and fried green tomatoes for an appetizer. I ordered the tilapia, but mainly because it comes with this incredible potato cake filled with cheese. Now, the main disappointment of the meal was that although it used to be filled with goat cheese, it now has ricotta and mozerella, a far inferior substition. I also enjoyed balsamic tomatoes as a side; they’re great. Todd got Mahi-Mahi and said it was “flavorful and not fishy” (a compliment). The best thing, of course, is that we utilized our “buy one get one free” coupon from the Clipper so we got all of this gourmet-ness for $40, tax and tip. Not bad for the best food on the lake!

Bad Day

Yesterday was horrible. But now – I hesitate to say it – I think now I know how they feel. The reason I hesitate is because I think it’s a bit like a heartbroken eighth grader thinking she “gets” the pain of the widowed wife, or the down-sized American worker that he “feels” the poverty of the Peruvian street boy. It’s seems impossible, and like mockery. And yet, as someone once reminded me when I was hurting, pain is pain is pain to the person who feels it.

I wrote a comical (and now, laughable) post Wednesday about hearing Sam cry himself to sleep. If you did the math on it, I think he cried a total of seven minutes. Yesterday Sam went in for a routine physical to receive routine shots. Hours later he began to experience what I think is a routine “reaction” to getting two shots and some oral immunization. Basically, he cried. He sobbed. He screamed. For six hours, his little body simply shook – blotched, sweaty, and swollen – pained, I guess, from the bruise of the needles and the small dose of disease.

Of course, big picture, it was no big deal. Shots – they happen. They’re not “that bad.” And yet you couldn’t tell Sam that his pain wasn’t real. To him, it was the worst he’d ever experienced in his little life. And you can’t tell me that I didn’t ache for him, to help him understand, to lessen his hurt. The worst part was that he was obviously hungry and thirsty, especially at the end, but he was crying too much, and his legs hurt him too badly, to nurse. The one thing I can do for him, I couldn’t.

As awful as it all was, I knew it would pass, and throughout the day my mind kept settling on others – parents who watched their children suffer, but endlessly, and with no nice, simple explanation. I thought of my college professor Dr. Gordon, who I saw battle colon cancer during my senior year. I say “saw” because he literally dragged his chemo in tubes and wheels behind his frail body – to class – every day for months. I got up enough courage to ask him towards the end how he was able to keep trusting God through something so awful. He said it was nothing compared with looking into the eyes of his precious baby girl who had leukemia, and knowing he was powerless to help her. (She died at two months old.)

I also thought about friends I know. The Gibbs, whose two-year old had leukemia. The Clarks, who have watched their little guy undergo sleeplessness, pain, and discomfort for 9 months, with no diagnosis and little relief.

And then, of course, there’s the obvious one, the one I’m supposed to see. Was God really a parent? Did he feel the pain of a mother? I think for me there’s always been the tendency, and perhaps even the desire, to reduce the story to something more digestible, less meaningful. Like, (forgive my flippancy) God gave up…his ice cream cone. Or, God gave up…his seat on the bus. But no, God so loved the world, that he gave up his Son. It’s one thing (and a very noble one) to endure the trauma of a suffering child. But it’s quite another to choose it. This lesson a Christian parent understands – or I guess I should say – does not understand – more than anyone. Two months in, I got my first taste. I should like it, and feel loved and blessed and all those things, but more than that I feel confused and uncomfortable and unworthy. It is wonderful, the Cross, but so incomprehensible…