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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another Birthday Marked

Is it clear from this picture that we woke her up to celebrate so that we could eat the chocolate mousse cake and in the process revealed that her birthday is more about the cake? No? Good, because that is totally not what happened.

We had a wonderful second month birthday.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Family Time

My husband has two sisters. I have written about them before, but always hesitate a little because well...they did not sign up to be talked about on the internet.

But the blog is really a chronicle for butterbaby (since it didn't pan out so well with my husband, who doesn't read this thing...aren't I like a dog with a bone? Can't. Let. It. Go...just READ A SINGLE DAMN POST for the love of GOD...I am witty and funny about OUR lives! ARE YOU NOT INTERESTED IN OUR OWN LIVES?) Okay, got off track there yelling at my husband. And really, can't I just yell at him in person? It seems silly to yell at him over a blog, THAT HE DOESN'T EVEN READ FOR PETE'S SAKE! (pun intended).

AHEM (clearing throat). sisters in law. Yeah. Where was I? Oh, yeah. I don't like to go into too much detail about them on this internet blog so as not to upset them and their privacy, but I do like to mention them from time to time because they are a part of butterbaby's (and our) life.

Is anyone even still with me? I am getting to the point. I swear.

One of my SILs had a baby a month before I did. And we both had girls! I know right? Great! They can play together and we can bond and be total BFF's who go for long carraige walks and playdates...because, HELLO?!? We both have babies, and isn't that all that matters once you actually HAVE a baby? (I was being sarcastic there...).

Except not so much. She lives in Baltimore, which is two hours away from where I live outside of Philadelphia. And the truth of the matter is that even though I love her, we aren't as close as we could be, mainly because of the distance. But right at the outset of the pregnancy, she and her husband decided to move to our town, which boaded well for my plan.

When we first got pregnant, I had this whole thing in my head about how we would totally bond and be so much closer through this whole thing. She would move up here, and we could have the babies...join play groups, go to Gymboree...hang out at the local coffee shop where all the moms go with their kids for story time. Forget that I actually will be working, and don't know of any good playgroups, and I don't think she drinks coffee. Details. Just details.

The main thing was that we would totally bond and get closer. It would be almost instantaneous, and we would be bestest friends.

Only we hit a few bumps in the road...first, there was a big issue that created some tension for a while in the beginning of the pregnancies. And then, even more devastating to my plan, she couldn't sell her house and so she hasn't moved up yet (does anyone want a Martha Stewart pristine house in a lovely suburb of Baltimore?). The other problem with the plan? We probably wouldn't rank high on the compatability test. She is one of those women who just naturally have it together all the time. I, on the other hand, went out the other day with one side of my nursing bra undone. She is great at all things domestic. I made a Boboli pizza two nights ago and my husband praised me like I had just made a five course dinner because, come on...a Boboli actually required me to use the oven...Oven Usage people! Her house is always beautiful, and is decorated like a Restoration Hardware catalogue, only better. My husband tripped over the breast pump which was by the door on his way in from work the other day.

To be fair, I have my own strengths. I do have some parts of life together. Let's just say that she is no better or worse than I, just different. And I don't know that we would have chosen to befriend each other if we met in college (although I was pretty fun in college...) but we genuinely like each other, and I know that we could be great friends. And even with the differences, we both have some things in she is really funny, and have the same tastes in alot of things. It's just, I think we need to try a little in the beginning...probably like most in-laws.

Which is where my plan comes in. But the plan was complicated by the aforementioned problems and the bonding has not been instantaneous. Plus, I am pretty sure she would be horrified if she found out about my insane plan and probably fake some sort of ankle injury to avoid any playdates or long carraige walks. But she doesn't know about my plan, which is good because I have not abandoned the plan, just modified it a little. Sure, it will take more time, but I think it is still viable...

(Does my insanity come through too much in the above paragraph? I think maybe yes. I should ask my husband if I sound too insane before I publish this post. Oh, wait. That would require him to read the blog! Is this horse dead yet?)

Especially after yesterday. Yesterday, she was up at my in-laws house with the kids, so I brought the baby over to hang out. And it was just her and I and the kids (and my mother-in-law, but she is really unassuming, so it was really like it was just her and I and the kids...go with me here.) When I came in, she was holding my niece, and put her down in her carrier to pick butterbaby up out of her carrier. And I picked my niece up.

And we just talked about the kids for a while. Standing there, rocking the babies. She was holding mine, and I was holding hers. And the conversation was easy and it was just...nice, you know? Nothing fancy, no big playdates. I didn't break out the bugaboo...just her holding our babies and talking. It was everything I had pictured when I got pregnant. It felt really nice.

And I thought to myself: I am totally ROCKING this plan! (God I hope she doesn't find out and suddenly come down with some kind of ankle condition).

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Month One

So you will notice I am posting this a mere day before your 2 month birthday, but as God as my witness, I simply could not pull it together until only recently...I really hope this is not indicative as my future performance as a mother.

The first month came and went while I blinked my eye. You arrived in a whirlwind of emergency hospital/medical craziness, A WEEK LATE! And I really hope that was not indicative of your future punctuality (like your father, who, let's face it, could not be on time to his own much so that he took his sweet ass time getting to your birth for the love of God).

Because you wouldn't come out short of the doctor slicing me open and forcibly taking you out, I was very sore for the first 3 weeks of your first month. As a consequence, I now can justify why I couldn't pull it together for the first month, so really it was a win-win (or not).

That aside, you have been the joy of my life since the moment you arrived. True, I did think you were a boy, and did not believe your father when he told me you were beautiful, a beautiful girl...twice. But once the doctor assured me that you were, in fact, a girl...I could not have imagined having any other child but you. Your father and I think you were just waiting up in heaven for us. You were meant to be ours. And after living with you for a month, I am sure of it. You look so much like us (more like me at this point, but honestly looking more like your dad every day).

There was not a single second in this first month that you caused me the least frustration or grief. Exhaustion, yes. But not an ounce of anything other than pure joy. I just can't believe you are here, that you are real. We have been waiting forever for you! Dad likes to tell you he has dreamed of you his whole life. But honestly, I am thinking Dad probably didn't give you too much thought before he turned 30...but let's not knit pick.

You were so tiny in the Hospital, we brought you home at 6 lbs, 10 oz. But by the month's end, you were up to 9 lbs 4 oz. This is probably because you eat every hour and a half. Basically, if I had one word to sum up the first month of your life, it would be "BREASTFEEDING". It is really all I do, and it is taxing. But I don't mind. Really I don't.

After you were born, we stayed in the Hospital for 5 days. Daddy stayed with us the whole time. He slept on what I believe to be the Hospital's way of having men go through a token amount of pain to appreciate what their wives have done to give them a child. It was the most uncomfortable looking pull out chair/bed contraption I have ever seen. Poor Dad. But before we get too sympathetic for Dad, may I remind you that Dad does not have to get up in the middle of the night to feed you every hour and a half in light of the breastfeeding, and truth be told, most of the time he sleeps right through the commotion. So yeah, he comes out ahead.

While Dad slept on the pull out chair/bed/torture device, I stayed awake and held you all night and day. I stayed up for almost a week straightsimply because I couldn't bear to put you down. I didn't want you out of my sight, and wouldn't let the nurses take you unless the doctor needed to see you. So I stayed awake and held you all night (since it was dangerous to sleep with you in my bed). I would have kept it up too, except Dad ratted me out to your doctor who insisted I not do that, and Dad put his foot down and made me give up and put you in the bassinett. So if you later discover in therapy that you were traumatized by being wrenched from my belly and then from my arms-blame your father for that one (not everything will be my fault.) After that, you slept with us sometimes (when you wouldn't stay in the bassinett) and sometimes you slept directly next to the bed in the bassinett (where I obsessively listened to every single noise/grunt you made all night).

You were born on a Monday. We got home on a Friday afternoon, and the whole neighborhood came out to see you. It was crazy! And sweet. They literrally all came out of their houses like they had been waiting for us all damn day. There were also signs welcoming us home and a huge stork that Grammy got to announce your birth to the world. Once we got you inside(after about 25 minutes of the neighbors ooohing and aahhhing while dad asked everyone if they wanted to hold you and I burned fire from my eyes warning them not to take him up on the offer or suffer my wrath), I started to cry. I think it was just so emotional for me. I was in pain, and felt so overwhelmed at having to take care of you all by myself (without the nurses!).

But it only lasted a minute or two, and then Meme and Grammy and Papa Ooch came over. And that began the march of a thousand visitors. We had company non stop! Dad took 2 weeks off from work, and we just entertained the whole time. Everyone who saw you fell in love with you. Especially your grandparents. (Zaydi flew down from Boston just for the day to see you!).

Then the vistors died down and Dad went back to work. And I struggled for the next two weeks. In fact, this first month was very hard for me. I couldn't get my footing with you at all. I had no idea what I was doing, and didn't feel well on top of it. I cried alot...for no reason other than the hormones. Dad was worried, I could see it in his eyes. But I was fine, just a little emotional. Each day was hard, and it never seemed to get any never really got into a routine at all. And neither did I. I needed your Meme to come over almost every day to help out. Which is a testament to how much I loved you, because although she is your meme, she is my mother, and therefore uber annoying at almost all times to me (although I love her like crazy...see previous post). She did all your laundry, and she brought over meals and cleaned the house and even helped me shower. Someday I will repay the favor when you have your own children (who I hope come out of their own volition, UNLIKE you).

Three days after you came home, you spit up. You had never done that before and given the force with which you projected the spit up, I freaked out. And the next morning, after you had spit up what I believed to be most of what you were eating, I called the doctor. Once we got there, the doctor explained to me that it was normal: Babies spit up. Happens all the time.


I took you to the doctor three days after you came home because you spit up. Yes, I have a post graduate degree, why do you ask?

At about two weeks old, you developed baby acne. To my credit, this time I played it cool and recognized that it was just run o' the mill baby acne. I was determined not to be the new mother who runs to the doctor every time her kid spits up...errrr...ummmm...well you get what I mean. Unfortunately, your father didn't get the memo and insisted I take you to the doctor lest you be dying of some flesh eating rash. So a week after the spit up doctor visit, I was back at the doctor. And, yes, it was just baby acne. "Totally normal Mrs. Newlywife, babies sometimes get acne." And that is why your doctor probably thinks I am a raving lune. I blame Dad.

Beside eating non stop, you grunt. I mean you grunt like a 50 year old man trying to keep up with the 20 year old lifting weights next to him at the gym. And it is constant. You never coo or make other baby noises, just the grunting. It is weird...and freaks out your grandparents. Papa Ooch and Grammy call you the Gruntster. Dad and I call you Grunty MacFarland. It is the craziest thing I have ever heard a baby do.

Can you guess what I did about the grunting? Correct. I asked the doctor about it. Can you guess what he said? Turns out "It's normal Mrs. Newlywife, some babies grunt." Yeah, I Figured, I was just checking...and I wouldn't want to break the crazy new mother paranoia streak I have going. (Please note that I asked him at your scheduled checkup, and was not neurotic enough to bring you down just for the grunting).

And last but not least, just as I was starting to feel better, I developed Mastitis. A breast infection...which I got from you. Meme had to come over and help with you all day. It was the only day this month that I let someone else hold you outside of my presence. The only day I let you leave my sight. And only because I was so, so, so sick. But let's not even talk about it, I don't like to remember that part. The part where you were out of my sight for an hour when I napped.

This first month was hard. And I measured success every day by a single standard: were you still alive at the end of the day. God, this month was hard, and lonely, and emotional. Not to mention, I felt crappy from the c-section. But I loved every single minute of it...really, I did.

Which I think is the most surprising thing of all. People used to tell your father and I that parenthood would kick our asses (it is totally kicking our asses by the way). And then they would always follow that up with how great it is, how much we would love it (Which we do. We totally love it). I never understood how people could tell you how hard, brutally tiring and difficult something is while simultaneously grinning and saying it is the greatest and most fun thing you will ever do. The two things seem mutually exclusive.

I get it now though. You are simultaneously the hardest and most fun thing I have ever done.

This first month was hard. I cried alot. I was in serious pain. I don't think I slept for more than 3 hours total a day, and I was never so unsure of myself or my abilities.

So yeah, if I had to call it, this first month was hands down the greatest month of my life. Thank you so much, my beautiful baby girl.



Sunday, November 04, 2007

There is a New Girl in Town...

And my husband is in love with her. In a slightly maniacle way. Yes, his love for our daughter rides a fine line between endearing and psychotic. Not sure what I mean? Let me give a "for instance":

Endearing in that he looks at her constantly and says at least 10 times a day "isn't she just the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?" I think it is endearing when his sister is holding her (or anyone is holding her for that matter) and he points out all her features..."look at her leggers"; "did you see her little hands?"; "aren't her lips adorable?" He is prouder of her than he is of anything he has ever done. And more in love with her than I thought the human heart was capable of. His love for her is one of the greatest joys of my life.

but every once in a while, he goes overboard. Like when we went to a sandwich shop last Saturday, and as I came back to the table after ordering, he looked upset. When I asked what was wrong, he said "none of those guys even commented on how cute she is." and I said "What did you want them to do?" Apparently, I was the only sane person who realized that the immigrant sandwich makers were not really interested in my abnormally cute daughter.

Then, completely seriously, without kidding in the slightest, he said "I want them to stop what they are doing, come out from behind the counter and tell me how beautiful she is."

Back away slowly from the Papa Bear...Do not make eye contact...just look at the baby and keep repeating how cute she is. Eventually, he will accept your compliment and move on to the next unsuspecting passerby which must comment on her beauty or suffer a serious stink eye...

Seriously people? I think she is probably the cutest baby I have ever seen. And I am pretty sure she is objectively beautiful. But I do leave room for the possibility that perhaps I may be biased. My husband does not appear to have given that possiblity a passing thought.

Therefore, all who we encounter must adequately oooooo and ahhhhh over her or he is not pleased. Not pleased at all. Lucky for him she is adorable.

The night before Halloween, we marched in our town Halloween Parade (which is actually just 600 parents and kids marching a few blocks down main street all dressed up). I had her in the stroller. Just like all the other parents of stroller aged children.

As the parade started, he decided to pick her up and carry her facing out toward the "crowd" (which consisted of approximately 20 people who were not so much spectators as people who happened to be out running errands down town at the same time as the parade). As he explained to me, "No one will be able to see her if she is in the stroller. No one will see how cute she is."

And that, my friends, is how I found myself navigating an empty stroller in a traffic jam of strollers while my husband pandered to the crowd...which incidentally, oooooed and aaaahhhhed over her the entire length of the parade route.

Thank God! Because I would have hated to have to talk my husband down if such an outpouring of attention had not been received. And I simply didn't have the energy after a half mile of the stroller derby.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My Little Pumpkin

She has hands, I just mitted her for the town halloween parade...