Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sorry, no speak Baby


Back when I was on maternity leave, I had a babysitter watch Nathan for a couple hours one day while I ran some errands. When I got home he was napping. The sitter told me “I put him down because he told me he was tired.” I believe I responded by casually saying “Ok, thanks” acting as if this was the most normal thing I had ever heard when inside I was thinking “He told you?!?!” I’m glad someone could understand him because I had no idea what Nathan was “saying” when he cried.

I’ve heard it over and over that mothers eventually learn their baby's cries and are able to tell if it’s a hungry cry, tired cry, bored cry, or a “Wow, this sound is so cool I’m going to keep doing it over and over” cry. If I was in school I’d be getting a big fat F in this class because I was not learning his language at all. I still had to guess every time. I would check his diaper, try to feed him, play with him or put him down for a nap. Usually one of those worked. On a bad day, his diaper was dry, he didn’t want to eat, he was not amused by my silly faces and he was wide awake. Those were LONG days.

We’re coming up on four months now and I’ve finally got the basics down. I’m definitely not fluent, but I know enough to get by. When he’s bored, his cry sounds more like he’s yelling “Hey!” When he’s hungry he stretches his cry out to the point that he makes no sound. When he’s tired, it’s a fast repetitive cry over and over. It’s a huge relief for me to finally be able to understand my baby, and I’m sure it’s a relief for Nathan that his mommy is finally catching on. There were some moments where if I let him cry long enough, I swear it started to sound like “What is wrong with you and why aren’t you helping me?!?!”

Luckily, those moments are few and far between these days.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What to do when the "real feel" outside is 109 degrees?!?!

Go see dinosaurs!

The thought of being stuck inside the apartment on yet another miserably hot day was unbearable so we headed uptown to the Museum of Natural History to enjoy the dinosaur exhibit, not to mention some free air conditioning!

Nathan's first museum trip was a success. The Baby Bjorn is by far one of the best baby items we bought - it is so much easier than pushing him in a stroller. He can look all around and take everything in and it's much more conducive for getting through crowded spaces like subway cars and elevators. Will snapped tons of photos as usual, being sure to thoroughly document Nathan's first bit of culture!

We think Nathan's favorite part was finding a dinosaur he was actually bigger than!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bumbo boy

Every day we notice Nathan becoming more and more like a little person and less and less like a little baby. He can hold his head up. He can just about roll over. And his new goal is to sit up. Although I assume he's still a couple months away from this achievement, you've got to give the kid credit for trying. If anything, he'll have abs of steel from all the crunches he does, trying so hard to pull himself up from a lying position.

To help him out, we pulled out the Bumbo Seat, a gift from our friend Amy. I put him in it for the first time today and he looked so cute! At first I think he was confused, then he got excited... then he noticed his foot. And suddenly staring at his toes became a lot more interesting than sitting up!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lazy, hazy Sunday afternoons

Nathan's friend Lea turned 1 year old this month and today we helped her celebrate at Riverside Park. It was a great excuse to venture outside away from
the sacred air conditioning. Walking to the subway was pretty hot but after getting off at 86th and Broadway and making our way over to Riverside, we were welcomed by the breeze from the Hudson and the shade from the trees. It's amazing how your life changes so much after having kids. Once upon a time we used to go out drinking with our friends and enjoy long, late dinners together and now we spend Sunday afternoons discussing topics like nap schedules and reflux and hurrying home by 4:00 so we can play for a few hours before bedtime.

We love being able to share this new adventure with our friends. Our babies are each just a few months apart in age yet so far apart in milestones. I love watching Nathan's friend Charlie sit up by himself at 8 months and Lea starting to walk at a year, and picturing Nathan doing those things someday. It's fun imagining the future when they will basically be the same age and hopefully become good friends. Who knows... maybe one day Nathan and Lea will go out on a date, although we've got tough competition with adorable little Charlie around! Nathan better hurry up and learn some new tricks - like holding his head up by himself if he wants to impress Lea!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Boss

Being a mom is a hard job. I work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I get very few breaks - an hour here, an hour there which are usually spent putting away toys, making the bed, or unloading the dishwasher.

My boss is tough and demands a lot from me. He schedules 2am feedings and then expects me to attend morning meetings at 6am. He pushes me harder than any boss I've ever reported to.

But the pay is great – big toothless smiles and cuddly hugs which make all the hard work worth it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My little houdini

We still swaddle Nathan at both bedtime and naptime. We found it helped him sleep when he was a newborn, unable to startle himself awake with his sudden twitches and kicks. And now he just seems to like it. He can be in a full on "I'm ready for bed" freakout and the second you swaddle him, he calms down and goes to sleep without a fight. I admit it freaked me out a little when we first started doing it. We are basically putting him in a straight jacket, with only his tiny little head peeking out from the top of the blanket. The first time my dad saw us do it his reaction was "I don't go for this" and he walked out of the room, unable to watch little Nathan turn into a bedtime burrito. But a bedtime burrito that sleeps is a bedtime burrito I am in favor of.

It has worked for us so we've continued doing it. But our swaddling days are sadly coming to an end. Our 3 month old baby has started teething and nothing brings him more comfort than sucking on his fist. He really goes to town on that thing, and I'm glad he figured out a way to soothe himself. The problem with the swaddle is he can't get to his hand. Recently we have heard him in the early morning grunting, working so hard to free his tiny hand from the blanket prison he sleeps in. The second we unswaddle him his little hand goes immediately to his mouth, one aspect of hand eye coordination he has absolutely mastered.

But the other day when I went to get him up from his nap, my assistance wasn't needed. My little houdini had not only freed his hand but also both his feet! I almost felt guilty unwrapping the blanket. He only had one hand left until he was completely free. I'm sure that would have given him such satisfaction, knowing he had finally beat the system!

Friday, July 9, 2010

I &hearts Central Park

I love NYC. I love being able to walk out my door and have endless restaurants to choose from. I love not needing a car, being able to spend an entire day walking and never running out of streets to turn onto or neighborhoods to explore. Moving here at the age of 22 was the best decision I ever made. I met people here who have become my closest, dearest friends. I met Will here. And I will always be able to say I started my family here, making Nathan the only true New Yorker in our “cozy” 1 bedroom Chenivan household. Living here is a one of a kind experience that makes the TINY apartments and insanely EXPENSIVE rent worth it.

But I grew up in a house with lots of rooms, perfect for playing hide and seek. A finished basement that my brother and sisters and I spent hours playing in. A dining room where we celebrated Christmases and birthdays. Perhaps my favorite part of my parents’ house, a screened in porch perfect for sitting out at night listening to thunderstorms, or mornings, reading the paper in my pajamas, drinking iced coffee. And now that little Nathan has joined us, I have never missed having a backyard more.

But so long as we stay here in New York, I am grateful for Central Park. While you can’t walk down a New York sidewalk without bumping into one person after another, you can always find peace in Central Park, nestled under a secluded tree, and feel like the only person around amidst a city of millions. In the short time Nathan has been with us, we’ve already shared so many wonderful moments here. It’s where we took him on his first walk in his stroller. It’s where I first ventured out on my own with Nathan and met my friend Sarah and her daughter Logan and spent a spring afternoon in the warm sunshine. And it’s where I spent my birthday, having a picnic with my two favorite boys on a beautiful summer night.

Today was day 4 of an unbearable heat wave here in New York and yet as soon as we entered the park tonight, the air felt cooler and the pace felt slower. We sat comfortably on a shaded bench watching a kickball game. While I listened to Nathan breathe softly against Will’s chest, asleep in his Bjorn carrier, I imagined when he gets a little older and bringing him to the Central Park Zoo or taking him to the remote control boat pond or one of the many playgrounds within the park.

Although I know we'll have our own backyard someday, for now I’m content with the 843 acre backyard all of us New Yorkers get to enjoy everyday.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Nathan put on his festive 4th of July outfit, thanks Nana Ma, and went to his first rooftop BBQ today. In addition to burgers, hot dogs and lots of other yummy food, he got another fabulous outfit and an adorable stuffed bunny - thanks Julie!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Put the baby book down and step away from the internet

While I was pregnant a friend recommended a book that tells you what to expect week by week during your pregnancy. I looked forward to curling up in bed every Sunday night, snuggling my "pregnancy pillow" and reading out loud to Will, letting him know that this week I would experience severe heartburn and a constant need to pee. When I found out there was another book in the series, letting you know what to expect week by week of your baby's life, I had to have it... big mistake.

According to this book, Nathan should be sleeping through the night. And he should only need to eat every 4-5 hours. And he should be grasping objects. In reality, Nathan wakes up every night at 2 am and 4:30 am, like clockwork. He eats every 2 hours, making it nearly impossible to run any errands or spend anytime in public without having to whip my boob out for all the world to see! And his hands are constantly curled up in tiny little fists - which I find absolutely adorable because he looks like he's saying "Put up your dukes" all the time :)

There is an overwhelming amount of information available these days. It's certainly comforting to be able to read Mommy message boards and "talk" about issues my friends without kids have no interest in - how many times a week does your little one poop? And we have since switched to Target's brand of diapers, half the cost of Pampers, after reading hundreds of 5 star reviews online.

But there are also parenting websites who mysteriously get your email address and proceed to send you weekly emails with subject lines like "5 milestones your child should have reached by now". Not to mention those friends and family who love to tell you that their baby held their own bottle at 6 months or began walking at 10 months.

With so much information and advice out there, it's enough to drive a new parent crazy. If you worry too much about what your baby should be doing, you'll overlook the amazing things your baby is doing. So the next time I get an opinion I didn't ask for or hear about a milestone Nathan hasn't quite reached yet, I'll try and take away some good from it, then toss the rest out with the dirty diapers.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Origin of Flipper


Anyone who knows us well knows we called our baby Flipper throughout the pregnancy. We weren't going to find out the sex and I hated calling the baby "it" so we needed a nickname.

We found out we were pregnant at 6 weeks. We had already taken a pregnancy test and read a positive sign but I went to my doctor a few days later to have it confirmed. Hearing the doctor say "Yup, you're definitely pregnant" made it so much more real. Seeing a fuzzy white smear on a monitor screen made me cry. I ran to the drugstore and bought Will a "Congratulations, job well done" card and stuck the sonogram picture inside. I wrote "You're officially the daddy of a 6 week old blob!" I met him at his office and called him to come meet me outside. We hugged, we laughed, we had fleeting thoughts of "What the hell have we done" (at least I know I did.)

I was so excited and already imagining what our baby would look like. When I got home I immediately googled "6 weeks pregnant" and burst out laughing. My beautiful unborn child looked like a tadpole with beady eyes and fins! I called Will at work - "It has flippers!" And that was it... from then on our baby would be known as Flipper, Flip for short.