Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It seems like his milestones always happen in bursts. For days he’s just going through life being a cute baby and nothing changes and then BAM! All of a sudden it’s like there’s a new baby in the house. My little guy is growing so fast. In the last week we’ve had three milestones. Talking, standing and teething.

I’ve been saying Luke is going to have a tooth pop out any day for, oh about the last 5 months. I’ve gotten so used to the drooling and the putting everything in his mouth that I’ve stopped thinking it would happen. But now, here I am, back on the Luke is teething train. My only new evidence is his unexplained crying and fussiness last night. When the baby who always sleeps through the night wakes up an hour after he went to sleep and is screaming/crying/really pissed off I assumed he had another ear infection. Or maybe he had a nightmare. He wouldn’t stop crying. I was having flashbacks to the night of no sleep when he had his ear infection. I rocked. I walked. I hovered. I tried to put him down again. I gave him to Pete to try all the same things and nothing was working. While I tried to console Luke again, Pete searched the tubes for research. Hmmm… several parents write about how their perfect little sleepers suddenly stopped being able to sleep through the night because all of a sudden they were teething and quite miserable. They say it’s worse at night and to try the usual remedies for teething. We took out the teething ring from the freezer and he went to town on it. He took it out and screamed again. Put it back in and silence. It was a crazy experiment and it worked. But then the teether wasn’t cold anymore. We used a bit of baby orajel and I rocked him and he fell asleep. I felt guilty for being happy that he fell asleep in my arms and I held him there for awhile looking down at that angelic (non-screaming) face. I finally put him back in his crib and he slept the rest of the night with no more crying episodes. I hope he doesn’t repeat tonight. Not because it’s annoying – I think we know what to do but I just hate seeing him upset and in pain.

For about two weeks now Luke has been babbling more than normal. But now instead of pure gibberish he seemed to be making the sounds he wanted to. That is if he wanted to keep saying “ba ba ba” Or maybe he was saying “Bob” or maybe he really likes the group “Abba.” Whatever it was, he was saying it a lot. And then on Wednesday Pete said he heard him say “Mama” but since I didn’t hear it, it didn’t count (my rule – not Pete’s) and then I heard it. But since Pete didn’t hear it, I still didn’t think it counted. So on Sunday we both heard it – together – more than once. Yup, he’s saying “Mama” and even though I logically know he isn’t saying Mama to mean Me, it’s still sweet to hear. I read that he won’t say Mama thinking he’s calling/talking to me for about another month. And I thought his first word would be “poop.”

A few weeks ago Pete told me that his mom had mentioned we should lower the crib. I was ambivalent about it. Luke seemed nowhere close to being able to stand on his own or pull himself up – plus I had no idea on how to lower the dang mattress anyway. So if Pete lowered it, fine. And if he didn’t lower it, that was fine with me too. Until last night. I was in the kitchen making dinner when I heard Pete shriek (hee hee). I ran into his room and I saw Pete in the hallway holding Luke and he told me that Luke was standing in his crib and all he would have had to do was lean over and he would have been flat on the floor. So Pete lowered the crib mattress last night. And unless Luke is an acrobat, he can’t fling himself out of the crib now.

This isn’t really a milestone but it is a fight to get him to drink his bottle. It happened a little over a week ago and all the charts say he should be drinking a minimum of 24 ounces a day at this age but I battle to get him to drink 20. Some days he maybe gets 24. He seems to be eating ok but it’s so hard to get him to drink his bottle. I hope this is a phase and that it passes soon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things I don't miss

Everything is a phase. I am living the phrase that everything is a phase related to having a baby. Some phases are good and I wish they lasted longer but other phases last too long and I can’t wait until they are over. I think I even block some of these phases from my memory. Now I’d like to celebrate the phases that Luke has grown out of:
1. Cradle cap
Luke had a gross flakey scaly reptilian head that grossed me out. I remember putting olive oil on his head and combing and brushing the flakes off his scalp. Ewww.
2. Blocked tear ducts
I wiped so many gummy, nasty tear goop from my baby’s eyes (especially his left eye for some reason) and some times the poor kid couldn’t even open his eyes because they were crusted shut when he woke up. We saw a specialist who said if it didn’t clear up by 10 months, he may need a surgical procedure. Luckily they cleaerd up on their own.
3. Super spit up
All babies spit up. Just like the bibs and baby onesies say “spit happens.” But Luke used to spit up A LOT. I’m talking change a bib every 15 minutes, soak a burp rag, nasty spit up. The doctor said it was fine but I am relieved that he has what I consider normal spit up now and he doesn’t have to wear a bib 24/7.
4. Newborn sleeping patterns
I don’t miss Luke having to wake up every 3 hours so he could eat. Also there was a poop diaper every time he woke up, which brings us to..
5. Super poops
Newborn poop supposedly doesn’t smell. Babies poop smells worse after they start eating solid food. I guess that’s the trade off for having to change about 8-10 newborn poopy diapers a day which are all the consistency of ranch dressing and colors ranging from green, yellow, and of course brown which somehow explodes no matter how carefully the diaper is fastened. I love the days when Luke poops once a day and it is contained within the diaper.
6. Newborn fingernails
His little newborn nails were so fragile and thin and….bendy. I was petrified to cut them with nail clippers. I tried and he squirmed and I think maybe he could tell how anxious I was because he squirmed even more so I didn’t cut his nails, I filed them. Then the nanny started watching him and she cut them (even better!) but now I can actually cut his nails and it doesn’t feel like I’m trying to cut jell-o.

I thought this might be a top 10 list but I can’t really think of other things I disliked. Now give me a list of the things I love and hope he doesn’t ever grow out of and that may take much longer.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How holiday parties will be different now

I fear, no - I KNOW, that I have turned into one of those moms. You know, the ones who love to talk about their child. I try not to do it all the time. For example, I rarely tell baby stories or force people to look at baby pictures to my coworkers. If I’ve had barely any sleep or there is a particularly entertaining story, I may tell a story about Luke. Anyway, my group at work had our annual Football outing yesterday. It was the 8th annual Turkey Bowl – which entails our group leaving the office shortly after lunch, going to a field in the park and playing touch football with some beer on the sidelines and then going to a bar afterwards for appetizers and drinks. Pete had Luke duty after work so I could participate in the Turkey Bowl. My participation did not involve me actually playing on the field – more like showing up late and taking pictures and then going to the bar later. I had told Pete I would be home by 8:00 and he had warned me not to drink too much because he didn’t want to have to pick me up. So my night out consisted of two beers and a margarita shot and the majority of my conversations were with other parents and we talked about our kids and kid related things. I was home by 7:15 and I found I really really missed Luke. Thankfully he seemed really happy to see me which totally made my night. It is a far cry from my nights of going out after work in my 20’s (or even early 30’s) and the wonderful part about it is that I didn’t miss it at all.

So one company outing down and three more to go. I’m not even sure if I’ll attend all three - especially if it impacts me getting home to see Luke before he goes to bed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My baby is 8 months old!

This was a month with several milestones. You celebrated your first Halloween, first parade, first fever and first ear infection. You are eating more in both quantity and variety of foods. You took your second plane ride on a trip to Virginia to visit family and you “hiked” on the Shenandoah Mountain. While in Virginia, you added two more states to where you’ve visited. We drove through Maryland and stopped in Harrisburg, PA to meet your Auntie Kristen at Monkey Joe’s. So far you’ve been to Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

You are still so happy almost all the time (except when you had your ear infection and you cried and screamed all night long) and we love finding new things to make you laugh. Some of your favorite things that you find hysterical are:
Dad dancing
Whenever Samson walks in the room
Whatever the cat is doing
Bouncing or running down the hallway (especially if it’s after the dog)
Squeezing your fat baby thighs
Blowing raspberries
Silly faces and voices
When your toys squirt water in the tub

Some of your favorite toys are your Fisher Price phone, still love the piano/xylophone, tool bench, dad’s keyboard, standing and leaning on your Leap Frog table, bouncing in your exersaucer and eating books. You get very intense when you’re playing with your toys and you can stay fixated with one toy for about a half hour.

You have a toddler tub now which is a giant blow up duck that sits inside the bathtub and you LOVE it! It looks much more fun than being cramped in that little infant tub that fit in the kitchen sink.

You’ll be celebrating your first Thanksgiving soon (which is your dad’s absolute favorite holiday.) No turkey for you, but I’ll make sure to save you some applesauce, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Your hair is growing in funny and both your dad and I agree it’s time for your first haircut. We haven’t yet decided who will be the lucky barber but we are not big fans of the weird bangs you have going on and the goofy old man comb over in the back.

I love coming home from work because I can’t wait to see you. You smile when I walk into the room and even though you are already snuggling with me less and less as you get older, I treasure every moment you let down your guard and continue to be my little infant son. Sometimes I look at you and you look like a little boy – not a baby. But don’t worry, you will ALWAYS be my baby. Love you, Luke!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Late 7 Month Letter to Luke

Dear Luke,
I want to write something to you each month about how you’re changing and growing but a lot of my goals get a little sidetracked. So, here we are only a few days before you are 8 months old and I’m finally writing your 7 month letter. Ooops. I will try to only address things related to you from 6 months to 7 months. I remember sitting down and talking to your dad about those changes we’d seen in you and now I just need to try to recall them all.

I’m rereading my letter to you at 6 months as a frame of reference. Ok, much better now. Of course I have tons of things to write for your 8 month letter, but let me address your 7th month first!

You and Deano finally noticed each other! One day it’s like you both looked around and thought “Huh. There’s a baby in the house.” and “Huh look, there’s a cat.” Deano is so unbelievably patient and curious. You like to grab fistfuls of cat hair and the cat just looks ta me barely squirming on my lap. The first time it happened, I wasn’t even holding Deano, he just kind of sat with us on the couch. You pulled his hair and he just looked at you like “Really???” but sat there until you did it a few times and then without a hiss or snarl, he simply walked away showing you he had enough. When he walks in the room you almost always smile at him – but he doesn’t always smile back at you.

You are sleeping and eating about the same. You are such a great baby who still sleeps through the night and I know how very lucky we are for you to continue to do that! You just started eating some finger foods like Cheerios and tiny cut up pieces of banana. You like oatmeal better than rice cereal so that’s what we keep feeding you. I think you’ve eaten all of the normal baby foods available in the fruit and veggie department and luckily there don’t seem to be any allergies or reactions.

You love bath time and I bought you a new inflatable duck tub that sits in the big bathtub and it’s nice and soft and cushy for you to lean against. You’re too big to get a bath in the sink any more. You have yet to get tired of being in the tub and want to get out. I think I always take you out before you’re ready – but you never cry or complain about it. I love that just washed so sweet baby smell. I think I will use Johnson’s baby shampoo forever. No more tears and a great smell – why not?? So far the only bath toys you play with are your little squirty toys. The duckies, fish and octopus are your favorites (I just have to remember to squeeze ALL of the water out after each bath so we don’t end up with moldy squirt toys.)

You started sitting up much better and are almost sitting up all by yourself. You like to lean on a toy or two for support still. Some of your favorite toys this month are your Baby Einstein music cube, your baby workbench and you still love the piano/xylophone combo.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Add another sticker to his suitcase

Luke is 7 months old but I think he’s been to more states than I visited by the time I was 10. He was born in Illinois and at 3 months rode in a plane to visit family in Virginia, at 4 months old we took an 8 hour road trip to Kentucky, at 5 months old we went to Indiana for a party (ok, I know Indiana isn’t far away, but it’s still another state!) and then at 7 months old he took another plane ride to Virginia. Yeah it’s a state he’s been to before but he is now a seasoned air traveler. We approached security like the pros we are and I even took off his baby shoes before they asked me to. When people asked if I needed help because I was traveling alone with a baby, I was able to confidently thank them and wave aside the offer as we proceeded through the airport. The trip was a breeze! He slept the entire time and when we landed I even managed to wrangle two suitcases (on wheels of course), the stroller with the car seat and the diaper bag up the ramp to curbside pickup where my mom and dad were just pulling up. The flight home was more of a headache since we were delayed due to crazy 50 mile per hour winds. Luke’s schedule was off, his ears hurt, he finished his bottle and the flight attendants had to be seated because the turbulence was so bad so I couldn’t get water for another bottle for him. He fussed and whined and clung to me – even though I had a perfectly good carseat for him to sit in next to me. The turbulence was terrible and I was glad to have him to hold onto as I furiously rocked him trying to hide the plane’s instability within the comforting arms of his mama. I was so glad when we landed.

We had a great trip and visited the Shenandoah mountains, had a sleepover with my nieces, visited my grandmother, had a family dinner, went to see my niece dance at her school’s football halftime show and the trip was over way too soon. When I planned the trip it seemed like we would be there so long and it was really over before I was ready. It was good to come home and of course Luke and I missed Pete. It was a bitter sweet trip because as much as I love my home and where I live and my friends and family here, it’s tough having my family so far away. I loved seeing my mom playing on the floor with Luke and making him laugh and giggle. I know my brother, sister-in-law and nieces would be visiting and be a part of Luke’s day to day (or week to week) life – similar to how I was a part of my nieces’ lives when I lived in Virginia. I know Luke will still be close to them but it will need to be different. There will be some family vacations so he can get to know them. I hope my parents will continue to come visit him – especially as he’s younger because he really does change so quickly. I can’t wait for my parents to come visit at Christmas – even though I know it will be more memorable for me and my parents than it will be for Luke. When Luke gets older I can see him spending a week or two in Virginia hanging out with my family. We’ll set up our Skype account and do web chats. I will continue to post Luke videos on You Tube so those who are interested can watch him grow.

I think the next states Luke will visit will probably be part of a road trip to North Carolina this summer. I can’t wait for Luke to visit the Outer Banks!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween and Unhappy Fever

Luckily Luke celebrated Halloween a little early. He has an ear infection and was too sick to go trick-or-treating on Sunday. But he went to a Halloween party on Friday morning and we went to the Halloween parade on Saturday morning so I think he was around enough Halloween shenanigans – especially since he won’t remember anything about his first (or second…or third…) Halloween. He was pretty darn adorable as a pumpkin thanks to Grandma D. I don’t know if this picture from the Halloween party can accurately portray the cute overload going on with so many cute babies in one place with the great costumes. I think the cheeseburger was awesome (as were all the other costumes as well!)

And he was super warm at the parade in his monkey costume thanks to Auntie Georgia.

He was going to be spaghetti and meatballs on Sunday similar to this picture. But Luke was going to sit in a giant cooking pot.

But he had a fever on Sunday morning and we saw it go from 100.2 on Sunday morning to 102.1 on Monday morning. I’d heard it was common for infants to get a fever and I wasn’t terribly worried in the beginning. I had left the details of his costume until last minute and I still had to go to the store on Sunday to finish making his Sunday costume. But once we knew he had a fever, Pete and I agreed there would be no trick or treating for him – so why go to the store and work on a costume he wouldn’t be using? I knew I could spend my time better by staying in and worrying. We were only going to go up and down our block and one block south anyway and I felt a little guilty about asking for candy for a baby who clearly would not be eating any candy. Once it was determined that he’d be staying in…and we saw his fever go up, he began to act more and more miserable. He had never had a fever before and it was amazing how obvious it was to feel his skin and know he had a fever. Poory guy was burning up! There had been many times that I wondered if he had a fever and tested it with the thermometer. Now that I KNOW what a fever feels like, I can’t believe I had tested it so many times before.

As the night wore on, the fever got worse - as did his pain and his mood went in the crapper. He would not lie down in his crib. He would not eat. He would not sleep. He would barely take a bottle. What he could do very well is scream. And cry. And whine. And hit. The closest we could get to comforting him is holding him upright so his head was against your shoulder and swaying. You had to keep moving or he would cry. If you tried to sit down, he would cry. I figured out a cool move where I would continue swaying/rocking as I squatted to sit down and once I sat I had to keep moving in order to trick him. So then I was sitting and rocking and he would sometimes close his eyes a bit and be silent – for about 10 minutes until he jerked and woke himself up and started screaming. I figured out how to kinda sorta sleep in 10 minute stretches while sitting on the couch and rocking. Pete and I took turns holding him but then Luke got to the point that he only wanted Mama and didn’t calm down very much with Pete. I think I got about an hour and a half sleep combined on Sunday night and Pete maybe got 2 hours. Then he got in about an hour and a half nap on Monday morning. I worked from home and we kept giving him baby Tylenol every 4 or 5 hours which helped his mood a little bit. I was able to get into the doctor that day at 1:00 and she confirmed our guess that he had an ear infection and prescribed antibiotics. As soon as we opened the bottle I had flashbacks of that bubblegum smelling pink stuff I remember taking as a kid. He actually got some sleep last night. He slept from 7:30 until we woke him up at 12:30 a.m. Poor kid. I felt terrible waking up the little guy and shoving this medicine in his mouth hoping if we did it quickly he might fall back asleep. No such luck. He was one pissed off baby. It made me think about alien abductions as we tiptoed into his room, took him out of bed, shoved something icky in him and thought we could tiptoe back out. He screamed. And screamed. And screamed some more. I held him and rocked him and he finally fell back asleep again. But now I was so distraught that I couldn’t sleep. I was up until about 2:00 a.m. and back up again at 5:00 a.m. I called to check in with Grace and he is doing well today. He’s taking his bottle and eating and he was taking a nap when I called. Antibiotics area wonderful wonderful thing.

So poor Luke is on the mend. Now mom and dad just need to get back on track. I can’t imagine how:
a) single parents handle a sick child
b) how any parent handles more than one child being sick at the same time
c) being a sick parent and having to take care of a sick child
d) how to handle a child who is sick more than 2 nights in a row.
I’m sure we’ll get the hang of things and the next time he has a fever or an ear infection (because I think it’s appropriate to say “when” and not “if”) we’ll be a little better prepared on what to expect.

I think Pete described it pretty accurately when he said that “Luke cried more in 24 hours than he did since he was born.”

Get better, Luke and Halloween will be better next year!