Monday, April 30, 2012

Random Bits and Pieces: April

Clare has another double ear infection. Boo. She is not nearly as sick as last time, but is still not quite herself. I had to miss a day of work, because we couldn't send her to daycare with a fever. (And she screamed every time I put her down, so yeah. It wasn't a very hard decision to stay home.) The doctor said she'll probably keep getting ear infections when she is congested, and there is nothing we can do about it. Yippee!!

Crappy iPhone photo of sick baby.

We went to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Chicago last weekend. They live in Rogers Park, on the north side of the city. We were only there for a few hours, but as soon as I stepped out of the car and breathed in that urban air, I was in love. (I've been to Chicago many times, but never to that particular neighborhood.) We took the 'L' to a Swedish restaurant, where we met two of my cousins for lunch. It was delicious, but we all felt sick after eating two cinnamon rolls as ONE side. Clare ended up eating most of my scrambled eggs.


My hands look like they're 60-years-old. Seriously. All of the diaper changes are wreaking havoc, not to mention the washing of the cloth diapers. Can anyone recommend a good moisturizer? I am trying to use all natural and organic products, but let's face it. Sometimes that shit just doesn't work.


It was the Week of the Young Child in Evansville last week. Clare was in a parade and everything! Apparently she fell asleep in the stroller (which was one of those huge buggies that seats six babies), so she obviously wasn't very excited about it. We went out to dinner with my parents' on Sunday, and on the way back to the car I saw this:

In case you can't tell, it is a bunny with Clare's footprints hanging in the window of a downtown business. When I drove by there today, I saw the bunnies had been taken down. I hope it is waiting for us at daycare.


Clare is still awake. It is an hour past her bedtime. She is refusing to nurse, which she has never done before. I am tired. I am tempted to go to bed and let Ben deal with Clare. Would that be wrong? It is his turn. Probably.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

On Breastfeeding

Three days after Clare was born, we decided to take her to Romano’s, the Italian restaurant in Evansville. Ben’s parents were in town to meet their first grandchild, and I wanted to get out of the house. I was sure it would be no problem – she’d just sit in her car seat. We got to the restaurant and put in our order. Then, the crying began. I took Clare out to the car and sat with her in the backseat. I tried to nurse her. It didn’t work.  She stared up at me, crying in what – frustration, hunger, anger, tiredness? I had no idea, but pretty soon I was sobbing too. There we were, in the backseat of the car staring at each other, both crying our eyes out.  I felt so overwhelmed – trying to nurse and deal with my raging hormones.  I couldn’t believe how strongly I loved this crying little stranger in my lap, who I couldn’t seem to please.

That night, Clare hardly slept. We thought maybe it was gas. Ben held her on her stomach. On her side. On her back. Nothing helped. The next day, my in-laws were back at my house. I spent most of the day hiding in our bedroom, trying to feed Clare, who was still antsy, upset, tired. Finally, I called the hospital and talked to a nurse. Try taking a hot shower, she said. It will help letdown your milk. This was her only advice. A few hours later, we realized Clare hadn’t peed in 24 hours. We called the pediatrician on call, who instructed us to bring Clare back to the hospital.

They weighed her when we got there – she was down to 7 pounds, 12 ounces. (She had been nearly 9 pounds when we left the hospital.) They asked me to try nursing her, so they could see what was happening. Clare was not latching on properly – she can’t tell your nipple is in her mouth, they said. They gave me a latch assist, showed me the football hold, and put Clare in my lap. The girl practically dive-bombed me when she smelled/saw that milk. I can still picture her eyes going wide, lunging for me. (“Mama’s got the good stuff,” said the nurse.) After that, she slept peacefully. We went to Target for more latch-assists, even though the nurse promised we wouldn’t need them after a day or two. She was right.

I was so relieved. It took 24 hours, but we figured out the problem and the solution. I was also annoyed, because I tried so hard to prepare for nursing AND the nurse at the hospital told me I was doing it correctly before we left. Obviously, I wasn’t.

Before Clare was born, I read everything I could on breastfeeding. I was told it wasn’t as intuitive as you might think – which turned out to be oh so true. That first weekend was proof of that. You can read all you want, but you won’t really get it until you do it. 

The whole topic nursing vs. formula is so fraught with judgment.  Some of the books I read basically said you should be put in jail if you don’t breastfeed (La Leche League, I am looking at you.) How ridiculous. Everyone needs to do what is right for them.  I also finally realized it is okay to ignore the books: as long as Clare was growing and alert, it didn’t matter that she only nursed from one breast per feeding, despite what the books say.

For us, despite the rocky start, nursing has worked wonderfully. (Except when Clare first got teeth. The less said about that the better.) It is free, convenient, and comforting for both of us.

Now, though, Clare is almost one – and I am getting ready to wean her. I am back to reading everything I can on the topic, and worrying about the right time to do it. And how to do it. And that she might not ever want to do it. Or that she will give it up too quickly, and won’t want to cuddle with me anymore.  But oh, the luxury of being able to have a glass of wine whenever I want. I am looking forward to that. And to having my body to myself for at least a few months.  Just like with learning how to nurse, I feel overwhelmed. I wish I knew what  I was doing.

Just like with learning how to nurse, though, I will wean her. One way or another. It will all work out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


While we were at my parents’ house on Sunday, Clare was looking at some small, framed photos of  my siblings and me that my mom has on display. She pointed at the picture of me, and said “This?” Clear as day. Then she pointed at Aunt Katie, “This?” and Uncle Robby, “This?” What a weird first word. (Besides Dada, which she says all the time.) I thought I heard her say it before, but I was never quite sure. But last night my mom heard it too. Every time she encounters something new: “This?”

When we were back home, she was trying to get some coasters off the coffee table. They were just out of her reach, but being the determined girl that she is, she kept trying to get them. She was getting pretty frustrated, and ignored my suggestion to move to the other side of the table where she would be able to reach them. Then, she took one of our remote controls and used it to pull the coaster to her. I swear to God. She must be taking after her engineer-minded father, because I never would have thought to do that.

Last week she was chewing on her sock after taking it off her foot (as you do). I said, “Clare, where does your sock go?” And she set it on her foot. Okay, maybe it was just a fluke, so I tried it again. And she set it on her foot again! Harvard, here we come.

Oh, and food update: Clare is not allergic to eggs. Huzzah! In celebration, I stocked up on ravioli (the perfect finger food!) and on Sunday we whipped up a bunch of these pancakes. I had my doubts, but they were delicious. We added blueberries, and Clare just chowed down. I think she is growing, too, because on Saturday she ate a plate of scrambled egg whites, a cup of yogurt with oatmeal, some banana and blueberry puree, a handful of cheerios, and a rice cracker – all in one sitting. Sometimes it is all I can do to get her to eat anything, although she did enjoy the 4-year aged cheddar that she had on Sunday. She is such a cheese snob. I think Gouda is next on the list. After all, it is an important cheese in her mother’s life.

Also: I am just joking about the Harvard thing. We’ll never be able to afford the tuition. And, if state schools were good enough for her parents and all that…

Random video time: Clare in her high chair, deciding whether or not she wants to eat. Happy Tuesday.

Monday, April 9, 2012

10 Months

I feel like I just wrote the 9 month post, and here I am again! 10 months! (And a few days. I didn’t have a chance to do this over the weekend.) I know I say this every month, but I can’t get over how fast Clare is growing. This morning I was in the kitchen, and I glanced out in the living room and saw Clare standing at the end table, playing with her books. I thought, “who is that little girl and what happened to my baby?” I know they change fast at this age, but sometimes I feel like I am getting whiplash.

We had Easter at my parents’ house this weekend, and I am happy to report Clare no longer cries when she sees my dad. In fact, she had a lot of fun with him this weekend. She was a little frightened of Uncle Robby at first, but that’s true for everyone. (Just kidding, Robby. I know. I am hilarious.) Clare was busy showing off all of her new tricks: clapping her hands, blowing raspberries, putting her wrist in her mouth and moving it back and forth while singing.

She also waves hello and goodbye, says Dada when she sees Ben, makes the sign for milk when she is hungry, gives high-fives, and smiles for the camera. When we were at dinner on Sunday, she played the peekaboo game by herself by holding a napkin over her face, waiting for us all to scream, “Where’s Clare?” and then pulling the napkin away, smiling with glee. (She learned the game a few minutes before from her grandma, and was happy to continue it for several minutes. It was just so cute watching her cover her face with the napkin, especially since she sometimes forgot to cover her eyes. I think she liked looking at all of her adoring fans.)

She is very interested in anything Mommy and Daddy are drinking (water, beer, whatever), but refuses to drink out of a sippy cup herself. She is a pro with finger food – but is also a pro at letting us know when she doesn’t want any more by throwing it on the floor. She tried blueberries for the first time last week, and loves them. She also loves Cheerios, and her eyes light up when I pick up the box. Oh, and cheese. If I put vegetables and cheese on her tray, she ignores the vegetables but gobbles up all of the cheese. A true Wisconsin girl. I think we are going to try eggs this week. I am crossing my fingers that she is not allergic, because then I can start giving her pancakes and ravioli and other yummy things made with eggs. Also, having an egg allergy would suck. Then we wait until she is 18 months old to try the foods I am allergic to (peanuts, tree nuts, fish).

Clare had a lovely first Easter, although she wasn't too sure what to think of her Easter basket.

Grandma Mary Theresa gave her a book and the bunny. I filled the basket with all of my favorite Easter candy. Clare can’t have any, of course. Isn’t that convenient? As we say in our household now, “Nom Nom Nom.”

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fever and Ear Infections and Separation Anxiety OH MY

Ugh. It has been a week. Yes, it is only Monday, but I am talking about last week. I am not ready to think about this week yet. What? It has already started? Well, too bad. I am still on last week over here.

We had dinner with my dad last Sunday night. When we got there, Clare burst into tears every time she saw him for the first two hours of the visit. By the end, she was fine, happily showing him the tupperware she was playing with and using his head as a drum. On Wednesday, we went to visit my grandparents. Clare clung to my chest and refused to be put on the floor for the first hour of the visit. On Friday, we drove to the Twin Cities to visit Clare's grandparents. She gave Grandma a brief smile, and then clung to me while giving Grandpa a vary wary look, despite being interested in his moustache. So, we have a pattern. The separation anxiety has begun.

Oh, and did I mention she had a fever of 104 degrees on Thursday night? A trip to urgent care confirmed a high fever and double ear infection. The poor thing. She was just not herself at all. I am guessing this illness did not help the little one cope with her separation anxiety any better. She has been quite cranky as a result. (She seemed better Friday, which is why we still made the trip.)

Clare and Daddy at urgent care.
Then last night, she developed a rash. I, of course, panicked, assuming the worst: ALLERGIC REACTION! This caused me to hover over her in her crib for minutes at a time counting her breaths, and wake every hour or so to make sure she was still breathing. Overreaction? Maybe. Anyway, I called the doctor this morning and they said it was just because of the fever. Nothing to worry about.

On the bright side, we had a lovely dinner on Saturday night to celebrate Ben's brother's recent engagement. Clare was in bed, so I could actually enjoy my food and participate in the conversation. What a novel thing! I had TWO glasses of wine. And, on Saturday Mommy and Clare had a playdate with some of my dearest friends - and three babies who were also born last spring and summer. It was so fun to watch them together - laughing, crawling around, pushing each other out of the way (Alice), taking toys right out of each other's hands (Clare), trying to kiss the other babies (Will), and falling asleep in the middle of the all of the toys (Carter). It was great to see my girls, too. I need way more (adult) girl time than I currently get.

We took a picture, but unfortunately did not do so before they started melting down:

Clare, Carter, Alice, and Will.

The best part was right after this was snapped, Clare, Alice and Will immediately crawled towards their moms, crying. Carter just sat there sucking his thumb, wondering what all the commotion was about. What an easy going guy.

I do hope these kiddos can play together somewhat frequently - Clare doesn't have any first cousins. Also, I have some lifelong friends (Rae Lane Gang!) that I treasure. I want that for Clare, too.

Well, I guess despite the fever, ear infection and separation anxiety, last week wasn't so awful after all.