Sunday, June 29, 2008

tummy time

There are things you just sort of find out about when you're pregnant, like don't feed honey to a baby less than a year old, beer helps your milk come in, breast-feeding is not good birth control, etc. There are also infant activities that seem to be mandated. One thing I hear all the time but, frankly, just don't understood, is the concept of tummy time... to me it's along the same lines as a "play date" -- something parents have always done but now has a hip and smart-sounding name.

It was something I pooh-poohed, along with the Baby %*#@$tein play thing (which also goes by the names "smart machine" and "genius tent" in our household), but which I now realize is the source of great entertainment. For me. And of course totally edifying for the babe.

Last night I gave Auden his first chance at tummy time, to see what all the other babies are up to.

I couldn't decide which video was funnier, so I'm posting them both. They're a little dark, hopefully you can make out the awesome face he makes in the second one (that one is short because I was laughing so hard the camera got all shaky).


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jason's baby: EDD June 27

Jason is in the final stretch of gestation. He's experiencing a bit of panic, self-doubt, and possibly some incredulity at the fact that delivery is so close at hand. He's not is as much pain as I was (can I get a witness?), but the process is still hard, and the event is still a milestone. Especially considering he's been growing this creature for a year and a half.

For this labor, though, he doesn't need a doctor, he's becoming a doctor. Um, of Philosophy, that is. Okay, enough of this silly metaphor.

His writing began in earnest around January of 2007, some months after we returned from Japan, and I half-way considered forming a support group for Spouses of the Dissertation so I wouldn't end up like Wendy on the steps of the Overlook Hotel, swatting at Jack with a bat. Just kidding. Sort of.

So I'm not sure who's happier about finishing. I think at this point it might be me, since he's still worried about, you know, making it turn out good. But really and truly, I am bursting with pride. He's finishing his degree in record time and proceding directly to an ideal post-doc position, where he'll be able to do the interdisciplinary-group-applied-research work that he's been aiming for. Time for some unbridled celebration: Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

And, since I can't resist, here's Jason with his other baby:


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Snot Suckers and Mutha Uckers

When we were in Japan last fall, during my first excursion to buy maternity clothes, Jason found this and decided to buy it:

Baby torture device? No! Ingenious snot sucker: insert bulbed tube into baby's nostril and suck heartily on the other tube. Nose contents end up tidily in the little reservoir, not in your mouth!

I used it for the first time the other day, and it worked brilliantly at dislodging two giant boogers. "Save them for the scrap-book!" Jason said. Auden smiled and burbled happily.

So I ended up being prepared for yesterday morning's panic:

Auden woke up around 5:30 in a fit. It was not the usual whimpering in his sleep because he's hungry; this was a full-bore cry, a fightened cry that I hadn't heard before. This cry said, something is really wrong.

He sounded congested, like he had a big gob of phlegm half-way between his sinuses and his throat. He couldn't swallow it and couldn't blow it out, but he was crying and gagging and there was snot and milk coming out of his nose. Big fat tears squirted out of his eyes. I picked him up and he pitched his head back and jerked himself around, like he was trying frantically to get away from the awful feeling.

This is a job for the snot sucker! I thought, amazingly not freaking out in the least. I propped him up on a pillow, got the tube in his nose, and sucked fiercely until the offending mucous came free. With his nasal passages clear again, Auden's cry turned into a back-from-the-brink-of-trauma whimper, while I kissed and cuddled and nursed him back to sleep. Then I inspected and marveled the goo in the tube as only a mother can.

The whole thing took less than two minutes, but man! I will not soon forget that cry. Whew.

And since I so cleverly titled this post, go watch this video and see why Flight of the Conchords is my new favorite (not least because they're on bikes. With helmets).


Monday, June 9, 2008

Freud would have a hey-day with my dreams

Some highlights:

When I started taking my prenatal vitamins, I got a little constipated, and dreamed that a Japanese lady was arranging ikebana in my nether-regions.

In my second trimester I dreamed I was making out with Barak Obama. Um, more than once.

A month before Auden was born, I dreamed about giving birth to all manner of strange creatures, including a hunch-back and something that looked like the giant writhing alien-bug in Naked Lunch.

But this one's my favorite:

Just the other night I dreamed that I was trying to get into a night club with my giant diaper bag. The bouncer wouldn't let me in with it, insisting that I bring it back to my car. Just then I realized I was wearing a cloth diaper, with an adult-sized version of Auden's snap diaper cover, and I was WET. Can't I just come in to change really quick? I pleaded. But no.

Maybe I'm identifying a little too much with this diapering situation?


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

goodbye, California...

Sunday afternoon we strapped Auden into the bjorn and went on a long walk in Los Penasquitos Canyon.

It was a typical southern California day: wide blue sky, golden hills, relentless sun. We spent most of the walk with our heads in the Midwest, though.

Jason was offered a post-doc position in Milwaukee, so come August we will be packing up and leaving the Golden State for good.

We are thrilled to be leaving behind high rent and the Santa Anas, and are looking forward to thunderstorms, seasons, Lake Michigan, and living much much closer to all the grandparents. Native Californians think we're crazy for voluntarily moving back to a region with weather of any kind, and I'm sure we'll wax nostaligic about 70 degree days in January when we're up to our eyeballs in fleece and scarves and scraping ice off the car, but this Michigan Girl also remembers a certain romance to the cold months.

And, selfishly, I want Auden to grow up shuffling through Autum leaves, going sledding and eating snow off crusty mittens, rejoicing at the first crocuses to poke through in Spring, and luxuriating at the beach in the long days of summer.

I wonder if he will see these photos of his first months and wonder about the palm trees, the impossibly clear skies, the hillsides electrified by purple and pink bouganvillea, and wonder why we chose the Hometown of Schlitz over Our Dreamy California life.

And we will say, You wouldn't have had any character if we'd stayed in San Diego. Also, you would think it's acceptable to wear flip-flops year-round.

Then he'll giggle gleefully and go back to shoveling the driveway.


Monday, June 2, 2008


How can it be?

The days and weeks have been piling up, and suddenly Auden is more than two months old.

Already, the day he was born has retreated in my memory, overplayed, a story of words now rather than visceral sensations. He is plump, smiling, growing more familiar with the world. Things seem utterly normal now -- he wears socks! we go to the grocery store! -- where they used to feel terrifying and sacred. I dress him in tidy little ensembles that belie the messy and primal way he entered into this world; the way we all enter, wet and new and smelling like blood.

Is it not still a miracle? Are we not still close to the source, two months out? But it is less raw, less remarkable somehow. I feel silly pining for those first tender days, especially when there is so much brightness in him now and so much clever mischief brewing -- but I can't help it. I could tell my birth story a hundred more times and still be amazed by it: the way I became a portal, the way all women are marked by this event and carry it with them always. I had not known this, but now I see it everywhere... Older women smile at me and ask about the baby, we nod knowingly, exchanging a quiet pride. I see how they still remember their story, how it transformed them, how they still delight in seeing a new mother emerging, wide-eyed.

I watch TV shows about babies being born, and lord help me, I cry every time.

This, from Annie Dillard, about the Obstetrical Ward:

"There might well be an old stone cairn in the hall by the elevators, or a well, or a ruined shrine wall where people still hear bells. Should we not remove our shoes, drink potions, take baths? For this is surely the wildest deep-sea vent on earth: This is where the people come out."

May it never cease to be amazing.