Ten Months with Atticus

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Summertime! In June I bought the kid a pool.

We were supposed to go up to a farm for the day, but halfway there Atticus lost. his. shit. I pulled over, nursed him, back in the car, screaming re-commenced. I pulled over, nursed him, back in the car…you see where this is going. SO MUCH SCREAMING. When I finally admitted defeat, and yelled “FINE! WE ARE NO LONGER GOING TO THE FARM! I AM TAKING YOU HOME, YOU LITTLE PSYCHOPATH!” I looked up and noticed that a) the next exit was in 2 miles, and b) the freeway had mysteriously turned into a traffic jammed parking lot. So, the screaming got plenty of airtime. The second I was able to get off the freeway, I pulled into the first parking lot I could find to take my weeping child into an air conditioned room where he just might be quiet. We found ourselves at Lowe’s, and…that place is a MIRACLE.

If you ever have a screaming, nightmare of a baby on your hands, get yourself to a home improvement store. We spent a LONG time staring at light fixtures, then moved to the paint swatches which were very entertaining. The various carpet samples were pretty awesome to rub our hands over, and we concluded our visit in the gardening section, staring at flowers.

And that’s where we found the pool.

So, over an hour later, with a kiddie pool jammed in the trunk, we returned home. Atticus promptly passed out in the backseat, most likely because he had gotten his way. And that’s how I did not make it to the farm.

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June was also the first meeting of our Baby Book Club. “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” was a big hit, as was the various Polar Bear and Panda Bear remixes found at the library. I’m pretty sure Atticus will be reading on his own by Fall.

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We went hiking for Father’s Day on Mt. Tam for the big pancake breakfast. Atticus didn’t get a nap all day and we paid the price as he screamed all the way home.

Are you noticing a trend? June was the month when naps went a little nuts. He no longer takes three a day – sometimes he only takes one. And getting him to fall asleep became a challenge. Why?

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Well look who can stand up. My baby can stand up! Shit! Among other things, this now means that the second we put him in the crib, he just pops right up and starts laughing. He stares at us with this “Holy shit you guys LOOK WHAT I’M DOING!” face and we can’t get him to sit down. I’m proud of the kid, but GO TO SLEEP.

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He also got roseola last month. Frowny face. Crappy fever for a few days, followed by a crazy rash for the afternoon. He got better pretty quickly, but not before a lot of “I need my mama” cuddles and naps. While I want a healthy kid…it was selfishly kind of nice to have him need to be on top of me.

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Ten months old. Holy shit.

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Nine Months with Atticus

Dammit. Here we are 2 days from him turning 10 months old, and I’m just now remembering to post about Month 9. I guess that as long as I don’t start falling 2 months behind, I’m doing okay.

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As you can see, he is only getting cuter.

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In May he started really propelling himself around. He still (even now) hasn’t gotten his knees up underneath him, but he army crawls around the place like nobody’s business. He has arms of steel. He makes me a little scared. We got him these hideous pads to roll around on since he was still clunking his head on the floor on a regular basis.

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For Mother’s Day we taught him to drive. Then the Lumberjack gifted me with this fine backpack, and we hit the trails.

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Roots of Empathy ended in May. I know Atticus isn’t going to remember any of it, but I’m really going to miss it. The kids were so sweet, and loved him so much, and it was so fun to take him there every month to get gazed at. All babies should be so lucky.

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Things got way more exciting in the food department in May! The kid finally started eating. He’s not too good at feeding himself yet, but he’s working on it. He loves those puree pouches, as well as taking bites from whatever I’m eating. I have to be sneaky with that, though, since ONE of his parents worries that Atticus is going to choke and die. The other parent is a little more relaxed. I’ll let you guess which one is right.

He’s still predominantly nursing, and I’m sure he will turn into a psychopathic deviant for it. I’m trying to incorporate more solids into his diet so that he’s less dependent on breastmilk, but that’s just so I can stop pumping at the office. I still love nursing the little wriggler. I love how calm it makes him, and how he’ll sort of tap tap tap on my boob like he’s thinking deep thoughts. He still does his Jane Fonda high kicks, too. That, and he’ll jam his hand in my mouth until I nibble on it, then laughs hysterically (getting milk everywhere). I know I would be getting more sleep if he wasn’t nursing, but…fuck it.

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Suddenly at the end of the month he started being big enough to sit in grocery carts and restaurant high chairs. I still can’t believe I’m a mom. To a kid. Who sits in shopping carts. The fuck?

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Eight Months with Atticus

Every month I think, “This is really the best. This is the best age, he’s doing all the best stuff, look at him. This is great.” And then he gets older, and I think, “No, NOW this is the best. This is the best age, he’s doing all the best stuff, look at him. This is great!” I am sensing a theme. Honestly? Having a kid is the best. Whatever he does. I say this, of course, as someone who chose this baby, with all the resources and community support I needed to make an educated, free decision about what I wanted to do. This is not to say that having a baby is the best For Everyone. But for me? Damn. Having a kid is fucking awesome. Best decision I ever made.

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While a lot of places had shit weather in April, we live in the Bay Area where it’s gorgeous pretty much year-round. So Atticus continued his weekend picnic parties, gazing at the sky and thinking deep thoughts.

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We started our own little evening walk tradition. The Lumberjack has class Tuesday and Thursday nights, so when I get home I take Atticus out on a walk. I show him flowers, let him smell things, and we end up at the swings. In April he was big enough to sit comfortably in the swing, and understand what was happening. He’s a fan.

He turned into a vampire:
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He skipped the middle top two teeth, and went straight for the fangs.

He became quite proficient at rolling over, and started rolling over all over the place. It was always interesting to see where he would end up during a nap.

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He rolled over (or under?) our pillow buttresses, so…he now sleeps in a crib.

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He doesn’t seem too scarred by it. It’s right next to the bed, so I can still hear his little baby snores. He naps in there, and we put him down at night in there, but most nights he ends up back in the bed with us by morning. Sometimes I wake up and he’s right there under my armpit, and I swear I don’t remember taking him out of the crib. How does it do it?!

He still wakes every 3 hours or so to eat, but I’m so used to it at this point that I barely notice. I can’t even remember what it feels like to sleep until it’s time to wake up. We are VERY lucky with this baby – he goes down without much of a fuss (any fuss lasts 15 minutes tops, and is always soothed by Baby Crack aka singing Baby Beluga), and when he wakes at night it’s just to eat and then pass out again. He’s all business. So, while it would be nice to have longer chunks of sleep, I also know that it could be WAY worse. I’ll stick with what I’ve got.

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We kept trying solids, but in April he really just wasn’t into them. He loved to watch me pantomime how to eat (“mmm! yum yum yum yum!”), but he just let everything fall right back out of his mouth. [Spoiler Alert: in May he gets with the program.]

He’s still huge, and is officially too heavy to wear. Wearing him on my front for more than a quick errand gives me back pain, but wearing him on my back seems to make him annoyed. I would probably be annoyed too, if my face was pressed into someone’s shoulder blades and I couldn’t see shit. So, we’re officially a stroller family. I was all self-conscious at first, given all the Anti-Stroller propaganda. But I luckily stopped giving a fuck. He LOVES being in the stroller – he can see things up close, can wiggle/move as needed, and has toys to play with while he hangs out. I love the stroller, since I can bring extra stuff with us – carrying both the baby and the groceries/picnic stuff/toys/etc was pretty difficult. So, yay stroller.

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But I will always love wearing him when possible.

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Seven Months with Atticus

He’s not officially seven months old until Wednesday, but tomorrow we’re taking him on a 20-hour journey to the other side of the planet, and we lose Wednesday somewhere in the middle there (we leave on Tuesday, and arrive on Thursday, but it only takes 20 hours…WHAT HAPPENED TO WEDNESDAY), so there will be no photo on the rocking chair until we get back. Or maybe I’ll do it tonight, if I don’t have enough other things to do to prepare for tomorrow’s adventure.

Anyway! My kid, he keeps getting bigger. This month he basically just became an even larger, cuter, heart-asploding handsome little chubby-cheeked monster. He laughs at everything now, and holy fuck you guys I am so intensely in love with him. It literally hurts to look at him sometimes. I physically feel it in my insides, this deep, overwhelming desire to hug and protect and squeeze and observe and just BE near him.

jihwesdkuhwieruhiuhjhj$#%$^$#%@#$% brain: kaput.

He is still stuffing everything into his mouth.

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EVERYTHING. He somehow added a new channel to our roku player by chewing on the remote.

The weather has been totally incredible lately. Gorgeous sunny skies with a nice breeze. I spent most of all this month’s weekends on picnics with various friends.

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HOW CUTE IS THIS BABY

Yesterday A3 and I had a baby photo shoot for Easter. We got a bunch of cute pictures of them sitting up and looking adorable, but my favorite is this one where you can see them as preteens, totally over it.

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BabyClaws is being a good sport, but Atticus is DONE.

I’ve been taking a ton of pictures of the kid; for every picture I post here, there’s about 53 in my phone. Having camera phones makes taking photos so easy – I end up with a dozen new pictures every day. But I rarely have any of me with him, since I’m always taking the picture. After reading this article (and after finishing the resulting sappy cry), I’ve decided to ask people to take my picture with Atticus more often. I love baby pictures of myself with my parents – it makes me so happy to see what they looked like when I was so small. I want to make sure I provide that to Atticus, too.

So, here we are on Sunday:

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And here he is with the Lumberjack, totally cracking each other up:

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(if you follow me on instagram, you can see more of those! user: dkingneece)

I am wildly, insanely, overwhelmingly in love with my little boy.

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Back to Work

So, I’m working again.  I don’t get to hang out with the coolest little baby all day long anymore.  I keep wanting to write a post about it, but never get around to it, so instead here is the email I just sent to my friend who’s going back to work in a few weeks and wanted to know how bad it was going to be:

Back to work. It is not that bad. First! First, you will like it. The first few days will be fun! Exciting, a new challenge, nice to get out of the house and pee whenever you want to pee without having to prepare the baby first. You’ll use your brain, which is nice. All your coworkers will be excited to see you so you’ll get to talk about the baby a lot. Everyone will complement you on how great you look. It’s fantastic!

After the first few days, you settle in and it’s not new & exciting anymore, but still nice to get out of the house and to have a set schedule. Then, somewhere in the second week, you realize that actually? Work sucks, and your baby is awesome, and it is STUPID that you are at work, and why aren’t you staying home and being a happy, hippie earth mama with your incredible kid telling you great stories all day long? You are a BAD MOM and clearly you DON’T love your baby as much as you think you do, and your husband is probably JUDGING YOU.

You have to push past that point.

It gets better! That crap lasts another few weeks, and then…it just becomes what you do. You wake up, you go to work, it’s not the greatest but it’s not terrible, you remind yourself that you’re being a good female role model for the kid and you’re contributing both to society and to your family, and you enjoy the hell out of that baby whenever you’re home, and you remind yourself (remind your husband to remind you if you forget) that your husband admires and respects you for what you’re doing, and everything is going to be just fine.

The end. For now. I’m only 5 weeks back, so who knows what the future holds. But for now I’m doing okay.

Four Months with Atticus

Look at me, posting just one day after the baby got one month older. Blogging: I’m right on top of it, Rose.

This month was exciting! He’s doing so many new things with his body!
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I took him swimming for the first time, and he was PSYCHED. Look at him in the changing room in his swim diaper – he can barely stand it. He is a total fish. When I first pulled him into the pool, I assumed I would hold him vertically upright and just bob around for awhile. But no! He immediately stretched out horizontally and started kicking! MY BABY’S A GENIUS, Y’ALL. So around and around the pool we went, with him kicking and occasionally even doing the crawl stroke! Whaaaaaat. Anyway, we’ve gone a few times this month, and each time he tries something new (he can now float on his back with just one hand holding up his head). We’re going to start baby swim classes in the spring, but until then my kid & I are hanging out together in the pool, making the other swimmers swoon.

He’s also rolling onto either side now all by himself, as well as pushing up on his feet to make a bridge when he’s laying on his back. And when I pull him up to a sitting position, he pulls himself up with my help instead of just being dragged along. It’s so fun to see these changes in him, and to realize how much he still has to learn.

He’s also gotten really into music lately. He still prefers “Baby Beluga” (what is up with babies and that song?!), but he’s branched out a bit. Elizabeth Mitchell is our current favorite – “Peace Like a River” is so sweet and cheerful, and so easy to sing along with. He LOVES it when I sing along to music. He’ll be happily listening to something, then the second I start singing he opens his eyes wide and gets a huge grin on his face. I think this kid will love karaoke.

The other night I was dancing him around the room singing along with Hangin’ Tough (thanks, Pandora), and he started laughing so hard he gave himself hiccups.

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hangin’ SO tough

and when he laughs he makes noise, now! It’s amazing! He used to just silently chuckle at things, but now you can actually hear it, and it’s awesome. The Lumberjack calls it “the best sound ever” and it really is.

This baby also wants to chew on everything now. EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING INTO HIS MOUTH.
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He’s gotten pretty good at pulling things to his mouth, but his preference is still to bring his mouth to the thing. So he grabs something in his hand, and then slowly drops his head down with his mouth open like a little fish (BABY FISH MOUTH*) until he makes contact. My mom said he looks like Winston Churchill, all huddled over. An ADORABLE Winston Churchill, sure.

*the Lumberjack had NO IDEA what I was talking about when I shouted “baby fish mouth!” the other day. I don’t even know what to do with this information.

So, I’m back at work. And yes, there’s still a post that goes with that, but not now because it’s Friday afternoon and I don’t feel like it. The Lumberjack is taking great care of that kid, although I know they miss me terribly. He texts me photos throughout the day of their adventures:

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this picture was accompanied by
“he’s going to join the Misfits”

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vintage Mount Diablo

I miss them 😦

We do still get to have adventures as a family on the weekends. Last week we went to a Winter Solstice event up in the Berkeley hills, and the weather was…not great.
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Luckily the baby just went with it.

And of course the month was capped with Christmas!
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I really love Christmas. I love buying/making presents for my loved ones, and the food, and music…it’s great. Warm & fuzzy, etc. My family’s tradition has been to get ornaments every year, and I want to continue that with Atticus. This year I decided to make his!
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It helped that he had no idea what I was doing, so I could work on it in front of him. The back is covered in gold sparkles. I wish I could wear it as a small hat.

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For Christmas he sat up in a high chair by himself! He slumped to the side, and got sick of it real quick, but still. Look at him go.

It's cool, I'm four months old...whatever.

It’s cool, I’m four months old, NBD.

Three Months with Atticus

My baby is 3 months old!  Of course, the next day he started wearing 6mo clothing.  Good lord.IMG_3925

Breastfeeding is still fantastic (my milk supply got Seriously Out Of Control).  The only tricky thing is that my ridiculously long baby now hangs off my lap, so nursing in public has gotten more difficult.  I love having him curled up in my lap, but he needs extra pillows to support his entire body, so the quick restaurant feed is now an ordeal as he writhes around, trying to get comfortable.  However!  The other day I nursed him in the Ergo baby carrier, in the baking aisle of the grocery store!  That was pretty awesome.  Especially when an older couple came up to coo at him and got all up in his face, then realized what they were looking at (aka my boob) and practically ran away.  Oops.

He’s turning into a kid!  He plays with a toy!  Well, he grasps it, pulls it up to his mouth, and then frantically tries to shove it in his mouth while licking it all over.IMG_3917  This kid wants everything to be in his mouth.  His favorite trick is to shove one fist in his mouth, then use the other hand to push his fist in farther.  ?!  He has been known to do this until he gags himself.  Charming.

He's not always pleased about the weather

He’s not always pleased about the weather

The weather  has gotten colder, which means I have to bundle this baby up more.  Our apartment is freezing, so he’s wrapped up as much as possible.  I miss seeing his soft skin!  It’s fun taking him outside with everything all crisp and cool, though, since he’s perked up and pays much more attention now to his surroundings.  He’s big enough to face outwards in the carrier, and he seems to be taking everything in.  He likes to hold each of my pointer fingers in has hands, like he’s steering me around.

Baby knows that napping is the best part of Thanksgiving.

Baby knows that napping is the best part of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving was low-key this year.  The Lumberjack’s brother came down and we went to my parents’ house.  We had the usual food stuff, with the usual family issues (aka my mom still hasn’t accepted that she doesn’t like to do the whole big cooking/hosting thing, and that’s FINE and we’re all perfectly happy anyway, so enough with the pretending and the apologizing let’s just order food from somewhere else and enjoy each other’s company!), but we had a BABY!  He was adorable and in a lovely mood and took a bunch of naps so that I could drink beer.  Nice job, kid.

I went back to work the day before he turned 3 months old.  That is its own post, really.

Okay, to be honest it’s way past him turning 3 months old.  He’s over 3.5 months at this point.  So I don’t really remember what happened last month as opposed to what’s happening now, so I’ll stop here and just promise myself to get on my 4 month post faster!

Also, the shooting in Connecticut this morning has totally fucked with my head.  I got home and couldn’t squeeze him hard enough.  This morning I woke up around 6:30am California time, and he was lying there, wide awake, his eyes and mouth both open huge all happy & smiling.  He’s always so happy in the morning.  I just watched him for awhile, thinking about how lucky I am to have this amazing baby, and just falling in love with him all over again.  Then I find out later that at that exact time, across the country there were 5yo babies being fucking slaughtered.  I can’t even understand this.

My baby is 3 months old.

My baby is 3 months old.

Two Months with Atticus

Okay, it’s gotten to be RIDICULOUS how much I love this little baby.  I simultaneously can’t wait for him to keep growing and getting bigger so we can do more and more things together, and hoping he never changes because having him sleep on my chest all tiny and wrapped up in my arms is the best.  The best!  You’re killing me, baby!  How are you so amazing?!

That is one regal baby

This month we went on lots of picnics.  The weather has been amazing, so I’m trying to get him outdoors as much as possible.  Look, kid, it’s the sun!  It’s fun to hold things under his nose and watch him smell them for the first time.  Grass seemed to make a big impact.

Doing his best to outgrow his napping chair.

He’s growing at an alarming pace.  He was 7lb 15oz at birth.  He is now 14lb 2oz.  Well, that was last week.  Who knows what he’s at now – at one point he gained 10 ounces IN FOUR DAYS.  Dear god.  He’s in the 89th percentile for weight, and the 100th percentile for height.  This kid is going to be enormous.

Going to bed is serious business.

This month we started working on a bedtime routine.  We used to just let him nap in the living room with us until I was ready to go to sleep, and then I took him to bed with me.  Not anymore!  Now we put him to bed at 9pm, and then I sneak in whenever I feel like going to bed.  I’m an adult – I go to bed WHEN I PLEASE.  So far he’s been super easy to put down.  I nurse him, sing a few songs (Baby Beluga and Goodnight My Someone are the two hits for now), then put him down in the middle of the bed all swaddled up.  Sometimes he wakes up 5 minutes later crying and I go nurse him again and then he’s out, but most nights he’s just out all by himself.  I go to bed around 10/11ish, and he doesn’t wake up for a feeding until 12:30/1?  Around then.  He’s waking up every 2-3 hours at night.  I just scoot over to him and give him the boob, and he eats for about 4 minutes and then falls asleep.  So, not too bad.  I’m looking forward to longer stretches of sleep, though.  Annnnnnny day now, buddy.

He’s still sleeping in our bed, right in between us.  We are getting a bit torn on this.  On one hand, it’s so wonderful to have him right there, to cuddle up to him, hear him breathing, be able to feed him without having to get up…on the other hand, that kid thrashes around a lot while “sleeping” which is tricky, and I do miss cuddling with my husband.  So, we’re not sure what the plan is.  But for now I get to curl up with a lightly snoring little puppy-like human when I go to bed, and that can’t be beat.

Breastfeeding is still going great.  I’m thankful every day that it’s been as easy as it has for us.  I’m still making way more milk than necessary – after I feed him in the morning, I pump about 5 ounces on each side for freezer storage.  He eats almost every hour during the day (this may explain how he is nearly 15lbs), so it’s wonderful to have the food always on hand.  Or, in bra.  Two weeks ago he was getting a lazy latch, so my nipples started hurting a bit again (like they had in the beginning), but otherwise there’s been no pain whatsoever since week 3 or 4.  We are pros!

Cloth diapering is getting much easier.  I still hate how wet they stay on his skin, but it doesn’t seem to bother him all that much so we’re going with it.

I used a stroller for the first time last week!  And hated it.  It was great to have a little bed for him to sleep in (I took it to a picnic) so I didn’t have to be holding him the whole time, and it was nice to be able to bring more stuff with me (basket below carried the picnic blanket and food), but the wheels are so annoying and it’s just weird to have him away from my body.  So, it’s nice to have the option but I don’t think we’ll use it that much.  I’m using the carrier (Beco Gemini) constantly.  My body hurts a little bit, but it seems to just be from all the walking combined with the extra kid weight – there’s no specific back pain from the carrier.  So: Beco Gemini is a good fit.  I still covet every other carrier I see, though, sort of like how I used to be obsessed with purses.  Accessories are so fun!  But damn, carriers are PRICEY.  So, I’ll stick with the Beco for now.

This was a very filthy baby.

He’s starting to like bath time!  We now bring a space heater into the bathroom and make sure to have as much of him under water as possible, and now he loves it!  And holy crap, a naked baby laughing in soapy water is probably the cutest thing ever.

He makes noises now!  And laughs!  It’s amazing!  He does this coo/gurgle thing while staring at us intently, so it seems like he’s really trying to communicate.  Because, you see, my baby is a GENIUS.  But also, so cute.  It’s awesome to see him learning how to exist in the world, and trying to connect with us.  We went to a baby sign language class today (free classes at the Oakland Library, Thursdays at 2:30pm all month – except Thanksgiving – if you’re local!), which was fun.  Supposedly kids can start signing at 4-5 months, so we’re starting a bit early.  My current method is to say “do you want some MILK?” with the sign for “milk” each time I’m getting ready to feed him.  I ask “are you DONE?” with the “all done” sign, and then confirm “all done!” while signing it again if he doesn’t keep eating, or say “okay, let’s have MORE” with the sign for “more” if he’s still hungry.  That is my elaborate plan for teaching this baby to communicate.

Two months old!

So, we’re doing good.  He’s healthy, happy, and seems pretty fond of us.  We are totally smitten and regularly exclaim to each other “HOW IS THIS BABY SO CUTE.”  I am grateful every day that getting (and staying) pregnant was so easy for us, and that he came into the world so quickly and painlessly and that we get to have him in our family.  This baby is awesome.

How many photos can we take of a tiny human?

Answer: lots.

I realized a few weeks ago that this baby is constantly changing.  I then burst into tears and wailed to the Lumberjack “are we taking enough pictures to remember everything?!” and he unfortunately said “probably not” so now I have about a thousand pictures of a sleeping baby and they all look the same.  Cute, but still.  The baby is sleeping.  It’s not all that interesting.

However!  Last week my brother, sister-in-law and nephew (eeeee!!!!!) were in town, so my mom scheduled a family photo shoot.  So now we have some photos where you can actually see my kid looking like an interesting little person.

See?  Instead of sleeping, he’s just sleepy.

I’m also taking videos of him where I film him sitting there as I narrate the various tasks he’s accomplished lately.  They go something like this:

Atticus: (stares blankly at the camera)

me: Hello, sweetpea!  Today is October 25 and you are almost 2 months old!

Atticus: (rolls eyes slowly towards the wall)

me: Today we went on a picnic!  You screamed a lot.

Atticus: (blinks eyes three times)

me: I put you on your stomach for tummy time.  You hated it.

Atticus: (slides sidewise)

me: You’re still the cutest baby ever!

Atticus: (spits up a bunch of milk all over himself)

me: oops.

Atticus: The Birth Story

Since it’s been over 3 weeks, I figured it was high time to actually document all the activity that went down August 26-27, for when I am old and frail and can’t remember anything.

August 26 was The Due Date, and I woke up that morning with insane blood pressure.  Also, I had only slept about 3 hours the night before (the last night before a baby and I get even less sleep than I’m getting now) due to the Lumberjack caving to my pregnancy request for chocolate cake and peppermint ice cream so I was All Hopped Up On Sugar.  We now like to call it the Peppermint Ice Cream and Chocolate Cake Induction.  Man that messed me up.

Anyway!  So my blood pressure was crazy and they told me to come to the hospital.  After the Lumberjack spent about 3 hours doing random chores while I sat on the couch thinking “Holy shit we’re GOING TO HAVE A BABY seriously what the fuck is my husband doing NOW?” we got in the car.  Oh, but first I got in a fight with our neighbor who seriously doesn’t know how to park a goddamn car, so apparently that was the right time for me to explain things to her.  Priorities!  I have them.

my last Sunday pregnancy photo

So, the hospital.  Laura (our midwife) met us there and we saw a doctor who basically said: either we induce now, or you go home and wait until your scheduled induction in 3 days, but your cervix is not at all dilated so there’s really no chance that you’ll go into labor on  your own, which means you’ll be back here in 3 days with the same choices anyway, only you may stroke out and die in the meantime.  I didn’t like this doctor so much.  We agreed that induction was the way to go, only I said a resounding NO to the drugs she wanted me to take to dilate my cervix, seeing as how they can cause fetal death, maternal death, uterine rupture, and so on.  Luckily we got a new doctor right around that time who agreed to put in a bulb catheter thingy, which manually dilates the cervix instead of using medication.  So it was my body making it  happen, not drugs, which is what I wanted.

So!  7pm and we’re in the birthing room, placing the catheter.  It went in super easy, and then we just laid around waiting for Something To Happen.  I think I slept a little?  I can’t really remember.  It was still pretty surreal.  I do remember suddenly puking a lot, and being very happy with how cool the puke bags at the hospital were (seriously – they were very handy).  At 3am the catheter came out, which meant I was 3-4cm dilated and that we could now start labor.  The nurse gave me pitocin at 4am, despite me not wanting it at all.  At least she put me on the low dose?  Anyway, within an hour or so I was clearly contracting away, so she turned it down and eventually off, letting my body doing things on its own.  Like I wanted.  Again.  (Hey western medicine: please let my body do things on its own.)

The sun came up and I was In Labor.  Holy shit!  When they say that it hurts, they are not lying.  You should listen to them.  Goddamn.  I think I handled it pretty well – I stayed super calm and quiet and internal and just did a LOT of focusing and breathing.  We had brought a lot of things to the hospital to “help” – oils, scented lotion, things to hold &/or squeeze, music, etc.  I didn’t want any of it.  I just wanted to sit there with my eyes closed and with midwife & Lumberjack hands pressing on my back while I thought really hard about what was happening inside my body and did my best to keep breathing.

I was pretty exhausted, what with this being my second night with no sleep, so I actually kept falling asleep in between contractions.  At one point I fell asleep and started snoring while sitting on the toilet, with Laura standing nearby to make sure I didn’t fall over.  I spent most of the time lying sideways on the bed and gripping the hell out of the handrails (my arms and back were aching for the next 2 days from the exertion).  They had fetal monitors on me most of the time, so I could see the contractions coming and going.  It was also pretty crazy because the nurse had to keep repositioning them as the baby moved lower – once she was tracking his heartbeat down by my hip, I realized that there was a fucking human being working his way out of my body.  That…was weird.

Around 11am I was 9cm dilated.  At this point I had been sort of pushing with each contraction – not a lot, but enough to feel like I was making progress.  Suddenly, MY WATER BROKE ALL THE FUCK OVER EVERYONE.  It was completely insane.  It was the biggest, most amazingly crazy KAPOW feeling ever.  It felt like all of my insides totally exploded.  I kinda thought I had shit everywhere.  Laura yelled out “your waters broke!  they’re clear!  they’re beautiful!” which was hilarious.

By 11:30 I was at 10cm so I was allowed to start pushing for real.  Laura had my left leg bent up and the nurse had my right leg pulled out and the Lumberjack was petting my head and my mom was…trying to take pictures.  The fuck?  I couldn’t verbalize anything at this point so I just started wagging my finger at her and yelling “no!  no!  no!” until the nurse said “uh, I don’t think she wants you taking pictures right now.”  SERIOUSLY.

little naked baby

The pushing was hard, but it was the first time that I actually felt somewhat in control of the process, so it felt really good.  This was the part I got to DO, rather than just letting things happen to me.  The nurse got all up in my face, yelling at me to hold my breath and push for 10 seconds at a time – she even counted out on her fingers, right in front of my nose.  She later apologized for getting too drill sergeant on me, but it was actually awesome.  I just stared at her hand and made it happen.

I made it happen a little too fast, actually, because the nurse was suddenly on the phone all “GET IN HERE NOW” to the doctor and he was literally still pulling on his haz-mat suit (he looked like one of the bad guys from E.T. – it seemed a little like overkill) when he had to GRAB MY KID.  I don’t really remember a “ring of fire” or anything more intense than anything else, but I do remember feeling this slithery motion like a fish was getting out of me and then BAM.  Baby.  On the bed.  My baby.  7lbs, 15oz, born August 27 at 12:10pm.

He shit all over himself.  I did not shit the bed – the baby took care of it.  He was blue, so they whisked him off to the little warming table across the room.  I was instantly totally alert, and yelled at the Lumberjack, “Let’s do that again!”  He was a little distracted with the baby not breathing well, though.  I was still in the bed, so I couldn’t see what was going on, but my mom and the Lumberjack were both with him, talking to him, and they later said it was a little scary for a bit.  I’m glad I missed out on that.  All I got to see was them bring him back to me with his wide open eyes and curious long fingers.  I pulled him under the blanket and pressed his little naked body against my chest, and then I was a mom.  Bizarre.

the Sunday after I popped out a baby.