Rain on, Denver.

It’s been quite the week so far.  And at only Wednesday, I’m not sure how much longer it will feel before it’s actually Friday evening and I can take a deep breath.

We have hired a new nanny to watch both B and my nephew.  I am sad to see our current nanny go and again have to deal with the “newness” of something else.  I am terrible with change — except for accepting B into our world.  He was a fairly easy transition.  The nanny situation is another story.  Leaving my most precious treasure with a complete stranger who is so different from me and from my mom and from my husband and from my mother-in-law is terrifying.  Knowing she’ll have the responsibility of not one but TWO infants is even more difficult to swallow.

In my ideal world, I wouldn’t even be talking about a nanny.  I would be staying home with Sweet B until he’s ready for school.  This is not an option right now, and thankfully, we can afford to do what we think is the next best thing for our babe, which is to put him in a nanny share situation with his cute little cousin.

And, you know, we got used to our first nanny, so I’m sure this will be the same — just transitioning.

It’s rained all night and has continued today perfectly reflecting my mood.  Savoring.  Quiet.  Thoughtful.

A few weeks ago we were at Queechy with B and he was able to play in the water, meet my people who are now his people, and breathe in the Berkshires and Columbia County–some of the prettiest landscape in the world.  I love the rain there.  Today, Denver feels like home.

B is two weeks away from being SIX MONTHS old.  We are floored at how fast the time has gone and how much more we love our boy every day.  He is smart and funny and has quite the charming personality.

B has accomplished:
- Tummy time
- Sitting in the Bumbo chair
- Grabbing glasses off faces
- Picking up toys and putting them directly in mouth
- Rolling over from front to back and from back to front

B is working on accomplishing:
- Napping in the crib
- Getting that first tooth to pop the bottom gums
- Sitting comfortably upright in the stroller
- Remembering how to sleep through the night (toughest on mom and dad)

Though we keep looking for houses to buy, we are snuggled in our apartment and feel happy and content most days.  The “search” continues!


C is back and better than ever!  We’re so happy to have our husband and Dad home with us.

It was ten days of different for me and my little sidekick, but we had great company while C was gone.  My dad and my brother flew to Denver from opposite coasts and we partied.  We were out and about and had a ton of fun!  B loved meeting his new people and getting used to a newborn seemed easy-peasy for both Dad and brother.  Each morning my brother was here, B and I had to wake him up by getting really close to him on his bed.  ”Hello.  Want to play, Uncle Miggy?”

B practiced taking a bottle from my dad and did well some days and not so well on other days.

It was a joy-filled time even without our C!

The other great news that comes out of C’s homecoming is that we met the nanny who will take care of Benjamin when I go back to work.  It was difficult to find the right person, and we hope she’s it.  I feel much more confident going back knowing that my darling boy will be looked after by a compassionate caregiver.

T minus freakout.

I like(d) my job.

I have to keep reminding myself that before I had a baby, I liked my job.  It was my social outlet, my brain food, my place to wear cute outfits.  But now, I’m not that same person any more.  I have a new job.  And it’s super, super important.

We are interviewing a nanny tonight and Chris has had his radioactive iodine treatment (hopefully now we can say good-bye to cancer!) and is in “isolation” at his mom’s house.  We miss him!  He will be joining us for the interview over Skype.  It’s lame all around.  The nanny, the radioactive iodine, the going back to work.

We are interviewing a nanny because we didn’t get into either day care we were hoping to have B attend after my maternity leave.  We’ve been on waiting lists since August 2013.  Now we’re on several other waiting lists for many other day cares.

Let me tell you, Denver, if there is an infant opening at a day care, you won’t want to take your baby there.  I’ve seen cinderblock homes in Lakewood dubbed “academies” and “teachers” who look like they’ve been dragged out of a back alley and put in charge of wee babies.  The choices out there for infant care are clear to me after searching for weeks; Hire a nanny or get into a top-tier day care (pay beaucoup bucks for each) or stay home with your little babe (and forget ever retiring or being able to send your child to college.)

The United States stinks when it comes to options for new mothers.  Oh.  You’re six or eight weeks postpartum?  Pony up and drop your kid somewhere because you need to get back to work to pay your rent.  And I’m a lucky mother.  I have used five weeks of my earned vacation time for maternity leave.  To complete a full 12 week leave, I am taking the remainder of my time off unpaid through the Family Medical Leave Act (and through choices C and I were fortunate to be able to make).  Not everyone can do this.  In fact, I would wager a guess and say most new mothers can’t do this and are unable to spend this valuable time with their children.  Want more breastfed babies?  Give moms more time to stay home and do it.  I have a feeling there are twenty-five more posts hiding in here…but I’ll stop at this.

It feels bleak!

How can I leave my little muffin in another person’s care?  Especially now that he knows me, it’s even more difficult to think about a future that’s staring me in the face.  I don’t want to fail at this job.

Am I where I thought I’d be?

Actually.  It’s even better that I imagined.

Today is my birthday.  This morning, after nine hours of sleep, B woke up at five with quite the growling tummy.  He went to town, slurping and gurgling and burping.  About 40 minutes later, he had a projectile vomiting session in the living room.  Luckily, C was still home (making me french toast for breakfast) so he helped me spot clean little B.

It’s been a lazy morning since then with some cluster feeding and lots of snuggling and sleeping on my lap.  It’s where he is now, actually.  I’m embracing all of it.

I feel like the luckiest gal in the world.

Pump it up.

As nursing has become more enjoyable, pumping, I’m realizing, is quite the chore.

I mean, I’m doing it.  Once or twice or three times a day to build up a stash for B when I return to work.  But it’s not my favorite thing.  While nursing is a lovely break in our hours together where I can look at the beautiful head and hands and feet I created, pumping is something I do while I’m half asleep, or while I could be napping with Benjamin or getting to the three craft projects I’ve started (ha!).

Two weeks ago we gave B a bottle for the first time.  I pumped into it and Chris offered it to baby.  Once B discovered what was inside, he did wonderfully.  A true champ.

I, however, went into meltdown mode and cried when I saw him gulping so willingly out of that foreign object.  My first thought was, THAT BOTTLE IS PLASTIC!  PLASTIC IS EVIL!  My second thought was, ONE DAY BENJAMIN WILL GO TO KINDERGARTEN.  THEN HE’LL GET MARRIED!  AAAAAACK!  And my life flashed before my eyes and my heart broke in half.

But then I came to again and realized the scene unfolding before me was fantastic.  My husband was able to bond with our baby in the most intimate way–by feeding him.  All because of pumping.

Because I’m able to pump my milk, other special people in Benjamin’s life can also bond with him at mealtimes by giving him a bottle.

I imagine I will learn soon, that pumping will also give me a different kind of freedom to be out and about and offer our baby a bottle when breastfeeding isn’t convenient.

Cheers to that nasty little machine of mine!

Working for the weekend.

My first weeks alone with B I was definitely working for the weekend.

It is exhausting being home alone with a newborn.  And that whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” advice is just not realistic.  Generally, if B takes a nap in the early morning (say between 7:30 and 8:30), I can get in twenty minutes or so of my own sleep between pumping, feeding myself, finding a hair tie and putting on clean underwear.  Then B wakes up again for another meal and we start the process all over again.  Nurse, play, sleep.

And there are other things I’d rather be doing while he’s napping, like taking him and me for a walk outside or checking my email.

I’m definitely doing better now that we’re in week five.  I have figured out a bit of a rhythm with B during the weekdays (not a schedule, mind you, just a rhythm) but know there will be days when C comes home and the house is in chaos and we are too.  Today, for example, he came home and I was holding B in the rocking chair in the nursery.  B was on the verge of hysterics.  I was singing camp songs and what I remember of the Sesame Street theme song–B was not impressed.  The living room was littered with cardboard books and blankets.

Still, the weekends are the best.  When C is home I feel much more at ease.  If B is crying, I can hand him over (dad burps him best).  I can take a shower (take that, Janice!)  I can have C hand me my water while I nurse or he can make me a grilled cheese sandwich.

Together is definitely better for the three of us!

Nursing B.

The moment B was born he was placed on my chest — his skin to my skin.  He was not rinsed off or wrapped up.  He was given to me just as he was.  It was exactly what I wanted.

I held him close while he wailed.  After a little bit, C cut his umbilical cord and the baby nurse came in.  She showed B how to latch on and gave me some guidance on how to hold him while nursing.

It was difficult.

A few hours later when we were in our room, after another nursing session,  it downright HURT.  Nursing made me cry.  The next morning my breasts were bruised.

I did not recall any of this hurting business as material from the three-hour breastfeeding course C and I took before we had B.

On day two the hospital sent in a lactation consultant at my request.  I’ll call her Janice to protect her identity because I was not her biggest fan.  The first time Janice came to my room I was in the shower and C was holding a sleeping B.  She told C to tell me that my “days of leisurely showers are over” and that she’d be back.

When she returned, Janice shoved my breasts around and pretty much jammed B’s mouth onto my nipples.  He was crying.  I was crying.  Chris was helplessly watching.

I left the hospital sore, but satisfied that B was doing well and had a proper latch.  He’d only lost 2.3% of his body weight during our stay and the normal is anywhere between five and ten percent.  I felt confident that I knew what I was doing.

Then my milk “came in.”  I suffered nearly immediate engorgement.

Holy cow.  It was awful.

C and I were panicked that we may have to go to the emergency room because the pain I was experiencing seemed so severe — heightened by nerves and hormones.  I began frantically writing Facebook messages and emails and texts to nursing friends for advice and to see what on earth this was all about.  The hospital did not warn me about engorgement and what to do to help myself when my milk came in.

I looked all over the internet for guidance.  Hot compresses before feedings, ice packs after.  Make sure the baby keeps nursing.  What if the baby can’t latch on because it’s too hard for him because there is so much milk?  Just keep trying.  Pump if you need to, but don’t pump too much otherwise you’ll stimulate over-production. How much is too much when it comes to pumping?

I pumped.  I iced and warmed.  I put a cabbage leaves in my bra.  The engorgement went away within 40 hours, but the pain didn’t stop for a few weeks and sometimes I cried while nursing, especially at night.

Then one day, at about two weeks, we turned a corner.  Things became easier and calmer.  B and I fell into a routine.  He knew his favorite position and I understood how it was supposed to feel–not exactly comfortable, but definitely not painful.

Janice, for all her short comings as a very aggressive lactation consultant, did give me one piece of good advice I’m glad I took.  ”Get a My Brest Friend.”  It’s a nursing pillow with lumbar support that clips around your torso.  It’s like a wearable shelf for your nursing baby.  B loves it.  I love it too.  It’s hilarious looking.

Overall, at the beginning of week four, I feel much better and am enjoying our quiet time nursing every few hours.  It is my favorite time of day (and night).  It is intimate and loving and I have a sense of incredible purpose knowing I’m giving B the very best of me.

“Oh I wish I were a little sip ‘a coke!”

I don’t know many lullabies.

There are a few songs I know by rote, but lullabies aren’t in my repertoire.

However, I do know summer camp songs — some very well.  They were a pretty big part of my childhood.  During much of my youth, Wednesdays after dinner I’d spend at Girl Scout troop meetings in the basement of the Lutheran church.  When I was a Junior Girl Scout, we’d begin and end meetings singing peppy fun songs that prepared us for summer scout camp.  By the time we got to camp, we knew the words and all the extra-silly verses.

Yesterday, I was driving a screaming baby boy to Wash Park for an early morning walk with two other mommies and their babes.  He was not happy, having been woken up from a quick nap so I could put him in a sleeper.

By the time we got to 8th and Corona, he was bananas baby in the back seat.  After saying things like, “Oh Benjamin, why are you crying, baby boy?” and “Darling boy, please don’t get worked up…”  I did what I had to do, and started singing him camp songs.

It worked!  By 1st and Downing he was asleep.  Or maybe he was pretending to be asleep so I’d stop singing.  Either way.

I sang, “Oh I Wish,” and “I Went to a Chinese Restaurant.”  I also sung him what I remembered of “The Cannibal King.”

The songs are silly and fun and plain strange.  Luckily, my audience didn’t seem to mind.

Maybe one day he’ll be singing them around a campfire like I used to…


Oh I wish

Oh, I wish I was a little bar of soap (bar of soap)
Oh I wish I was a little bar of soap (bar of soap)

I’d go slippy, slippy, slidey over everybody’s hiney
Oh, I wish I was a little bar of soap (bar of soap)

Slice of orange…I’d go squirty, squirty, squirty over everybody’s shirty…

Sip of Coke..I’d go down with a slurp, and come up with a burp…

Church pigeon…I’d get up on the steeple and go “pfffft” on the people…

I went to a Chinese restaurant (a partner clapping really bizarre song)

I went to a Chinese restaurant to buy a loaf of bread-bread-bread
He wrapped it up in a brown paper bag and this is what he said-said-said

My name is…
huckleberry full of whiskey
Chinese chopsticks ciao!

(and that’s all I remember!)

The Cannibal King (warning: PG-13 lyrics!)

The Cannibal King with a big nose ring
Fell in love with a dusty maid
And every night by the pale moon light
Across the lake he wade

He hugged and kissed his pretty little miss
Under the bamboo tree
And every night by the pale moon light
It sounded like this to me

Ba-roomp, Ba-roomp
Ba-roomp, ah-de ah-de ay

Ba-roomp, Ba-roomp
Ba-roomp, ah-de ah-de ay

We are not alone.

Week three is in full swing here and we’re all doing okay!  Yesterday we brought baby out a few times — to Chef Zorba’s and then for a long walk in Wash Park.  Denver did its thing and gave us a beautiful 70-degree Sunday after a snowstorm dumped a few inches over city rooftops on Friday.  The park was packed with runners and bikers and volleyball players.  I lost count of the number of baby strollers.

We have been experiencing what are commonly called baby’s witching hour(s) with B.  We tend to experience this common newborn issue in the hours between the late afternoon nursing session and our seven p.m. bedtime each day.  He is fed, he is dry, he is being rocked and held and loved on…and he’s crying, even screaming.  No one told us about this in the baby care classes we took.

It is difficult to hear B cry.  Period.  I love him and I want to give him what he needs.  It’s especially hard when C comes home to us and B is inconsolable.  ”Has it been like this all day?” The answer is no.  We wake up, we nurse, we play and read and lay on our tummies.  We nap, we do it all over again.  Warmer days, we take walks.  We do a lot of nursing, and that’s a calm, quiet time.

I finally got a chance to catch up on a blog I read often, &Kathleen.  She and I were a few weeks apart in our pregnancies and it was a comfort to read the details of someone who was going through a similar situation for the first time as well.  Imagine my interest when I saw this post, titled Witching Hour.  Phew.  We are not alone.

Newborns are basically on information-overload from the moment they leave the womb.  There is so much stimulation.  So much noise.  So much to learn.  It’s exhausting for them.  Because communication is not a strong suit for these little tiny babes yet, the only way they can deal with their unhappiness and tiredness after being overly stimulated throughout the day is to cry…and cry and cry.

Throw a gross green diaper or a little gas in there and the game is all over.

The good news is that this phase shouldn’t last forever and as Benjamin continues to grow, he will learn how to tell us what he needs and become better at self-soothing.  And we will hopefully figure out his signals (before we enter the hour) to put him to bed without the incredible upset.

The UN-happiest baby on the block.

Thursday was a very difficult day at Base Camp B.  Our baby was unhappy.

It started Wednesday night when I noticed some green mucus in his diaper.  We looked it up in our “first year” book and confirmed it was newborn diarrhea.  Our normally placid little guy turned into a crying, screaming, super upset baby.

From six a.m. to noon he had nine wet-plus diapers.  He was so uncomfortable and I felt terrible for him.  Luckily, it was diaper service pick-up day, so I could say sayonara to the really yucky diapers we’d collected that morning.

I  called the nurse at our pediatrician’s practice who said her only concern was B’s moodiness as he’s usually pretty low-key.  She said I’d have to give it 24 hours.

The only thing that comforted B was nursing, which I understood because every bit of food going in was going right through.  By the time C got home both B and I were were in tears.

But then, we had a pretty good night.

And after that, we had a better morning.  We slept, we ate, we slept more.  Let’s hope this trend keeps up!  Today is a snowy day in Mile High and we’re happily camped out in the living room.