Archive for February, 2006

This morning I woke to the sound of Autumn filling her diaper. I heard it through the nursery monitor; that distinct, wet, farty sound that means two cycles through the washer and lots of pre-treating.

I looked at the alarm clock. It wasn’t quite 5:30. The mommy part of me forced my legs to swing out of the bed to search for my slippers while the tired part of me thought that extra laundry wasn’t all that bad compared to an extra half-hour’s sleep. Of course I couldn’t let Autumn stew in her own juices for a half hour so I did the right thing and went in to check on her.

The diaper wasn’t bad at all, which was surprising. Autumn has been known to produce some beautiful works of art, most of which go up her back and stain her clothes. I think that’s a breast feeding thing. I hear most breast fed babies have loose bowel movements, but that knowledge doesn’t make the task of changing a diaper any more pleasant.

In the beginning, changing a diaper was a bit more stressful than it is now. The first two weeks of Autumn’s life were spent tracking input and output. I was given a chart at the hospital and was told to log how long I was nursing her and how many wet and dirty diapers she was producing. I guess it would be safe to say my first two weeks of being a mother were all about crap. How much crap, what color crap and how often we saw the crap.

At Autumn’s two week appointment, the doctor praised us and told us we were doing everything right. Autumn was no longer jaundiced and she had gained back the weight she lost in the hospital plus some. He also told us filling out the feeding chart was no longer necessary and I happily obliged. Being a parent, though, you never really stop tracking the crap.

I ended up calling the doctor’s office the first time Autumn went more than a day without having a bowel movement. I explained to the nurse that this kid’s usually a pooping machine and that she hadn’t gone in over a day. The nurse patiently listened to me and then suggested a few things to try to get Autumn to go. “If she doesn’t have a bowel movement within the next 24 hours, call us back.”

About five minutes after I hung up the phone, Autumn let go with the “grunt and squish” I now know so well. Relieved, I swept her into her room and placed her on the changing table. I must admit a gasp of horror escaped as I pulled back the diaper. Later on, I called Nathan to describe what I had seen. “It looked like a whole jar of Grey Poupon exploded in her pants!” I said.

Now such sights are commonplace and I’ve pretty much accepted my role in the circle of crap. I do laundry twice a week, most often running a few things through more than once in order to remove the stains. I’m so glad I never pay full price for anything I buy the girl.

The good thing about getting up early this morning was that I was able to spend some quality time with my daughter. After she ate, we sat quietly in the rocker together. I held her against my chest as she slept, tipped my head back and enjoyed every minute. When the time came to get her ready, I set her on the changing table and selected an outfit for her to wear for the day. After dressing her, I held her for about a minute before she puked all over the both of us. Yep, I’ll be doing laundry tonight.

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The Raymond Inqusition

Nathan and I spent a good part of the weekend with Ryan and Marla. Ryan was yet again kind enough to help us install a ceiling fan, this time in our bedroom. He brought Marla and the boys over and the seven of us headed over to our favorite Chinese buffet after the fan was installed.

Now that Autumn is three months old, I’m pretty comfortable nursing her in front of others. I’m always discreet about it and will always ask if someone isn’t comfortable with me doing it in their presence. It’s not like I just plop my boob out and let Autumn go to town. I do cover up with a blanket and show very little skin while Autumn’s latched on. The process has gotten trickier since Autumn has started grabbing things. She doesn’t like to be covered and tends to try to bat the blanket away before I’ve sufficiently covered up.

The first time I nursed Autumn at Ryan and Marla’s, I expected some questions from three-year-old Raymond. Since Marla feeds Conner formula, I was sure Raymond would be curious as to what exactly I was doing when I ducked my head under the blanket to get Autumn latched on. Only after Autumn was well into her feeding did Raymond look at her and ask, “What’s the baby doing?” I told him she was eating. “Why is she eating?” he asked. “Because she’s hungry,” I said. And that was that.

After the buffet on Saturday, we headed back to Ryan and Marla’s to watch Wallace and Grommit in The Curse of the Were Rabbit. Autumn was getting hungry so I started nursing her as soon as we sat down. Raymond was sitting next to me and took notice. Again, he asked what the baby was doing. When I told him she was eating, he reached over as if to pull back the portion of my sweater covering Autumn’s nose. “Oops, don’t touch,” I said and he pulled his hand back. His attention was soon turned back to Wallace and Grommit and there were no more questions after that.

The next day the seven of us met at Cracker Barrel for lunch. I noticed a young lady with a newborn at the next table and pointed her out to Marla. The two of us watched a few minutes later as the woman draped a blanket over her shoulder and started to nurse the baby. “You know I expected more questions out of Raymond last night,” I said. “I would think he would at least want to know why Conner eats out of a bottle but Autumn doesn’t.”

“He must not have made that connection yet,” she said.

While I’m comfortable answering questions and want Raymond to feel free asking them, I just know that when the time comes to explain breastfeeding to him, there’s going to be a cow reference in there somewhere.


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A weekend pictorial

A smile for Daddy. Look, I lost my hand!

This is my serious face.

Nap time.

Molly. This is her “treat getting” face.

All ready to go to out.

Sleeping in with Daddy on Sunday morning.

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This morning Autumn woke at 4:30 am crying. I went in to check on her and found her with one leg sticking through the slats of her crib. I picked her up, soothed her and decided to nurse her as long as we were both up.

While we were in the rocking chair, Molly entered the room, sat in front of us and stared. I sighed. “Do you have to go potty?” I asked.

She shook as though a jolt of electricity had just passed through her, which is her way of saying, “Yes, Mom, I have to pee.”

I sighed again. “Go tell Daddy.”

Molly left the room only to return a couple of minutes later in the same state she was before.

“Go tell Daddy,” I said, this time a little louder so that Nathan might hear me through the nursery monitor and get his sorry ass out of bed to let his dog out.

Again she left and again she returned. By that time Autumn was done eating and I had her on the changing table. I was through playing this game. Why should Nathan be the only one in house getting some sleep?

“Nathan! Molly needs to go out!”

Let me explain that Nathan’s way of taking care of Molly is to invite her into bed with him so that she gets comfortable and forgets how much she has to pee. Of course I was wise to this and told Nathan I was coming right back to bed and that Molly was going to have to move out of my spot.

“I’ll let her out when you get back in bed,” he said.

So what happens when I return to bed? I kick Molly out of my spot and Nathan invites her back into the bed on his side.

Ok. I was getting a little steamed. “Aren’t you going to let her out?” I asked.

“She doesn’t need to pee,” he said. “She just wants to go out and play.”

I sat up, looked at the dog and asked, “Molly do you have to pee pee?” As soon as the words were out, she hopped back onto the floor. “See, she does have to go,” I said.

Nathan threw back the covers, and as he stormed out of the bedroom said, “You could let her out once in awhile, too, you know.”

Oh no he didn’t

“Excuse me?” I said. “Who gets up with your daughter and feeds her and gets her dressed EVERY SINGLE MORNING?” Not to mention I had just spent the last half hour nursing the girl with Molly doing the pee pee dance four feet in front of me. You know it’s pretty bad when the dog thinks the woman with the child attached to her chest is more reliable than the lump under the covers in the next room.

Nathan didn’t say a word to me when he returned. I tried to get back to sleep, but my mind couldn’t rest. I had decided to nurse Autumn knowing full well that I would be the one getting up with her at all times. I accepted that and Nathan, I thought, appreciated that as well. We’d be alternating feedings if she were getting formula and Nathan would be spending many early mornings sitting in that rocking chair instead of me. However, since I was nursing, his job was to take care of Molly in the morning. That had been our arrangement.

Later, at 5:45 am, Nathan’s alarm went off. “That thing better not keep going off for the next 45 minutes,” I said. Yeah, I was still pissed.

Nathan tried to apologize when he finally got up at quarter to seven, but by that time I was full into the silent treatment. He hates that. If it were me, I’d prefer the silent treatment to me yelling because I can get loud, but not Nathan. He must think he can better gauge his chances of survival by the tone and volume of my voice.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry I said that,” he said. “I was tired. I haven’t been sleeping well.” I should probably add that Nathan has been sleeping with the aid of a CPAP machine in an effort to curb his snoring and sleep apnea. He has to wear a mask that makes him look like Darth Vader and it’s been hard for him to get used to.

I broke the silence by saying, “I think what you said calls for an apology with flowers.”

“Am I that far in the dog house?” he asked.

After that we sort of made up. I told him to forget the flowers because if I have to tell him to get me flowers then the sentiment is lost.

Of course the good thing about all of this is that I have one beauty of an entry for today. He really should know better than piss of a woman who likes to write.

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Yesterday I was very tired. It was the kind of tired that isn’t remedied by multiple cups of coffee or caffeinated sodas. It was the kind of tired that I hadn’t felt since my first trimester last year. Of course as soon as that thought popped into my head I couldn’t get it out. No matter how much I thought how impossible it would be, I kept thinking “what if it is?” I remembered seeing a pregnancy test in one of the bathroom drawers and decided I’d take it when I got home so I could put my mind at ease.

So I took the test, and as I was waiting for the results it occurred to me that what I was holding wasn’t a pregnancy test but an ovulation test. Cripes. It’s really time to clean out the bathroom drawers. By that time I had a bug up my butt to see this thing through, so after picking up a meal of Swiss steak and mashed potatoes at my grandma’s, I stopped by D&W and spent nearly $9 on a single pregnancy test.

It was negative, so it would seem that I am just wiped out. The transition back to work must have been harder than even I realized. I’ve been getting up at 6am every morning but haven’t been getting to bed before 11pm, sometimes midnight. Last night I took a nice, hot bath, fed Autumn for the last time at 9pm and was in bed by quarter after ten. Of course Autumn decided to wake at 5am so I really didn’t get much more sleep. I am, however, not feeling as achy and exhausted as I was yesterday.

During the few hours yesterday afternoon when I was considering I might be pregnant again, I thought how another baby would impact our lives. Before Autumn was born, Nathan and I were convinced she was going to be our only child. It had taken us nearly eight years to even decide we wanted one, so the possibility of having two seemed outrageous. When I was around 8 months pregnant I started thinking about the possibility of doing it again. My pregnancy was easy and uneventful and the baby was, so far, healthy. It wasn’t until Autumn was about six weeks old that I decided I really did want to do this again, but only when the time was right. I think Nathan’s on the fence with this. He’s still adjusting to being a dad, but he did agree that a few things needed to happen before we could consider having another kid, the most important of which was that I had to lose a lot of weight. Ouch.

While I am back at Weight Watchers, I have to admit that I’ve not been a very faithful member. Planning meals and logging what I’ve been eating has seemed to be more work than it’s worth. If yesterday was any indication though, my body is trying to tell me something. I think it’s starting to wave the white flag, saying, “Okay, I got you through this whole baby thing now give me a break, will you?” My knees are hurting more frequently and I dread going up and down the stairs. A main floor laundry is looking like a mighty fine amenity right now.

If not for the possibility of having another baby, I do need to get healthy for the one I have. Autumn will be walking before I know it. After that, she’ll be running and I’ll have to be able to catch up.

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But that doesn’t mean you can’t still pay me a compliment!

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Autumn is becoming more and more vocal. My favorite part of spending time with her is when we are able to have “conversations.” Her end mostly consists of a little mumbling and a lot of squealing, but you can tell she has something she wants to say but just isn’t able to form the words. Most of the time I pretend to know what she’s saying and respond with “Is that so?” or “you don’t say?” Most of our best talks are when she’s on the changing table. For some reason the girl just loves to be undressed. I’ll narrate as I take each item of clothing off. “Here go your socks, and now your pants. Oops, you have a heavy diaper. Lots of pee pee in there, huh?” It’s all pretty ridiculous when you think about it, but apparently this is how children learn to converse.

Lately at night, through the nursery monitor, I’ve heard Autumn talking to herself. Who knows what’s going through that little mind of hers? Is she talking to the bugs in the mobile above her head or the shadows her nightlight creates on the bedroom wall? It could be that she’s just talking to herself for lack of anything better to do. I’ve been known to do that, especially when I’m alone in the car.

Along with the nighttime babbling has come the sniffing, snorting and sneezing. Autumn is in the middle of her first cold. She’s been in good spirits, but her stuffy nose has caused some rather unpleasant encounters with the saline drops and the nasal aspirator. Since she can’t blow her own nose, Nathan and I have to resort to this torturous method to clear her nasal passages. I call it “hoovering out the boogers.” Autumn hates the process and the whole ordeal leaves her pissed as hell. Nathan holds her head and one arm while I hold the other arm and try to squeeze two drops into each nostril per the directions on the bottle. The makers of this fine product must not have had an actual, conscious child to test on because most of the time I can’t even get the bottle tip into Autumn’s nose much less get two drops out.

The worst part is squeezing the nasal aspirator, sticking it up one nostril and then the other, each time hoping to pull out whatever is clogging up the pipes. The problem with this method is that whatever we’re successful in retrieving usually gets sucked back in because Autumn is screaming and breathing so hard. We have to be quick with the tissues as soon as we’ve hit the booger jackpot lest we have to go another round with the aspirator.

Afterwards, I hold my angry and tearful daughter and tell her that everything will be okay. I rock her back and forth and stroke her head, but can’t help but feel that she would like to get as far away from me as possible. I am, after all, the person who just stuck things up her nose. I swear things will be so much easier when the girl can hold a tissue.

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Picture Day

Autumn supports our Olympians!

We took Autumn in for her first professional photos today. We decided on Sadie’s because it was our first time and we wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary. Our appointment was at 11am. Autumn had been awake and happy up to the point we put her in the car. We only live about 5 miles from the studio, but by the time we rolled into the parking lot she was out cold.

So we get there and spend the first few minutes trying to wake the girl up. We took her out of the carseat and talked to her. Snore. The girls in the studio squealed in high pitched voices and pinched her cheeks. Yawn. We shook her arms and laughed, handed her to her daddy who bounced her in his arms and still nothing. It was all very much like trying to revive a drunk who has passed out on the street.

Needless to day, the first few shots they took of Autumn were sleeping poses. Eventually she came to and opened her eyes, but the next challenge turned out to be getting her to smile. The photographer tickled her feet with a feather duster. Nathan and I sported Joker-like smiles until our cheeks seized up and we all made noises that we hoped would get the girl to turn up the corners of her mouth. No luck. I have the same problem when I take pictures of her at home.

The Sadie’s brochure said we could bring an outfit change and since we had reserved a room with lots of stuffed animals, I wanted to do something special. Last summer I bought this adorable bunny coat for Autumn to wear at Easter this year and thought wouldn’t it be cute to pose her in the coat amongst all the stuffed toys? One thing the folks at Sadie’s failed to tell us was that the sitting was only scheduled for a half-hour period and that someone else was expecting to use the room at 11:30. While we were able to get in a few bunny shots, none were with the stuffed toys since so much time had been spent trying to catch the elusive smile.

The pictures turned out nice and we were able to pick up our prints after a trip to Panera Bread and Younkers. As cute as the shots are, I think next time we’ll try a place that’s a little less expensive. Hopefully by that time Autumn will be able to smile on cue.

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Loud and Clear

Last night Nathan and I went to Red Lobster after work. We dropped our stuff off at home and didn’t even take Autumn out of the car seat before heading off to the restaurant. I had let Molly out to do her business when I got home. She likes to play catch with the frisbee and often times won’t stop barking until we give it a toss. Yesterday was miserably cold and rainy and I ordered Molly back inside before she could get the first bark out.

After we returned home, I went into Autumn’s room to deposit her car seat. As soon as I turned on the light I could tell something was wrong. The afghan my mother made was in a heap in the middle of the room as was one of Autumn’s quilts. Both had been folded up on the floor next to the crib. The dragonfly rug was turned over as well. It looked as though someone had been looking for something.

Then I noticed the big wet spot next to the crib.

I walked over, touched the carpet and sniffed my hand. It didn’t really smell like urine. There was an empty water bottle that I thought may have caused the stain, but the cap was screwed on tight. I picked up the afghan and sniffed it. Oh yeah. That smelled like urine.

Instead of being angry, I felt horrible. Had I ordered Molly back into the house too soon? Did she not get a chance to pee first? Of course I think it’s no coincidence that she chose Autumn’s room as the place to go. The way the room look afterwards, I imagined her in an angry frenzy thinking, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Two stuffed toys have also suffered as a consequence. Apparently they were also in her line of fire.

I keep telling myself that things will bet better once the weather gets warmer. We’ll be able to take more walks with both Molly and Autumn. I think Molly needs a little TLC pretty quick though. She’s sent us a message that she’s not very happy right now.

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One thing that came up during dinner the other night with my parents was that at this time last year I had just become pregnant but didn’t know yet. If those handy internet conception calculators are true, Autumn was conceived on or around February 13th. I’ll have to take their word for it because I honestly can’t remember.

“This time last year Autumn was just a zygote,” I said. That got me thinking. A year ago, being a mother was such a foreign concept to me. Being a parent seemed so horribly frightening because I’m a planner. With kids you never know what’s going to happen.

So, in honor of the anniversary of the beginning of Autumn’s existence and her three month birthday, I’ve decided to resurrect a post from an old blog of mine. It details the first time Nathan and I watched Ryan and Marla’s son Raymond for an evening.

August 21, 2004

My husband Nathan and I looked after our friends’ two-year old son last night while they attended a Friday evening wedding. I consider this a huge step forward. I haven’t looked after a child since I was in high school. Nathan and I have never looked after a child together.

When Marla first approached Nathan with the babysitting gig, he mistakenly thought she was asking him if we’d be willing to watch their German Shorthair, Riley, for the evening.

“I think Riley can take care of himself, Nathan. We’d like you to watch Ray.”


I have to admit to being a little nervous about watching Ray. Nathan has three nephews and one niece, all of whom live an hour away. Up until recently, we never had sufficient room for them to stay the night and we just weren’t close enough for short-term babysitting assignments. After being together for nine years, we knew each other’s likes and dislikes but had no idea on how to make a child happy.

“What do you do with a two year old?” I asked Brenda, a co-worker. We were out at a local restaurant with the rest of the work crew celebrating Courtney’s last day in our office. Through some scheduling snafu Brenda showed up with her 16 month-old son, Jaime. “I don’t know,” she said, “I don’t have a two year old.” I looked at Jaime who was happily playing with Courtney’s keys, his attention focused on the university keychain each of us had received a few days earlier. I had given my keychain to Nathan and didn’t think I’d have much success wrangling it away from him. He thought it was pretty cool, too.

About 7:00pm Marla arrived with her husband Ryan and sister Melissa. Our dog Molly absolutely loves company and ran down to the door to greet the guests. I could hear Ray’s little feet on the concrete as he bounded towards the door. “Hi Molly!” he shouted.

Melissa made it a point to inform us that Ray already had a “stinky poopy” and shouldn’t have another one. Isn’t it funny how people become comfortable talking about these things when a child is involved? You never hear many adults talk about their bathroom habits, that is unless you’re talking to my grandmother. Grandma doesn’t use the words “stinky poopy” though.

After Marla, Ryan and Melissa left we took Ray for a walk around the block. He spotted a cat in someone’s driveway and let out a roar. “Rawr!” he growled. Nathan thought it was hilarious. “You so want a boy, don’t you?” I asked. “Yes, I do,” he replied.

When we got back home, Ray made a beeline for the X-Box. He can’t play anything yet but loves to hold the controller in his hands while someone else plays. “No, Ray,” Nathan said, “were going to watch a movie.” We put in Beauty and the Beast and Ray was content to sit on the couch and watch, all the while pushing the buttons on the X-Box controller still in his hands. He growled at the Beast and let out a big “wow” during the scene where the Beast reveals the library to Belle. I thought, “alright, the kid loves books!” His mom will be so proud, English major that she is.

I really didn’t want the movie to end, not because Ray was being so good, but because I knew I’d be obligated to check his diaper. I wasn’t sure what I was going to find in spite of Melissa’s reassurances, and was not going to send the boy home to his mother with wet drawers.

He was pretty good about the whole thing, though he did try to lock his knees together, a stunt he apparently pulls on his parents as well. “C’mon work with me,” I said as Nathan sat on the couch calmly observing. I finally was able to get the diaper on and get the pants back on shortly before his parents came back.

I told Marla she’d have to give me a report card on the diaper job. Melissa said, “This was a piece of cake. Just wait until next time.”

“Is that a threat?” I asked. “Next time are you going to feed him fruit all day?”

They just laughed and didn’t really answer the question.

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