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Archive for December, 2005

Clean Sweep

Our Christmas went pretty well. There were some high points and low points as there are any time you get together with family, but all in all we had a pretty good time. Autumn was spoiled rotten, as was expected, and we ate way too much in the process. I’ve gained a few pounds these past couple of weeks, but I’m sure those few would have brought some friends with them had I not been breast feeding. Apparently my body is burning 1000 extra calories a day, which is pretty scary to think of considering I still gained weight. A bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups plus sitting on the couch watching TNT between nursing sessions has not fared well for my bottom line. Damn if I haven’t gotten hooked on “Judging Amy” though. That’s a good show.

I kept busy taking pictures of Autumn’s first holiday, though I didn’t pop off as many shots as I thought I would. She mostly slept and ate, so there weren’t many photo ops. Here are a few of my favorites.

Hanging with Aunt Joy

Listening intently to Grandma Pam

Getting a bottle from Uncle Sean

Cuddling up with great Uncle Dale

The loot from Grandma Mary and Grandpa Bruce

As you can see from the above picture, Autumn took home quite a haul, which led Nathan and I to wonder where we were going to put everything. She received many books, clothes and toys and our storage options are rather limited. We originally bought our house with the keen notion that it’s limited storage areas would force us to limit how much stuff we actually brought in to the house. Little did we realize that bringing a baby into the house would immediately reduce our perception of how much space we actually had.

Our neighbors behind us have 5 children, the youngest of which is about 3 months old. Their house cannot be much larger than ours yet they’ve managed to fit a family of seven over there. I’ve never been inside their house, but if the inside is at all similar to the backyard, it’s probably a ruin of Fisher Price and Little Tykes with very little space that mom and dad can call their own anymore.

We’ve seen how toys can overtake a home until you can’t walk two steps without bumping into something plastic and coated in primary colors. Part of me wants to keep things looking nice while the other part of me realizes the futility of it all and is ready to wave the white flag as long as I can get a decent toy box sometime in the near future.

Nathan and I spent Christmas night doing a Clean Sweep of our bookshelves. We have a lot of books, probably more than any two people who aren’t really collectors have any right to own. I have been trying to whittle my collection down since we’ve moved in but have only been able to get rid of a few at a time. Many books I’ve never read but kept with the intent to read them some day. Well, Christmas night I finally realized that whatever little reading I will be doing, it won’t be a 1400 page historical tome about New York City.

The most difficult decisions weren’t concerning big hard cover books that were just sitting in my book case so that I could look smart. The hardest to get rid of were the paperbacks. The Stephen King, Ann Rice and Patricia Cornwell that I truly enjoyed but would probably never read again. Those were hard decisions because with them are memories. I had a horrible sunburn when I read Tom Clancy’s Patriot Games and stayed in bed the whole weekend because moving put me in excruciating pain. Of course that was when I was in my early 20s and wasn’t at all concerned about what the sun was doing to my skin. So with that book is the memory of how stupid I was. Would I have remembered how stupid I was without the book? Perhaps, but the book makes the memory much more vivid.

For the most part, I kept books I really wanted to read, knew I would read again or thought I would need should I ever pursue a master’s in English. Besides the complete works of Shakespeare is a must for any home library, right?

I have no idea if Nathan and I are going to win the battle to keep our house clean. I’m betting not. It’s not that I’m a pessimist, but I would rather be on the floor with my kid playing with the toys than worrying about keeping the place clean for company. Besides, all our friends and family know we’re really slobs anyway.

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Photo shoot

Today we took pictures to send out with our Christmas cards. I had originally wanted to get Autumn’s picture taken by a professional, but the stores are crazy right now and we just hadn’t gotten around to scheduling a sitting. We’ll probably do that once she’s around three months old, but for now we settled for our own digital camera.

The idea was to take a family photo in front of the Christmas tree. Nathan and I put on some festive-colored clothes and I found a green velvet dress for Autumn amongst my old clothes that my mom had pulled out of her cedar chest a few months back. We even put a holiday bandana on Molly so that she would be included too.

My dad was set to come over at 2pm to take the pictures. I dressed Autumn and the three of us went downstairs. While we waited for my dad, I snapped off a few pics while Autumn sat in her daddy’s lap.


Of course Molly had to get in on the action as soon as they sat down. Autumn is getting used to the wet nose treatment.


Much better!


This would have been a candidate for the Christmas cards but mom is behind the camera!

Unfortunately our good mood was short-lived. Autumn could only tolerate so much before the tears started to flow. But Grandpa still hadn’t shown up!

Finally my dad arrived and we tried a couple shots standing in front of the tree. By that time we could only calm Autumn with a pacifier.


Getting into place


This one would have been perfect if we had thought to take the storage containers out of the backround. Even Molly is looking at the camera and Autumn isn’t crying.

We decided to sit down to see if we could get better results. This time Molly wasn’t cooperating and Nathan was trying to wrangle her.


Now I’m not looking at the camera.


Almost there, but there’s something going on with Autumn’s head. Her little baby neck muscles aren’t quite strong enough to hold up that melon of hers yet.


Uh oh. The pacifier has popped out and Autumn is starting to cry.


Now Daddy’s not smiling.

After all that, we decided to go with this pic:

People really only want to see the baby anyway, right?

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I’ve been trying to guide Autumn into a schedule. The end of this next week will mark the halfway point of my maternity leave and the control freak in me is hoping to make the transition back to work as easy as possible for the both of us.

Lately Autumn has been able to sleep up to five hours at night, which is great. The other night we put her down at midnight and she slept until almost 5 am. After seeing that, I had the bright idea of putting her down immediately after a 10 pm feeding and see how late she slept. Apparently she does not want to get to sleep any earlier than midnight, nor does she want to sleep more than five hours at a time. That night she gurgled and squirmed in the pack and play for an hour and a half before finally falling asleep. She then woke at 3 am for a feeding and went right back to sleep. I told Nathan we’ll probably have to wait on the earlier bed time until we see she’s starting to sleep more through the night. Hopefully that will happen soon because this schedule is going to kill me once I have to go back to work.

Nursing has become a bit of a challenge. If I don’t get to Autumn before she launches into siren mode (“waaah waaah waaah waah!”) she become very fussy and tends to yank herself off the breast. She’ll be chugging along fine and then her little fist pushes me away. She then starts shaking her head back and forth, mouth open, wondering where the food went. She also has a habit of blocking me every time I try to get her to latch on. I don’t understand this behavior at all because it’s worse on one side than the other. I think I may have corrupted her latch with bottles and pacifiers, so another trip to the lactation consultant may be in order.

Last night we had a very harrowing experience with not wanting to latch on at all. For some reason she absolutely refused to latch on my right side. She screamed and pulled away which led me to start crying myself. Nathan urged me to calm down (“I can only handle one of you crying right now”) and gave Autumn a bottle of expressed breast milk, which she had no trouble with. After she was fed and had calmed down, I tried latching her back on again only to be received with more screaming. I then switched to my left and she took to that side without a problem. We didn’t have any problems at her 4:30 am feeding, but this morning at 9 am she refused the right side again. I ended up calming her down and moved to the living room where she took both sides without a problem.

The unpredictability of caring for a child is a bit disconcerting. I’m a scheduler. I like to be organized and know how I’m going to spend my time. Autumn has taught me that my time is not my own anymore. As I write this, she is starting to wake up and I may have another battle on my hands if I don’t get to her soon. She starts with sniffles and random cries. Her face gets redder and more scrunched up until she wakes herself up into a tantrum or decides to go back to sleep. Apparently the latter was the more appealing option because she’s quiet again. For now.

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Catching Up

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted. I guess now that I can’t complain about being pregnant I have less to write about. I am totally digging not being pregnant anymore. I can bend over, put on my socks and tie my shoes without assistance. I’m back to taking baths again and actually put on a pair of non-maternity jeans last week. Life is pretty good.

Autumn is doing well. I keep looking for her personality to develop but so far she’s about as interesting as a hamster. I think her eyesight is developing more because she seems to have taken notice of the TV. Last night she kept moving her head to the side towards the light coming from the TV so Nathan adjusted her swing so that she could see better. After a few minutes of watching “Law and Order” we switched to a Baby Einstein DVD. I don’t know if she enjoyed it more, but it made us feel like better parents.

Once in awhile I catch Autumn in a smile. It’s usually when she’s sleeping or right after I nurse her. I don’t know if this is an actual smile or just gas, but it’s the cutest thing to see. Unfortunately I haven’t had a camera ready to catch the smiles. My mother tells me that in a few weeks she’ll be smiling on a regular basis, real smiles, with giggles soon to follow. Right now it’s all gurgles, cries and screams. The screams usually come when I wait too long to feed her. It doesn’t take her long to launch into a full hunger tantrum. She seems to have inherited my impatient nature.

She’s still not sleeping through the night, but at this point I’m not really expecting her to. I’ve been sleeping in later in the morning when she allows me to but can’t seem to nap when she does during the day. Once in awhile Nathan or I will take extended naps with her in the evening. Those are the best.

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