Tuesday, November 25, 2008

See Jack Smile

It's hard to believe how much has happened in the past 6 weeks! I had my final doctor's appointment yesterday and she gave me the go-ahead to resume a normal lifestyle. What exactly is a normal lifestyle when there's a newborn involved?? She also said that my hand issue is normal and if it doesn't clear up after 3 months then she'll send me to physical therapy. I was somewhat encouraged to hear that there's a possible end to this suffering.
Jack is a growing boy who's becoming more and more entertaining each day. Now that he's awake more he enjoys hanging out on his play mat (he usually lasts a whopping 3 minutes), dancing to Christmas music with mommy, and watching the History channel with dad. He's even been throwing an occasional smile our way!

Friday, November 21, 2008

What I've learned as a new mom

How to take naps
I think I mentioned in a previous post that I'm not so adept at taking naps. Well I learned real fast after Jack arrived. I learned how to take 3 10-minute naps in a row while sleep-walking to a crying baby in between, I learned how to nap with a child laying on my chest, I learned how to nap on my husband during a football game, and I've learned how to nap while sitting up and nursing. Of course, now that I'm back to working and Jack is sleeping longer at night, my nap days are over. But it was fun while it lasted!

Babies don't care what you look like
Actually, this may not be true. I learned in my Child Psych class that babies actually responded more to photos of attractive people than to photos of less-than-attractive people. But that's not my point. What I mean is, Jack doesn't care if my hair is done or if I'm wearing make-up. In fact, at this age he can't even see farther than a foot. And he prefers me in sweats anyway because it's softer for him when he's held. So I gave up on all that after day 5. My husband, on the other hand, probably does. So I'm thinkin' I should get my act together in the near future.

The three hour rule
I got a new clock on Oct. 12, it's name is Jack, and his hungry-alarm goes off about every 3 hours. So I've quickly learned how to predict the future in 3 hour increments. Before becoming a mother, I had no idea how much time I would spend nourishing my child. When you consider that it takes at least 30 minutes for him to eat, I'm down to 2 1/2 hours between feedings. And since it takes about 20 minutes to get anywhere worthwhile in this city, I'm only left with about two hours to run errands. Which is just enough time to get groceries, run to Target, or dash into the office while Jon has some bonding time with Jack. This also means that I have to plan these errands well in advance so that I can be ready and out the door as soon as he's done eating. Which leads to my other point ...

Everything takes twice (or three or four times) as long to accomplish
When you're spending a large chunk of your day feeding, entertaining or calming a baby a lot of other tasks fall by the wayside. So I've learned to pencil in a few extra hours for each of the chores that take priority. Like dinner for instance. Last week I made a quiche. I started it at 10am, just so I could continue working on it at intervals throughout the day, and have it ready to eat by 5pm. Same thing with laundry and cleaning. If I know I'm headed out some time that day, then I'll work on my hair during one of Jack's naps, put make-up on during another, and lay out my clothes so that I can get changed right after he eats and avoid any spit-up before heading out the door. Trips with Jack also take extra-long. Last weekend, my friend also named Janine and I took our babies to the mall. While we had a fun day together, we didn't get much accomplished in the way of shopping. Since we had to stop to feed the kiddos about every two hours, we only were able to hit up about 3 stores and grab some lunch. We did learn that Nordstrom's has a great lounge in the ladies room.

How to do things with one hand ... or no hands
One of the reasons it takes so long to do things is because I only have one hand free. So I've learned to cook dinner while balancing Jack in one arm. Or to carry the laundry with one hand and hip. And since I'm still working (and I have friends who insist on chatting on messenger while I'm feeding Jack) I've become especially skilled in typing with one hand too. In fact, my typing speed with just one hand is 33 WPM and steadily improving!! I've also learned how to utilize my toes when my hands aren't free. Like for picking clothes up off the floor, or for impressing my husband by retrieving my travel mug off the coffee table while holding a sleeping baby.

Quick diaper changes
As the mother of a son, I quickly learned not to take my time while changing diapers ... or I'll pay for it! So I now have a diaper changing process. It begins with laying out the baby wipe and diaper. And pre-opening the diaper so that all those little tabbies don't get stuck together right when I need them. I try to be fast with the clothes, but really, have you ever tried to change a dancing, wriggling little body? It's a lot harder than it looks!

How great it is to be a parent
The past few weeks have definitely been full of some rude-awakenings for Jack's mom and dad. But we've also learned how incredible it feels to hold your own son, how entertaining his little facial expressions can be, how your heart just melts when he looks you in the eyes, and how much you miss him even when you're only gone for 2 hours.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Trying Times

I had a fairly easy pregnancy, and a pretty straight-forward delivery, but I have to admit, those first few weeks with a newborn at home were definitely a challenge! And adjusting to life with a baby isn't made easier by the whacked-out hormones and serious sleep deprivation. Of course, we've all heard the advice "sleep when the baby sleeps." Which sounds fine, but what about everything else?... Eat when the baby eats (I've tried it, it's tough), change when the baby changes (not really an option), cry when the baby cries (okay I'll admit I've done this on several occasions). Eventually I just had to accept that sleepless nights are only temporary and no one (except for maybe my husband) expects full meals, a clean house and a completely made-up and fully dressed mama for those first few weeks.
Speaking of clothes, I never planned to be one of those sweatpants and slippers type moms, but really, nothing else works when you're a walking zombie and who wants sour spit-up milk on any of their nice clothes? My new lifestyle has only made dinner out and trips to the mall that much more special - especially since it now takes at least twice as long to get ready.
Thankfully, I have a great husband who's willing to pick up a vacuum, do the dishes and change one diaper a day, :) Jack spent the first two weeks in our room where we would both take turns comforting him in the wee hours of the morning. But when Jon went back to work, and back to waking up at 4:30am, he gave Jack the boot. So while this was nice for Jon, who now gets a full night of uninterrupted sleep, it also means mom spends long hours half-sleeping in the rocking chair or standing by the crib waiting for Jack to fall asleep.
I soon learned that, while the baby-world focuses on how many hours at night the baby will sleep, my first goal was just getting Jack to sleep in the first place. First, it took some time to switch Jack's days and nights around. He would sleep like a rock all day, and required extensive measures to wake for feeding time - like diaper changes, cold washcoths and total strip-downs - but wanted to hang out all night (in mommy's arms). Going 3-4 hours between feedings at night doesn't mean much to me when it takes 1.5-2 hours just to get him to sleep. And getting him to sleep while holding him isn't very helpful when he just wakes up as soon as I put him in his bed. Thankfully it's getting better, at 4 weeks Jack was going 5 hours between feedings at night and just this week he's been contentedly falling asleep on his own in the crib. Let's just say mom feels like a new woman!

Jon and I are adjusting more and more to the life of a parent, including several initiations at the "poop deck." Despite sleepless nights, sour milk sweatshirts and battles at the changing table, we're both so thankful for our beautiful son, who never fails to make us smile no matter what time of day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I need a hand

... that works. Because both of mine are seriously out of commission. Towards the end of my pregnancy I was dealing with some swelling and numbness in my hands, but the doctor assured me that it wasn't pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel and that it would go away once the baby arrived. Well it did, for a few days. But soon came back again in full-force. Both my hands go numb off and on during the day, especially when I'm holding the phone or trying to write (not so good since I started back to work this week). But the worst part has been at night. My stiff joints are keeping me up in the wee hours, which is not good when I'm already getting minimal sleep, and make it very difficult to pick up Jack, change his diaper or hold him while he's nursing. I have to admit, 9 or so hours of labor is much more preferable to these past four weeks of arthritic-like pain. I bought a wrist brace but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference. I stopped taking the calcium supplements the doctor gave me and that seemed to help for a day or two but now it's back again. This morning I called the nurse hotline, she said she didn't know what it was and to put ice on it. Gee, thanks for the help. So if anyone has any insight I'd be happy to know!!

I'm pretty sure that people don't read my blog to hear about my hands, so I'll throw in a little Jack update. First off, he's getting big, especially his cheeks! We tried to figure out his weight by using our own scale at home, but despite what Jon may think, I'm pretty sure he's not 13 lbs! Jon also says that Jack has a sixpack, I'm not sure about that but he can definitely hold his legs up for a lot longer than I can, and he's also pretty good at tightening his tiny, little butt cheeks whenever it's time to change his diaper. You'd think he'd like the experience ... We also really like listening to all those newborn grunts and noises he makes, our personal favorite is the horse whinny. He's surprisingly loud, in many different ways, but it always makes us chuckle.

Here's a picture of Jack at 3 weeks. It was his second visit to church. The first time he slept through the entire service, this particular week we were not so lucky.

In addition to church, Jack also loves shopping with mom (I'm goimg to enjoy it while it lasts), long walks through the neighborhood, and eating out, especially at our favorite diner. He's turning out to be quite the ladies man, and I'm trying to get used to all the extra attention brought on by life with a baby.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A thousand apologies

... for not keeping this blog updated like I intended to. The whole purpose of the BabyLog was to keep all our friends and family posted on Jack's life, but since a picture is worth a thousand words, maybe this can help explain:

I promise that once we all start getting a little more sleep this blog will start jumping again.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Stuck in the middle

So the other night, while trying to fall asleep after a middle-of-the-night feeding, it suddenly dawned on me that I have yet to explain the big "surprise" - Jack's middle name. Although a number of people guessed Jack's middle name before he was born, we were able to keep the news from the one person we didn't want to find out, Jon's Grandpa Lawrence "Larry" Tillman.
Although both of Jon's sisters have children, Jack is the first grandchild and great-granchild to bear the Tillman last name. He's also the fifth generation of Tillman men here in the United States. So when looking for a name, Jon wanted to research the Tillman archives. Some of our options were great-great-great-grandpa Frederick "Fritz", or great-great-grandpa Derastus (my personal favorite), or great-grandpa Samuel. We settled on Lawrence, not only does it sound great with Jack, but it is also the one Grandpa Tillman that Jack will have the opportunity to meet. Here is a picture of Jon and his grandpa Larry.
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