Thursday, August 30, 2007

*whine, whine, whine*

Yesterday, Rob told me that he has to go on an out-of-state business trip for a week in mid-September. This is good news in that it means his employer likes him and thinks he’s worth sending across the country to participate in important meetings. And hey, the potential for overtime pay doesn’t hurt, either.

There was a time when I actually looked forward to a couple of days on my own. I’d get to eat macaroni and cheese for dinner every night if I wanted to, and the quiet time would allow me to do some reading or watch a couple of chick flicks whenever I want.

But now, I just have one thought that keeps circling in my head: I have to watch the baby for a week ALL BY MYSELF.

I shouldn’t be whining, because I know there are single moms out there who never get a break, and they are heroes. But I can’t help it. That means it’ll be my night to get up with her for seven days in a row. I have to figure out how to take showers every morning for a whole week without Rob around to watch Kaylee, AND I have to get to work on time. Plus, Kaylee has to get her second round of immunizations during that week, so I’m practically guaranteed one sleepless night dealing with an extremely unhappy baby.

It’ll be fine, it’ll be fine, it’ll be fine.

At the very least, I won’t run out of things to say on this blog while he's gone.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


One weekend when I was in early elementary school, I announced to my parents that I wanted to start riding my bike to school like my older brother. They said I was welcome to do so –- as soon as I learned to ride without training wheels.

No problem, I decided, and asked my dad to remove the extra wheels. I assured my parents I’d be ready to ride to school by Monday, and they nodded their encouragement while privately chuckling at my naivete.

I remember spending all day Sunday practicing in the front yard, riding in circles over and over, and trying again every time I lost my balance. At the end of the afternoon, I called my parents to the yard, declaring that I was ready and reveling in their surprise when I showed them my new ability. They had no choice but to let me ride to school the next morning.

That’s always been my approach to learning new skills –- isolating myself and working with single-minded determination until I had mastered whatever I wanted to learn, be it shuffling a deck of cards or driving a stick shift.

I bring this up only because I recently noticed that it’s one way in which my daughter seems to be just like me.

I’ve already mentioned the sudden, overwhelming desire to roll over, which she accomplished and mastered seemingly overnight. Now she’s decided it’s time to crawl, sit up and stand. I’ve sat her down and tried to tell her that there’s no need to rush these things, that she’s only three months old and her little legs can only take so much.

She doesn’t listen.

If I lie her down on her back, she rolls over and tries to crawl. (She doesn’t realize yet that she needs to use her arms, so mostly she just kicks her legs and slides around the floor on her face.) The whining starts almost immediately when she can’t get very far, but she tries again anyway. And again, and again, and again.

Or she’ll wait for me to take her hands so she can pull into a sitting position, and then a standing position. And once she’s standing, she’ll stay that way until her legs give out, if you let her.

If I sit her down and lean her back against something, she struggles and strains to get into an upright sitting position. She can’t do it yet, but she tries and tries and tries, focusing harder on her goal than I do on half my projects for work.

I wonder how much she practices when she’s alone, and whether one of these days I’ll go to get her from her crib and find her crawling laps around the edges with a big, toothless grin on her face.

You’ll get there, baby. Just keep trying.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Baby in the woods

We took Kaylee camping for the first time over the weekend. We were invited by my parents, who have been hoarding camping equipment for the past few months in anticipation of a large family camping trip.

While we were kind of excited about going camping –- Rob and I had never camped together –- we were nervous about taking our three-month-old baby along. What if she got cold? What if she were attacked by West Nile-infected mosquitoes? What if she were kidnapped by wolves and raised by them, only to be discovered years later and brought back to civilization by a well-meaning zoologist, with hilarious results?

My parents and friends assured us that, really, this is a good age for taking kids camping, because they’re too young to wander off and fall in a river. And as long as you keep them fed and slathered with sunscreen, not much can happen. So we packed up our car, took the dogs to Rob’s mom’s house for the weekend, picked up Uncle Tim, and drove off into the wilderness.

Shortly after we got there, my mom recommended that we keep Kaylee’s formula in the car so it wouldn’t attract bears. Bears?!? Nobody mentioned bears before. And wouldn’t a bear kind of ignore the formula and go after the tasty human that’s too tiny to run away?

Of course, the only bear we saw was Kaylee, who was dressed in a bear hoodie and wasn’t scary at all. (Although her newly-learned growl can be kind of intimidating.)

For the most part, camping was a fun change of pace from spending the weekend watching TV on the couch. We played cards, roasted marshmallows and grilled hamburgers while Kaylee stared at the campfire and occasionally napped.

The trouble started when we decided to call it a night and go to sleep. Kaylee had already been asleep in her portable crib for a while, snug in sweats and a couple of blankets. After the rest of us had been asleep for a couple of hours, I started waking up every few minutes because I’d gotten very, very cold. That made me worry about Kaylee, so when my mom noticed that the baby’s hands were cold, I brought her to bed with me and Rob. I’m sure this was nice for Kaylee, but it meant that I spent the night with a stiff shoulder, constantly concerned about keeping the comforter pulled up to just the right spot –- to her shoulders but not over her face –- and having dreams about frozen babies in the rare moments when I was actually able to sleep.

Lately, Kaylee’s been sleeping a solid 10 hours or so without waking up at night –- and yes, I know, we’re very lucky to have a baby who sleeps so well. And when she wakes up, it’s in stages: a few squeaks, followed by some grunts, a little bit of babbling, and then crying if we haven’t responded yet. But on Saturday night, she woke up about every three hours and skipped immediately to full-on screaming every time.

And of course, the formula was in the car. So feeding her required putting on shoes, carrying her across the campsite to the car, and allowing her to project her voice across the entire campground to the annoyance of other campers and the intrigue of all the bears. But at least we got to sit in the car with the heater on for a while.

By morning, Kaylee was happy and rested, and most of the adults were exhausted and much, much worse for the wear.

Ultimately, though, I guess I’d say it was a successful, fun camping trip, as we all cheered up after the sun came up and warmed the chill out of our bones.

But we won’t be going again this year. We’ll wait until Kaylee’s old enough to run from the bears, when I won’t have to worry about her crying for a bottle in the middle of the night. Then I’ll only have to worry about her sticking her hands in the fire, getting lost in the woods, drowning in a river, falling off a cliff, walking into a tree, getting bitten by a snake . . .

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Aw, my baby likes me

I've been off work for the past few days, so this is kind of old news, but I feel it’s important enough to share anyway: Last week, Kaylee gave me two wonderful birthday presents. On Thursday, she laughed at me for the first time – a real, happy, Mommy-you’re-hilarious laugh. This made my day, even after she threw up on her "I love Mommy" shirt.

The second one was almost as good, even if it was a couple of days late. On Saturday, Rob dressed her in her new “Apple of Daddy’s eye” onesie, and she pooped on it the first chance she got.

What a good girl.

What a good, good girl.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The stinky kid

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeding Kaylee a bottle first thing in the morning, and she was craning backward to see something interesting on the blank ceiling, flattening out all the little folds in her neck.

I looked down to find that my precious baby had a ring of grime around her neck, crusted into one of her many creases. My only theory is that some formula leaked down her chin and onto her neck and dried there … and then started accumulating dirt and fuzz.

Now, I knew she had a couple of chins and all that, but I didn’t realize her creases were deep enough to store snacks.

I’ve only been giving her baths about twice a week, because I figure she’s not especially mobile and just isn’t capable of getting all that dirty. And on that particular morning, I’d put off bathing her for a couple of days because I’d just been too busy in the evenings to get around to it.

So that morning I resolved to start giving her a bath every other day, regardless of my schedule – especially after I told my coworkers this story and one of them said, “Ew, she’s going to be the stinky kid in class.” (Because every elementary school class has that one kid who smells.)

I’m two weeks into my August Baby Bathing Resolution, and how am I doing? Well, I’ve stuck to the every-other-day plan exactly zero times.


Well, she may end up being the stinky kid, but at least she’s a cute stinky kid.

A note to Rob: She does NOT look like a Jedi in this picture. She also is not a hobbit or a member of The Horde.

I should know better

I took a big risk this morning.

In honor of my 29th birthday, I decided to dress Kaylee in a new “I love Mommy” onesie. As soon as she was dressed, I sat her down and we had a little talk about how important it was that she not throw up all over her nice shirt.

I’m pretty sure she was listening intently, even though she was staring at a ceiling fan. Here’s hoping her shirt makes it through the day.

UPDATE: She managed to make it through her entire school day without spitting up on her clothes ... and then she threw up on them at home.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dear Kaylee, at 3 months

Dear Kaylee,

I’ve decided to steal an idea from another parenting blog and write you a letter for your three-month birthday. And if I’m disciplined enough, I’ll do this every month.

First of all, I feel like I should impart a motherly lesson, so here’s that: Stealing is wrong. Don’t do it. Unless you need an idea for your blog.

You’ve had a pretty adventurous month: Your Grandma and Uncle Tim have moved to town, so you’ll never remember a time when close family wasn’t right here watching you grow up – and spoiling you rotten, probably.

You’ve also discovered that you have hands, and you seem to find them very flavorful and useful for grabbing handfuls of other people’s hair. You haven’t yet learned to harness their power, though, and I’m interested to see how you react when you finally grab something on purpose, rather than as a happy accident.

You’ve figured out how to roll over, too. And once you figured it out, you became an addict. You like to practice at all times – rolling into other babies at daycare and making sudden escape attempts on the changing table. This is great, because you’re finally becoming a little more mobile, and terrifying because we haven’t done an ounce of babyproofing.

And you’ve learned how to smile big. You’ve always smiled a little, but now you smile with your whole body. When you see Mommy or Daddy first thing in the morning, your arms shoot out from your sides, your mouth opens wide and you radiate pure joy. You make it awfully hard to go to work in the mornings.

I can’t wait to see how you change and what you learn over the next month. At this rate, you’ll probably be climbing on furniture and riding the dogs around the yard by September.

Don’t you worry, I’ll be right there to catch you if you fall off the couch, and I’ll probably be taking lots of pictures.


Friday, August 10, 2007

New Zealand is unfair

I read this article the other day about a couple who is angry with the New Zealand government because they weren’t allowed to name their son 4Real. (The government – for some reason – refuses to acknowledge names that have numbers in them.)

Since they can’t use their name of choice, they’ve gone with their runner-up name, which is Superman.

I … I … I really don’t know what to say about that. So I’ll use my friend Kate’s words instead: “This kid will need no other grounds for divorcing his parents.”

And to think I almost lost sleep over the Kaylee/Emily conundrum.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Little Olympian

Up until last night, my baby has been more or less a potato in cute clothes. She can’t sit up, crawl or walk yet, so mostly she’s just lying around watching ceiling fans spin or grinning so broadly that you just want to melt onto the floor into a puddle of happiness because she’s just the cutest little potato baby you’ve ever seen in your life.

But somebody flipped a switch in her sometime in the last few days, and she’s suddenly realized that she’s tired of being a potato and she can actually do stuff. So she decided to make it her mission in life to roll over from her back to her stomach.

We were over at Rob’s mom’s house last night, and Kaylee was in a crib in the living room, straining and struggling to achieve her little milestone. All the adults gathered around and watched, cheering her on and giving her tips:

“Come on, you can do it, Kaylee!”
“You’re almost there … almost there … awwww, so close.”
“Just pull that left arm out from under you and you’ll have it.”

After a while, she gave up and fell asleep, and we gave up and ate dinner. But after some refreshing shut-eye, she was up and at it again. After a few tries, she finally got it and found herself face-down, possibly trying to figure out why her parents, grandmother and uncle were suddenly jumping around and cheering like she’d just won an Olympic gold medal.

Of course, as soon as Kaylee managed to roll onto her stomach, she remembered that she doesn’t like being on her stomach and whined until I picked her up.

It would have taken some sort of catastrophic natural disaster to get the smiles off of Rob’s and my faces for the rest of the night. Because has anything so amazing ever happened before in the history of the world? Has any other baby ever been such a wonderful genius?

Surely not.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Hairballs averted

I’ve been feeling like a bad mom lately because Kaylee hasn’t been getting any tummy time, which I’ve read is HIGHLY IMPORTANT. So, either I needed to stop reading these things or I needed to start putting her on her tummy to play.

The problems:
1. I can’t stop reading these things. I’m a writer, and therefore a reader, and I will always read scary articles about how I’m ruining my child’s life. (For example, I recently found out that since I’ve chosen not to breastfeed, Kaylee is doomed to a life of illness and obesity. Poor kid.)
2. We have two shedding dogs and a broken vacuum cleaner. My carpet has not exactly been a place I’ve wanted Kaylee to put her face.

On Friday, Rob and I finally decided to suck it up and get a really nice vacuum cleaner, one designed especially for animal hair. I’ve never had so much fun vacuuming the floor, and I’d had no idea just how much grossness there was in our carpet.

So Kaylee finally got to play on the floor this weekend.

Of course, she kind of hates tummy time and rolls over onto her back almost immediately.

But you have to give me points for trying.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


While we were visiting Rob’s mom the other night, someone had the great idea to lay Kaylee in the portable crib in the living room and stick a pacifier in her mouth. Her cynical mother saw this and thought, “Yeah, that’s not going to last long,” but I sat down for dinner anyway, expecting to be interrupted at any moment by a whining baby who wanted to be held.

Then about midway through dinner, something strange happened to my baby.

She fell asleep.

What’s this? No rocking? No smothering her with attention? No holding a bottle in her mouth for half an hour?

She just fell asleep? That’s it?

I had no idea she could do that. We must find a way to use this new, powerful information to our advantage.