Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Having a bit of a rough night with the kiddo so far.

I'm kinda worried for this weekend.

In other news, guess what my sweet little boy did today! I'm so proud. =)

PS- when he gets REALLY upset Donovan kinda sounds like a pig squealing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wish Us Luck (...we may need it)

Thursday is a holiday here, and since Zach gets the day off from work he's going to "faire le pont" and take advantage of a long weekend to go on our FIRST FAMILY TRIP! We're driving to Provence, should be about a 3 hour drive or so, and staying for 2 nights. I have no idea how this is gonna go, but I'm crossing my fingers that it goes decently well. This is sort of our "test" to see how D travels, and whether we want to plan other trips this summer (Zach's been itching to go to the south of France). I'm curious as to how long the drive will take us, I know we'll have to stop at least once for feeding and diaper changes, but hopefully it won't be too bad. Also, hopefully D will do ok in the car... His first 2 months the car was like magic, he fell asleep any time it was moving, but lately the magic seems to have worn off. The other day we all went to Interio to check out what they have (looking for some more rugs, nursery furniture) and he screamed most of the way there and back. Which I think may have been partially from being too hot in the back seat, so we'll have to beware of that. Anyway, we're leaving Thursday morning (or such is the plan). =)

If anyone has tips for traveling with a 3 month old I'd LOVE to hear them.

BTW, his 3-month "birthday" is on saturday! =)

In other news, which hopefully don't bode too badly for this weekend's trip, D was needing LOTS of time at the boob yesterday. Today was better, but he spent at least 2 nursing sessions suckling/snacking and sleeping on me, for about an hour each time, and if I tried to move him he'd scream. Then all of a sudden at some point in time he'd decide he was satisfied and he'd open his eyes, look at me, and GRIN. Today went better, though he still woke up from one 30-min nap crying, then he ate and fell asleep and slept on me for an hour. I know I should at least try to go put him down when he does this, but some of the times when I try this it really doesn't work and so I just let him. I'm actually not terribly concerned about forming bad sleep habits since at other times (like this morning's first nap) he doesn't need any help at all to go to sleep. I am hoping that in the next month his sleeping schedule will regulate itself a bit and be more predictable, and we can start working more aggressively with having him go to sleep on his own more reliably. I just ordered the Ferber and Weissbluth books from amazon, they should get here in a couple weeks (hopefully) so we'll see what I think about what they have to say.

BTW I have to send a shout-out to my friend Debbie whose little one should have arrived this morning!! I'm dying to find out if they have a little fille or a garcon. =P

Monday, April 28, 2008

And you thought saturday's pictures were cute...

I'm still trying to capture his pout, this came pretty close:
more faces of Donovan

About 30 seconds later:
more faces of Donovan

We've also got:
more faces of Donovanmore faces of Donovan

And there's plenty more where these came from.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Home Improvements

Today Zach and I finally started the process of re-arranging furniture so we can get D's room together. We didn't bother doing this before he was born b/c originally we were planning to convert the guestroom into his nursery, and we wanted to keep the guestroom as it was for my mom who would be spending all of February with us. Besides, we'd planned to have him sleep in his moses basket in our room for the first few months anyway.

Well, now he's approaching the 3 month mark ,is one good growth spurt away from outgrowing his basket, and we don't have visitors planned to come through for a while, so, it's time. Unfortunately we recently found mold on the wall, behind the curtains, in the guestroom so I think we'll be converting that into the new office/extra room, and turning the old office/extra room into his nursery (we managed to get most of the mold off, but still.. ya know). Which works well, it's a gorgeous room and I love spending time in it, but it is bigger and moving most of the furniture from there into the old guestroom makes for a cramped space sooo.... we made the executive decision today to also take apart and remove the guest bed. The frame was a crappy Ikea one (their cheapest model) so we have no qualms about getting rid of it. The mattress is now tucked under our bed, ready to be pulled out for when we do get visitors through.

I think I'll be really happy with the changes, actually, once they're all in place. I really like how the new office looks without the bed in it, so much more spacious and I think it'll be a fun room to have (and we'll use it much more now). So far we moved the bookshelves and the TV,etc, into the new office. Maybe later today we'll also move the changing table over to his new room, and Zach's desk into the new office. Then we'll just need to get a childproof gate to cover the doorway of his room, and we can start experimenting with putting D to sleep in his room in the basket on the floor bed, then transition to just sleeping on his mattress.

I'm amazed at the progress me made this morning, I wasn't sure how much we'd really get done with D around, but he took a couple decent naps this morning and during the time he was awake Zach was able to get a lot of one-person jobs done. Unfortunately, D has had a bit of a rough morning... after a nice feeding and cuddle in bed with us upon waking, we tried giving him a bath and, well, he cried before the bath, looked worried throughout (see bottom pics in previous post for examples), and cried the whole time afterwards, even after I'd finished with the HORRIBLE BABY TORTURE (aka putting his clothes back on). Zach took over and was able to get him to sleep, which seemed to solve the problem for a while. Then a little bit ago we tried giving him a bottle again, which made him cry, then smile at us as he gummed the bottle nipple, he drank about an ounce, then started getting upset again. He's now bouncing happily on dad's lap, not sure how long that'll last. I think next I'll try feeding him from the tap and see if he likes that better, as I'm sure he's gotta still be hungry. He took a bottle great the last time I gave him one, but that was Wednesday and perhaps waiting till today to try again was a mistake?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

See, I don't ALWAYS complain about him...

I feel like a lot of my posts lately have been very gripey and I kinda sound like an ungrateful mother. Now, I know I have the right to vent b/c, well, this whole taking care of an infant thing is friggin hard. But there's also so many wonderful, amazing moments, and I tend not to chronicle those nearly as much. So here's some Donovan cuteness to help make up for it.

My friend Cathy gave us a Bumbo chair at my baby shower. Now, technically D shouldn't be using this till he's 6 months old, but his head control has been getting better lately and I couldn't resist sitting him in it for just a few minutes to see how he'd do. The results, as you can see, are beyond precious:

can you say ADORABLE?
(He's been holding his little hands together at his chest like that a lot lately, it sorta looks like he's plotting some genius plan, so cute!)

can you say ADORABLE?

D's really become a pro at smiling. He smiles at me all day long (except when he's crying... and even then he sometimes flashes one almost as if it were involuntary). When he wakes up even if he's fussing, when I peek over the edge of his basket and say hello he'll look at me and suddenly break out into a big grin. Sometimes he even gets all flirty, smiling at me and then turning his face away while still looking at me out of the corner of his eyes. Sometimes he smiles at me when he's nursing-- he'll be sucking away and then he'll look up at me and smile, nipple still in his mouth and everything.


The other day I even got a laugh out of him! I was dancing his arms and legs around (which he LOVES, thinks it's hilarious apparently) and he let out a little giggle. It was AWESOME. I've been trying to get him to do it again, but no go yet.

And then there are the times when he looks at me like I'm crazy:

can you say ADORABLE?


Maybe it's b/c I do stuff like put a rubber duckie on his tummy...

My body, Not myself.

I knew going into pregnancy that my body wouldn't quite belong to me anymore. I'd have to be careful about what I ate, what I did, and watch my body change in ways I never had before. I was prepared for that and accepted it.

What I never really thought about, though, was how my body would still not be quite mine after birth. I had this idea that I'd go back to my regular clothes pretty quickly, didn't really think about the logistical problems of breastfeeding and wardrobe, or that I'd still be avoiding things like alcohol and caffeine (I'm actually more worried about caffeine now than I was while pregnant, as if baby was wired while in the womb I just got a few extra kicks. Now if he gets wired from caffeine, I have to deal with a baby that won't sleep).

I'm actually back to being fairly close to my pre-pregnancy shape and size. I don't fit into my jeans yet, but I'm not that far off. I think I'm still 10-15lbs heavier than my pre-preg weight. Which is pretty good, except I'm kind of in this wardrobe limbo, where some of my old clothes fit but others don't, and I don't really want to spend much money on new clothes yet b/c don't know how long they'll continue to fit. I almost wish I'd invested in another good pair or 2 of maternity jeans, since I'm still wearing mine most days. I'm wearing my 4 GlamourMom nursing tanks over and over again, b/c extra step of pulling up my shirt and unlatching my bra just seems too big a pain.

And so while I'm very glad to be breastfeeding, and take great pride in knowing that it is through me that this little guy is growing as well as he is, and though I have no intention of quitting nursing until he's around 1 year old, I am also looking forward to one day having my body back to myself again and not having to worry about the things I'm doing with it directly affecting another little person.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Vesicoureteral Reflux

Betcha can't say that one 3 times fast, eh?

For the past 3 weeks I have abstained from looking up this ominous term on google. It is what the nephrologist (?) will be testing D for in another few weeks. Since he already proved himself to be one of the elite 1% of boys who gets a urinary tract infection before puberty, we will soon see if he also qualifies for the 30-40% of that 1% whose infection stemmed from VUR. This morning I succumbed, and I googled.

Luckily, it doesn't really sound that bad. If he does have VUR, they don't think it's very severe (assumed from the ultrasound they did in the hospital), and most kids tend to outgrow the reflux as they get older. However it looks like we'd have to keep giving him antibiotics to keep him UTI-free, which would be really annoying (esp as he's started figuring out how to spit the stuff out) and keep checking him until it does go away.

I also suspect that we might be dealing with a bit of acid reflux, as in the past week or 2 he's been spitting up a lot more (and even more often, I'll hear hat sounds like him spitting up into his mouth and then swallowing it back down... ew). But it doesn't seem to be bothering him, I guess, so other than arming myself with burp rags I won't worry about it much for now (and will ask the pediatrician about it at his 3month check-up).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Anxious for Zach's return tomorrow

Note to self: When you have a nice routine going, DON'T MESS IT UP BY LEAVING THE HOUSE 3 DAYS IN A ROW.

D and I went into town again today to meet up with the gals for a coffee date. I started second-guessing whether we should go this morning, since we'd gone and done things outside the house 2 days in a row already, but I really wanted to get a couple of things to a pregnant friend who's scheduled to have a c-section next week and I knew she'd be there, so off we went...

Of course, I left the stuff at home.

Oh well. It was good to see them today and hang out for a bit, especially since it was such a nice day out. Unfortunately D started fussing after a while. I figured he was tired but my attempts to soothe him to sleep were all failing miserably, so screaming tot in tow I bid everyone adieu and left.

And of course, by the time I'd walked maybe 2 blocks he was asleep.

We did ok the rest of the afternoon until I tried yet another horribly unsuccessful attempt at baby massage. I keep reading about how good it is for babies and how much they love it, and so I keep trying it, and really I need to stop b/c it just does. not. work. for us. Two minutes into today's attempt D started screaming, such a shrill cry that he was actually scaring me a bit. I don't know what set him off, if it was something I did or if he was too cold or hot, I don't know. I threw his clothes back on as fast as I could (yet another thing he hates) and we went on a walk in the stroller to help calm him down. I give up on the baby massage.

One highlight of my day, however, was while we were sitting at the cafe (which was in the Paquis, which sorta explains this) we saw this very tall, very thin wo/man dressed in a pink top and pink miniskirt, riding a pink bicycle, in pink pumps. I almost wanted to take a picture. I didn't know such characters existed in our quaint little Geneva. It kinda made me miss Leslie. ; )

(I can't believe he has his own wikipedia entry! lol)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Caution: Children at Work

This is a pretty interesting article on body image post-baby based on a survey done by I found it interesting, and thought other mommies might, too.


I've been thinking lately about Montessori, how a big part of the philosophy is the understanding of children's "work." The idea is that these things that children do, the activities in the classroom and every-day things, too, like spending 5 minutes studying a drawing or picture or banging pots together to listen to the sound they make or learning to tie, it's not "playing," it's work. Those activities are the child's way of learning about the environment around him and about himself and his own development. We use the term work not to mean some sort of chore, but as something that we put effort into, that we enjoy, that we take pride in. It's the kind of work most of us would associate with spending time on a hobby we truly enjoy (say, spending a whole day out in the garden, or reading, or going on a walk and taking pictures, etc) where afterwards we feel refreshed and happy, and not the drudgery of employment (which is the association many think of first and which gives the word "work" its dirty connotation).

It astounds me how everything that D does is this same type of work. Every minute he is developing himself. While awake, when he is eating and drawing in nourishment for his body, and at the same time cuddling with me, breathing in my scent, looking into my eyes, fingering the fabric of my shirt, taking all this information in. While playing, when he is moving his arms and legs and figuring out how to control them and develop his muscles, lifting his head, and also observing everything around him-- the sights, sounds, smells, textures. Even while asleep he is working, processing all the information he's taken in, and I've read that babies do most of their growing while they sleep. I'm reminded of hearing about a man who spent 1 hour going through the types of movements an infant makes, and was completely exhausted afterwards. There is so much going on in that middle brain and body, all the time. Sometimes I look at him and can almost see the wheels turning, the little baby neurons forming and his whole self developing.

More Advice Needed: Poop Stains?

Ok, I need laundry advice. I've never been much of a laundry expert. I haven't turned any loads of laundry pink, but I attribute that to major luck more than knowledge.

The first time or 2 that D leaked some poop onto clothes it seemed to wash right out. I assumed it wouldn't be a problem, then. Except now he's been having more leaky diapers, and the stains are staying past one washing. I hate to see these cute, new clothes get ruined after sometimes just a single wear. What do I need to do to help get the stains out? Is there a particular stain remover or treatment I should be using (one that's available here)? Do I wash in hot or cold water? Etc.


Monday, April 21, 2008

coaster ride

I've heard it often said that there's something magical that happens when a baby is about 12 weeks/3 months old, that all of a sudden they change and become that much happier and more fun and "easy." D is 11 weeks old as of yesterday. I don't know if this is the magical 3-month-change or what, but the past few days/week or so has felt pretty good. Sure, there was one night last week when it took for-e-ver to get him to fall asleep for the night. But now all of a sudden he's napping so much better during the day, which makes SUCH A DIFFERENCE. I don't know how long it'll last (and by now if I've learned anything about babies, it's that their patterns don't last), but for now I'm LOVING it.

It feels like we've found our rhythm again. I know about when he tends to eat, and how long he can stay awake before getting tired, and so I'm able to respond or even somewhat anticipate his needs without him having to cry at me to figure it out. It also really helps that putting him down for naps has been much simpler lately, for whatever reason. He spends less time during the day crying, which makes for a happier baby, which makes for a much happier mommy.

I'm having fun with him. I find myself laughing at little things he does, all day long. He's smiling so much now, flashing big grins at me almost any time he sees me. He didn't sleep longer than 4 hours at a stretch last night, yet I feel inexplicably well-rested. It almost doesn't feel like work.

And as I write this, I realize that just days ago I was writing ranting posts about how hard this was, and my guess is next week I'll be back to feeling frustrated about something or other (if it seems that parenting is a bit of a rollercoaster, that's b/c it is. I also feel like I should be making regular offerings to the gods of Murphy's Law, hoping to keep them appeased as much as possible). I guess now we're on a good patch, and it's wonderful, and I'll enjoy it while we're here.

And maybe try to remember to read the happy posts when we start hitting the bottom slope of the ride.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Drinks, Apps, and Naps

Last night our friends Sophia and Tyler had an "appetizers and drinks" party at their place. We went, and took D with us, knowing it'd be a bit of an adventure-- he's been going to bed around 9ish the past week, and the party started at 8:30, meaning he'd certainly be up past his bedtime which could throw his whole sleeping thing off. But we also wanted to enjoy his young age and easy portability while it lasts, and get to hang out with friends, so off we went.

The evening went really smoothly, actually. We arrived at their place a bit early, both so we could borrow their oven to bake our brie dish and also so I could feed D on time rather than listen to a hungry screaming baby on the car ride over (a mistake we've made a couple times). Once there he was in a great mood, enjoying being ogled at by everyone. =P At one point I put him in the sling and just carried him like that for most of the evening, surprising everyone with how comfy he looked and how well he slept in spite of all the noise form everyone's conversations. We had a great time, not leaving till about 11:30pm. I worried about what it'd be like getting him to sleep once we got home, but after eating again he went to bed pretty easily... I think it's safe to say that all 3 of us were pretty exhausted by that time (nearly 1am).

Normally D and I spend the majority of the time during the day hanging out downstairs, and when he napped it'd be in his bouncy chair, bassinet, or in the sling. Occasionally we'd nap in bed together, or I'd let him sleep on after a feeding. The past few days I've been swaddling him for naps more often, and putting him down in his basket upstairs (where he sleeps at night). I've also been more proactive about putting him to sleep (such unfortunate connotations with that term) when he starts to show sleepy signs (usually after being awake for 1-1.5 hrs). Perhaps b/c of these things, or maybe just coincidence, he seems to be napping better, sleeping more consistently for 45 mins or so. This afternoon I put him down for a nap at about 4pm, expecting him to wake in half an hour to eat, and had to do a double take when I woke up a bit ago and realized we'd slept for 2 hours (which may be more making up for last night than anything). I'm hesitant to call this better napping a breakthrough, as I don't want to jinx it, but I certainly am grateful and hopeful.

six word sunday: It's hard work, being a baby.

It's hard work, being a baby.

six word sunday challenge

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Question for International Mommies:

The Backstory: When I first started hearing about the BPA baby bottle controversy, I figured I'd rather just steer clear and so bought some Evenflo glass bottles from for D, figuring we wouldn't be bottle feeding that often, anyway. I actually haven't even used them much since I scored a bunch of plastic bottles from the hospital (started hoarding them after a nurse suggested I take them home, as they're perfectly fine to reuse but the hops just throws them away). These bottles are the frosted plastic kind, so I'm fairly certain they're BPA-free.

However, as D has started getting more finicky with his bottle-taking, I'm wondering if I should try some different brands with him and see if he likes those better. As more and more info on the dangers of BPA comes out in the media (read these two recent blog posts on the Baby Bargains blog), I'm more certain of wanting to avoid the stuff. Problem is, every time I look at baby bottles in stores here all I see is hard clear plastic ones (the tell-tale sign usually of BPA). I think I once saw Medela bottles sold at a pharmacy, but that's it (and only 4oz sized ones).

The Question: I know Europe is ahead of the US in many areas of health and safety, are there particular local brands (Swiss? French?) I can look for that are BPA-free? Has this issue even been talked much over here? Or is it old news already? Or do I need to buy bottles online and have them sent over?

EDIT: Hmm, it seems Europe is taking the position that BPA isn't anything to worry about. Which I guess means I'll have trouble finding bottles without it here. Boo.

on boobs and bread

It's an unfortunate irony of life that, just at the time when my boobs are at their most voluptuous, they are also covered by a spiderweb if thick blue veins, rendering moot any desire to showcase my newfound cleavage. Boo.

In other news, Zach made french toast this morning with leftover bread, and it was delicious. I need to request that more often.

Friday, April 18, 2008

At least the $80 haircut hurts less when you're only doing it once every 3 months...

I'm afraid this blog is becoming a bit more boring for the non-parent readers, what with all this baby talk. Then again, I'm not sure I was really that exciting to begin with?

Zach stayed home this morning while I got a few hours to myself so I could get my hair cut (first time since he was born, it was staring to get preeety shaggy). I also did a bit of shopping for D at this adorable French store that's a little bit on the pricey side, but not bad, and besides since the grandmas basically gave us D's entire 3-6 month size wardrobe I figure I can splurge a bit on some incredibly adorable pieces that are more unique to Europe. =)

Unfortunately it seemed that D had been a bit, um, "high maintenance," which kinda continued the rest of the day. It wasn't too bad, really, all afternoon long he's nursed, fallen asleep on me for 30-60mins afterwards (I had my book, so was happy), then would be awake for a bit but be slightly cranky and need holding most of the time, and then he'd nurse again, and so on. He felt a bit warm so I checked his temp twice over the course of the afternoon and he was running at 99.3 and 99.5, which I'm going to keep an eye on but choose not to worry about at this point.

He's been more finicky with taking bottles lately, which might be b/c we've slacked off on giving them to him. He took them great in the first month, when we'd give him a bottle feeding almost every day, and he'd take down 3-4 oz at a time. Now he'll drink 1-2 oz and refuse to drink any more. Which confuses me, since I'd expect him to either take a full feeding or refuse the bottle completely. So I'm not quite sure what's going on. I guess we'll try giving bottles more often (really should try for 2-3 times per week) and see if that helps.

Then again, he may just be developing a stronger preference for the real deal. He's started sucking on his fingers a lot lately, and he'll suck on my hand if it's anywhere near his mouth. A few times I've tried giving him other stuff to explore with his mouth-- pacifier, plastic toy, fabric ball-- and he'll refuse to even touch them with his lips. But, stick my hand in front of him and he goes to town. Hmm.

Ok, must go to bed. I set him down to sleep at 8:20pm, not really expecting him to stay asleep, but things still sound quiet upstairs and it's now 9pm so I guess it worked? Which means I need to get my butt to bed, too. 'Night.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Starbucks Baby

D and I had a fairly ambitious trip into town today. We took the bus in, D in his bassinet on the stroller, and soon after getting on the bus he started fussing... so I took him out and set him on my lap and he was calm the whole rest of the way in, just looking out the big windows. We went to the baby group at the women's club, where I got to show him off to many of the women I'd met while pregnant and hadn't seen him in person yet. He continued to be pretty calm and happy, even falling asleep on my lap. Then it was time to go meet the girls for a Starbucks coffee date. D was close to being due for a feeding so I tried to nurse before leaving but he didn't seem very interested... and then decided he was indeed very much hungry on the walk to Starbucks, spending the last 10-15 mins of the way crying, the poor thing. So we got there, and he ate, and was happy for a while until he started getting tired and I figured it was about time to be heading home. I don't think I'd even walked a block out of Starbucks and he was completely out, dead asleep, and stayed that way until we were just a few bus stops away from home. Amazingly, once we got in the door he stayed happy enough in the bassinet to let me eat a quick lunch before demanding my attention.

He's continued to be pretty happy this afternoon. We hung out in the moby wrap for a bit and he took a nap in that while I read from my copy of Under the Tuscan Sun that we bought last week at Les Recyclables, and currently he's sleeping in his sling (clutching one edge of the fabric with his hand as he does so). =) It started raining just as we got home from our trip into town so we didn't go for any local walks, but hopefully tomorrow the weather will cooperate as I want to go down to see the sheep down the road and take pics of the brand new baby sheep that we saw for the first time the other day.

I tried some tummy time with D earlier, on a blanket on the downstairs rug, and he was pretty into it at first, until he smacked his head on the ground-- and I got to see a demonstration of how baby synapses really do work a lot slower than adult ones. He picked up his head again right away, and seemed ok... and then you slowly saw it dawn on him that he had, in fact, hit his head, and that it probably hurt, and he went from being still happy to pouting to very much upset, and I hate to say it but it was absolutely adorable. I had to stifle a laugh as I picked him up to soothe him. At the time I thought, "I'll have to blog about this later!" and now I'm realizing this may be one of those stories that's appreciated most by fellow parents.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

DINOSAURS! And more sleep obsessing

Hank and Susan brought a whole 2 suitcases full of clothes and toys for D. Most of them are 3-6 month size, which he's already starting to fit into (and I'm finding more and more 0-3 size outfits that are needing to get retired from his dresser). One of the outfits is these dinosaur pj's, which Zach immediately LOVED. I mean, it's dinosaurs! DINOSAURS!!!


And so I feel the need to commemorate the outfit here on the blog, since I'm not sure D will be wearing it again. Not b/c I have anything against dinosaurs, of course, but because I honestly have no idea what the designer was thinking when he came up with this outfit. Those buttons on the front? They only go down to about his belly button. Then there's snaps at the crotch, but they stop at the ankle cuffs. So, basically, the best way we could figure out to get this thing on is like a jumpsuit, put the legs through first, bring outfit to waist level, then get his arms through.

Not exactly the most convenient thing to put on a baby that hates to get dressed to begin with.


From here on out, I swear that when I gift clothes to a baby I will do my best to find ones that are the most easy to put on and take off. B/c it really does make a difference sometimes.

In other news... D had a bit of a hard day yesterday, he didn't nap very well, he was fussy, and these things resulted in it taking Zach and I OVER TWO HOURS to get him down for the night. At least after the first hour or so getting him to fall asleep wasn't much of a challenge-- his eyes would close within minutes of picking him up. No, the problem at that point was that when I set him down he'd sleep for maybe 10 minutes and wake up crying again. He slept for 5 hrs, then another 2.5 after that, which for overnight isn't terrible but he usually sleeps more than that.

Today has been much better. I made it a goal to give him as good a naps as possible, and he actually wasn't as cranky (or hard to fall asleep) as I expected. I think part of it might be that Susan left this morning, so today was the first day in nearly 3 weeks that it was just the 2 of us, and the house was pretty calm and quiet. It's been great having the grandparents here, and letting them get to know D and they were great help with him and with house chores, etc, but I also think the extra excitement and people might affect him a bit. Which makes me wonder about how our trip back o the states will go in the summer... but whatevs. D's now sleeping on Zach, he's all bundled up and ready to go to bed (I'm still unsure when to really assume he's down for the night, as I keep expecting him to wake up again at 10 or 11 for another feeding). We'll see how the rest of the night goes, if he stays asleep and how he does overnight. I'm remaining hopeful, though trying not to assume anything.

PS- When I showed Zach these pictures his first reaction was "DUDE! He's throwing gang signs! [The first pic] could be the cover art for a baby rap album!"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Who Needs Sleep?

Donovan, that's who.

I've become obsessed with sleep. Not mine, his. There definitely seems to be a correlation between the amount of sleep he gets and his moods. So I've found myself getting more and more obsessed-- Is he sleeping enough? How many naps should he get during the day? Is 20 minutes long enough? How can I get him to sleep longer? Am I setting us up for a horrible weaning process if I swaddle him to sleep every time? Does it matter if it still gives me a happier, more well-rested baby now?

He's been sleeping pretty well at night lately, seemingly thanks to swaddling (last night his long stretch was 5.5 hrs, which is pretty good for his age and only felt bad to me b/c a few nights ago he went 8.5 hours, and has been averaging 6-7hrs). He usually does one long sleep stretch, his first of the night, and then depending on how long that one was will do 1 or 2 more 2-3hr stretches before it's time to wake up for the day (usually between 8-9am).

Naps, are a different story. He tends to take one decent (40-60mins?) morning nap about 1-2 hrs after waking in the morning. Past that, it seems to be different from day to day. Sometimes he takes series of 20-30 min catnaps. Yesterday he took at least 3, 45-min-plus long naps. There's been a few times (often when I brought him to bed and napped with him, or let him sleep on me after falling asleep nursing) that he'll stay asleep for up to 2 hrs.

My biggest concern is that a lot of the time (esp after the short naps) he'll wake up and still seem so tired-- eye-rubbing, yawning, etc. Sometimes he'll go back to sleep again, either on his own or after being rocked/bounced around a bit. Other times, not so much. And then he can turn into Mr Grumpy Pants.

And then there's bed-time. We'll probably figure out a consistent bedtime routine to do with him pretty soon. And I probably should stop relying on nursing or rocking him to get him t o fall asleep at night. Though I'm unsure when exactly this transition is supposed to occur-- my books claim that in the first 2 months you should do whatever necessary to get baby to sleep, as they can't do so on their own yet (at least not consistently). By 4-6months they should be falling asleep on their own. They're a little hazy on what I should be doing between 2-4 months, though.

Susan leaves to go back home to the states tomorrow. Once D and I settle back into a semi-normal routine of just the 2 of us I may try to keep track of when he sleeps and look for patterns, and maybe having some sort of semi-consistent daytime nap schedule might help. Who knows.

This morning when D woke back up after only sleeping for 1 hour his last stretch, I felt annoyed and tired. Then we nursed and once it became clear he was not gonna go back to sleep again I opened up the skylight window shade and he and I lay in bed for about half an hour, me watching him smile at me and jerk his arms and legs like crazy, hitting my face and mouth with his fist (I swear he was kinda sorta aiming, too), and the annoyance and fatigue went away as I took in this adorable little creature who's already changed so much that I'm reminding myself to take in his current mannerisms and expressions and habits b/c I know they may be completely different next month, next week, tomorrow.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

six word sunday: Donovan gets all the cool toys.

Donovan gets all the cool toys.

six word sunday challenge

Village Goings-on

Last night Zach stopped in on a 30th birthday party for the guy that lives right next to us. The theme was "western" which Zach took to mean simply cowboy-style stuff. He arrived and realized that it was full-on western, as in movies, as in cowboys-and-indians. They had a huge totem pole, and he said a good bit of the people were dressed up in full costumes, from John Wayne cowboys to squaw Indian girls. It was an amusing thing for him to see, as an American, since I don't think that party theme would fly as well in the US (at least you'd be at a much greater risk of offending a bunch of people).

Then he lamented not knowing the theme better and making the joke of going as Gandhi (you know, the other kind of Indian). ; )

This evening we left D with Grandma and went nextdoor for dinner, and next to us was the group of old men that we often see in there, drinking wine and chatting. They're always a fun sight to see, and seem like a cool group to know, and Zach mentioned that he'd love it if one day his French were good enough to join them in conversation. Then later on in our dinner, I forgot how it happened exactly, but somehow we wound up talking with one of them, and Zach chatted, in half-French, half-English (as a few of the men knew English), for a few minutes.

Including getting the details from one of them about the village's open-house skeet shooting event next month. Yes, where you walk up and they give you a rifle (and some instructions) and let you fire away (they did joke that killing anyone is strictly against the rules). They'll be doing this in one of the big fields at the edge of the village. Zach is very much looking forward to this, and wants to make it a family outing. Do I want to expose D to guns already?

I have another post I want to write about my obsession with sleep (D's, not mine), but for now I'll just say he's seemed way better the past couple days. We've gotten lots of cute smiles, and there may have even been a little laugh earlier today.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Cold feet = urinary tract infections. What, you didn't know that?

My sweet, adorable, very friendly neighbor has mentioned to me TWICE already (and once to Zach, separately) that she thinks we're not keeping D warm enough when we take him outside. She even suggested that perhaps he got the UTI b/c his feet were too cold. As in, this is apparently a saying she knew about, that babies whose feet get too cold get UTIs.

How do I politely tell her that I think my son is plenty warm, thank you? Oh, and in French, please?

There's been a couple other women who've said something like that to me before. It kinda makes me worry that maybe I am letting him get too cold, except I try to monitor him pretty well, and I follow the rule of keeping him in one layer more than I wear, and lately when I've taken him out in his Bundle Me he almost seems too warm if anything.

This is also a place where, when we took him walking by the lake in Geneva one afternoon when it was 60-70F, all the babies were wearing friggin SNOWSUITS.

I guess I need to get used to the everyone-will-question-or-criticize-you part of motherhood, huh?

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Can I tell you how heartbreaking it is when D is getting poked and prodded with needles (in the hospital, with the vaccines this am) and his little eyes manage to find me and give me a look that screams "MOM WHY ARE YOU LETTING THESE PEOPLE TORTURE ME???"

Screamy McScreamerson

Before D got sick, I felt like we had established a routine. An exhausting one at that, but there was at least the predictability. He'd eat, which took anywhere from 20-40mins, then be awake and fairly happy for another 20-30 mins, then he'd start to get fussy and tired so I'd try to get him to nap. Sometimes he'd go to sleep right away, other times take a while longer, and basically he'd sleep anywhere from 20 mins to 1 hour, waking up almost exactly 2 hours since his last feeding began, and we'd start the cycle all over again.

Then we spent a week in the hospital, and even once we came home we had Hank and Susan here, which has been great, but I feel like we've yet to achieve a similar sense of "normalcy." D's schedule has been all over the place, sometimes seeming hungry just 1.5 hrs since the last feeding, other times going 3 hours before getting hungry again. His naps seem to be shorter, though every once in a while he'll take a marathon 2-hr nap. I get the sense often that he'll wake up before he's really ready to, but won't go back to sleep despite lots of eye-rubbing and fussiness.

Last night I fed him around 6pm or so and he fell asleep on me. I set him down in his basket, which lasted all of about 10 minutes before he woke up SCREAMING. After several failed attempts at soothing him, by me, Susan, and Zach, I finally took him upstairs and put him on the boob again, and spent the next hour and a half sitting with him, as he ate some and slept for a while, too scared to try to set him down again (this whole comfort nursing thing can be a blessing and curse all at once). Just now I spent another 2 hours with him napping on me, not wanting to move him. When he did wake up he did so crying hysterically, and trying to feed him only seemed to make him madder. Susan came up and took him and was able to get him back to sleep. He did get his 2 month vaccines this morning, which may be contributing to this specific tantrum, but it still seems like he just spends so much time upset. The times that he is happy I'm scared to move him or do anything b/c I don't wanna piss him off.

The scary thing? I know he's not even that bad of a baby. It's not like he has acid reflux or colic. He sleeps well at night. We don't (yet) have any of those stayed-up-all-night-with-a-screaming-baby stories that every parent seems to have. He's absolutely adorable and so happy parts of the day. And still I sometimes feel like I'm being screamed at all the time. I'm having a hard time figuring out what's supposed to be "normal" for him-- Is he still feeling after-effects from the infection? Are the antibiotics messing with his system? Or now, the shots he got this morning? Or is this just what he's like at this point in time? Is this really even new, or am I only remembering "good" days from before and so he seems suddenly worse by comparison? Or is this just a random bad (couple) day(s)?

I think it's been a rough couple of weeks for all of us.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Things I'm Loving Right Now (aka my mom essentials)

I planned to write a real post about our outing into Geneva yesterday with Donovan in the snow, and Debbie's baby shower this afternoon, but D's being a bit, um, cranky, so I'll just post this entry that I wrote a while back and had been waiting for an uninspired posting day to publish. Enjoy, while I go relieve Zach of the hysterical monster that's inhabiting my son's body.

Lansinoh Breast Pads-- Perhaps there's other brands easily accessible in the US that don't suck, but here there don't seem to be any. Mom brought me a box of these from the US and they seemed great, but I didn't think much of it until I had Zach buy me some other brands at the store and discovered how crappy they are. They're basically cotton balls, shaped differently, and yes they absorb but then you have a wet mass of cotton right up against your skin. Not cool. The Lansinoh brand pads are not only way thinner and more discreet, but they absorb well and feel dry. MUCH better. So much so that I scourged the internet and found a UK site that would ship me several boxes of these for $12 shipping. Worth. Every. Penny.

GlamourMom Nursing tanks-- I ordered a couple of these while pregnant, figuring I wanted to have them around b/c they seemed pretty nifty, but didn't want to spend a fortune before knowing how well they really worked. I have to say that I wasn't a big fan in the first weeks of nursing-- the extra material seemed to just get in the way and I almost found them annoying. If it hadn't been winter and so cold I would've probably preferred to just hang out in a nursing bra alone to have the least amount of stuff to hassle with while trying to figure out how to feed him. But now that I've more or less got the hang of it, I'm in love with these tops, and ordered 4 more a few days ago. I predict I'll basically live in them over the next year.

My Slings-- I have 2 pouch slings (New Native and RockinBaby Pouch) and just got a Moby wrap that I'm still working on figuring out. The slings have been absolute lifesavers, anytime D's fussy from being tired I can just pop him into the sling and he'll calm down right away (ok, sometimes it takes a couple minutes of bopping and bouncing around, but seriously, 5 mins max) and then often he'll go to sleep. And then I have the freedom to walk around and use one arm completely freely (to be most comfortable the sling has to go over my shoulder and part of my upper arm on one side to distribute the weight better, so that arm's somewhat constricted, but still available). I'm looking forward to playing around more with the Moby wrap, as that one goes over both shoulders and should be more comfortable and versatile (esp once he can hold his head up). I'm also tempted by a ring sling, which at first intimidated me b/c of the extra fabric, but now I'm thinking they look pretty useful, too, esp since you can adjust them freely (meaning Zach and I could use the same sling easily). Not familiar with "babywearing?" Go read this post.

Monday, April 07, 2008

In the Baby Navy

We've had kinda wacky weather lately. One day it'll be cold and rainy, the next sunny and warm (at least when the ice-cold wind isn't blowing). Hank, Susan, Zach and I took D next door to the restaurant and sat outside on the patio in the afternoon. It was pretty nice, and after a while D fell asleep in his stroller. Today we'd talked about all going into Geneva, but since it's rainy (and possibly gonna snow?) that might not happen.

It's been pretty fun watching Hank and Susan play with and sing to Donovan. They've got quite a repertoire, including a baby-fied version of Big Spender ("Big Drooler") and Hank's been working on a theme about a baby in the navy and whether or not they serve gravy in the baby navy. They've also been working on what they want their grandparent names to be. I'm curious to see what we'll settle on.

Zach caught this picture yesterday and I feel bad saying it but I think it's pretty precious. I'm trying to catch his lower lip when he sticks it out about a mile long to pout. No success yet. Anyway, Zach says this picture looks like I'm whispering mean secrets into his ear.


Also, Susan brought this knit blanket, and matching sweater and booties, which a friend of hers knit for Zach when he was a baby and are now getting passed down to D. How adorable is that??


C'mon, you know you wanna

Hey all, my sister will be participating in a Team in Training triathlon again this year. Why? Read her text below. Then, go donate so she can reach her $4,500 fundraising goal:

I am training to participate in an Olympic-distance triathlon as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training. Although their mission is to find a cure for blood cancers, the research funded by the LLS has lead to some of the most significant breakthroughs in cancer treatments, such as bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy, as well as drugs such as Geelvec (an oral treatment that targets cancer cells - saves you having to sit in The Chair for a couple of hours).

This will be my second triathlon with Team in Training (in case I haven't mentioned this yet, I'll be swimming 1500 meters, then biking 40 km [26 miles], then running another 10 km [6.2 miles]. Last time I finished in 3 hours and 43 minutes, mind you). The first time I did this, I was mostly doing it because I wanted to get in shape, and I wanted the bragging rights of having done something nice for other people. This time (while I'm still doing it for the bragging rights), what got my butt into gear about signing up again was seeing my mother-in-law go through chemo. When my brother fought (and beat) cancer, I wasn't around enough to see it up close and personal as I have in the past few months.

When I did this the first time, I also hadn't seen cancer win, taking with it a great man, doctor, husband, father, granddad, and my chance to get to know my father-in-law. I don't want cancer to do that again.

I'm doing this for JC, for my grandpa, for Mary-Charles, for Lee; for the close calls like Philip and my mom; for anyone who has had to sit and watch a friend or family member go through this ordeal.

Failure is not an option. Please make a donation to the cause today.

Thanks for your support!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Moms Educating the World, One Blog at a Time

I wish I had read this just before D was born. And this. There's probably multiple other entries that resonate like crazy, I just haven't gotten around to reading them yet.

While pregnant I went through and read the pregnancy archives on It was nice to read a completely unadulterated, brutally honest account of what pregnancy can be like. Now I'm finding myself reading the posts from those first months after their daughter Leta was born. It's my mommy therapy.

I have discovered several mom bloggers that have become rapid favorites. Alice at finslippy always makes me laugh. Heather at Dooce has incredible stories, about parenthood and life in general (have you read the one about the raccoon in the chimney?), and an equally incredible way with words. And then there's the many other mom bloggers who have babies about the same age as D, or slightly older, with whose posts I can relate to or who show me what to look forward to in the coming months. I love these women and their blogs, because they are so refreshingly honest. Yes, there are many stories of how their children light up their lives and are such incredible creatures. They also share the moments when you kinda wish your kid had come with a money-back guarantee, and the understanding that having these moments doesn't make you a "bad mom," it in fact makes you normal.

While in the hospital Zach brought me an Elle magazine to read, and in it was this great interview with Michelle Williams. She mentioned how the only thing she really remembers about her labor with Matilda is making a pact with herself that she'd never. do this. again. Which was such a breath of fresh air after hearing all the other new celebrity moms claim that their labors had been "so mellow" and easy. Sure, your labor may have been nice and calm but I don't think it does anyone any favors to sugar coat it when it's most likely among the most painful things you'll do in your life.

I sometimes worry that I might scare pregnant friends who read my blog when I write posts about the not-so-fun parts of early motherhood. I hope not to cause too much anxiety, but at the same time I also do think it's important to tell it like it is. I had lots of experience with babies in the past and I still felt completely clueless when it came time to take D home and actually take care of him, and I think it's good to acknowledge that, yes, this sucks a lot of the time, and no, you won't get hardly any sleep, and if you're breastfeeding your boobs and nipples will hurt for at least a few weeks and you'll feel trapped at knowing that this little being depends on you (and only you) for nourishment every 2-3 hrs. But then you'll start getting the hang of it, and you'll feel more competent, and then your kid starts doing really cute stuff like kicking their legs around and smiling and making noises, and that helps carry you through the stuff that still kinda sucks, and, well, it's just all one big adventure, right? One in which some of the best help I've gotten has been reading other mom's stories of going through the same things I'm going through, or even just a few simple "Hey, I've been there, and it DOES get better!" Hopefully I can help other new moms in the same way.

six word sunday: It's almost unfair to other babies

It's almost unfair for other babies

six word sunday challenge

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Dog, Cat, Rat

I remember the first time I saw the Cat Guy in Geneva. I instantly LOVED it, stopped to pet the cats almost every time I saw him, and just hearing his music playing while walking down the street would make me smile. I know some people think he's kinda lame, but as an avid cat lover I ate it up.

Then a friend sent me this video today, and well, I think our local Cat Guy has been one-upped. THIS would be awesome to see on Rue de Marche sometime...

(I'm actually kind of upset that I've never seen this guy on any of my trips to Santa Barbara... that may become a new personal mission)

Friday, April 04, 2008

We're off to see the Wizard...

We went to the American consulate today to report D's birth to the US and apply for his social security number and passport. The only other time I remember going to a consulate was when Mom and I went to the Chilean one in Houston to reapply for my passport and carnet, and we basically had just walked into this room in a building and took care of everything.

So when we got to the US consulate here in Geneva I was kinda taken aback by the security. First, there was a security guy standing outside the closed door. We told him what we were there for, and he rang a bell on the door. Then a second guy opened the door and I assumed he was gonna let us in, but no, he stepped out and closed the door again (so was standing out in the hallway with us). He then told us we needed to leave all our stuff outside-- all we could take in with us was our wallets and our paperwork. So we gave up our jackets, my purse, our cell phones, etc, and only then were we allowed to walk through and go see the wizard.

Once we got in things were pretty easy, I'm still worried if the pictures I took will be ok (I found a website where you upload a photo and it edits it to the right size standards for you), otherwise I'll have to deal with taking him in to a photo place and hope he remains a) awake and b) in a good enough mood to take a proper picture. If all goes well, we'll have his little passport in about 4 weeks.

In other news, D's been taking his yucky-tasting antibiotics meds like a champ. Unfortunately I suspect it's messing with his stomach a bit, poor guy. I don't know, he still seems fussier than normal and I'm not quite sure what's making him upset. He remains fever-less, though, which is the important thing. On the flip side, I've swaddled him up tightly 3 of the past 4 nights and on those nights he's slept 6-7 hrs at a stretch. Which is, um, AWESOME. Definitely beats the 2-3 hr stretches he'd been sleeping.

Of course, now that I've blogged it Murphy's Law will probably come back and bite me in the ass.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Survived the snowfall

The first thing I saw when I arrived to the house yesterday was the buds on this tree in our front yard, and I stopped and looked at it and found a kind of inspiration in it, this tree that got hit by all the snow over Easter weekend, I was afraid the cold would've killed the plants. But here were these buds coming out, having braved the storm and now emerging in springtime.

It felt like a nice kind of symbolism for coming home from the hospital, and for parenting in general, for those days that seem so difficult and when it's hard to see the spring on the other side of the snowstorm.

Hospital Pics

Just a couple pictures from the hospital:The blue cable is a breathing monitor, and the white one was I think to measure heartrate and stuff.

Home Sweet Home

We're HOME again. =) The hospital let us go home early, yesterday afternoon.

The whole story is that on Sunday something happened with D's IV and they had to take it out (exactly what I don't know, it happened while Hank and Susan were hanging out with him). I think the nurses were dreading having to put it back in since I think they'd had a hard time with it the first time. The doctor explored whether we could give him the antibiotics a different way and do a shorter treatment, but they decided they really would prefer him to get back on the IV and do the whole 10 days, just to be safe.

But then Monday afternoon they tried to put the IV back in and failed miserably. So for the moment they gave him the meds as a muscular shot, and said they'd re-evaluate his treatment options. The yesterday morning they decided it'd be ok for us to bring him home and give him the rest of his treatment at home, by mouth. So that's what we're doing.

We made it back by around 5pmish, and as I sat down to feed him in his usual chair upstairs, I looked around the massive mess that is our bedroom and despite the chaos it just felt so good to be back there, back to our normal "routine."

D was a bit fussy last night, I think all the change and transitions might not sit well with him, but then I swaddled him up for bedtime and he slept for a whole 6 hours which is FABULOUS (much better than the 2-3 hr night stretches he's been doing lately). I think I'm sold on this swaddling thing.

Now I finally get to look through the 2 huge suitcases of baby stuff that Hank and Susan brought! =P


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