Friday, May 30, 2008

A Day in the City with Mr Grumpy Pants

Today was not a very good Donovan day. We had an ok morning, he took his first nap easily, but from then on he'd wake up, smile and even laugh at me for a few minutes, and then he'd start whining and crying and just plain ole not being happy. Zach and I kinda traded him back and forth to give each other breaks trying to help him feel better. I don't know what it was, random baby crankiness or if the new meds didn't agree with him... I don't know. He appeared to have been possessed by a demon (perhaps the demon of handwriting analysis?).

Jennie and her mom were arriving into town by train this afternoon, and we'd also made plans to meet up with some friends for a happy hour, and I was kinda dreading how it'd go in town with D but I hoped the change of scenery might do him good. He screamed almost the whole way into Geneva (which was long, as there was traffic) but once we got there he seemed pretty calm and napped a bit in his stroller. So the change of scenery bit seemed to do the trick, I guess. The rain let up and clouds slowly parted to actually give us some sun, so after walking around Old Town a bit we sat at an outdoor cafe at Plade de Bourg des Fours, and then went to the Alhambar to meet up with some friends that I haven't seen in a while as I've kinda been too scared to attempt taking Mr Grumpy Pants into town lately for meetups. Zach wound up having to hang out with him outside for a while as D started crying, then slept for a bit. Overall it went well, though. We did also have the small-town fun phenomenon of running into people randomly twice today-- I was delighted to run into Debbie and her little Madeleine, who I met for the first time today, outside of Starbucks, and then we saw Hillary on her way to the happy hour and she stopped and chatted with us for a bit before we all walked over together.

Now we're home, D's asleep, we're having dinner, and hopefully tonight will go well enough. We have a follow-up with the pediatrician tomorrow morning, and then I think we're thinking of going wine-tasting afterwards.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Update: Pedi Appt

Had the appointment with our pediatrician today. First, the results from the tests the hospital ran on D's stool sample came back negative for Salmonella or any of the usual bacteria that can cause this sort of trouble. After a brief examination of the kiddo, it sees the next obvious option is an allergy or intolerance to cow's milk. The Dr was glad to hear that I've already cut out dairy from my diet, and we'll see how that affects things over time. I've heard it can take up to 3 weeks for the offending proteins to leave both mom and baby's bodies. He took a blood sample from D that will be used to check for proper blood coagulation (unlikely to be the problem, but a simple thing to check) and for an allergy or intolerance, which unfortunately can be hard to spot but we'll see what the results show.

I told him about D spitting up and sometimes crying at feedings, so he also thought we might be dealing with some acid reflux, and that this could even be affecting his digestion and causing trouble, so he gave us prescription for some meds to help with this.

I also mentioned how D has gotten weighed on Tuesday (kidney appt) and Friday (at hospital) and he weighed the same both those times as he did today-- 6.6kg. At this age he should be putting on about 100g per week. He didn't seem too immediately concerned with this, but is something to keep an eye on. Of course, I've also read often that breastfed babies are often slow to gain weight at about 4 months and that it's actually normal and not a big deal, but it could also be a sign of food malabsorption.

We made an appointment to see him again on Saturday morning to see how things are then. He did warn us that if D continues having blood in his poop we may need to check out his little GI tract, meaning shove a camera up his bum. We also have his 4 month check-up on Tuesday already scheduled. I must say, I'm really pleased with our pediatrician. I'm gonna be kinda sad to see him go when we leave. Hopefully we find someone else that we like as much in CA.

So the poor little guy fell asleep on the car ride home from the appointment and is still sleeping now-- that's over an hour so far. He had a pretty traumatic day of it, since they had to take blood from him which meant holding him down on a table as he screamed his head off, and he seems to deal with those traumas by sleeping (noticed this when he slept all day long the day after being admitted for his UTI, and getting poked and prodded by all sorts of needles as we tried to figure out what was wrong with him). He's also snoring somewhat.

In about a half hour we'll be leaving to go to the mall, so I can get my hair cut and we can do some grocery shopping before Jennie and her mom get here for the weekend, and can also pick up D's meds. I wonder if he'll wake up to eat before then...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I kinda feel bad for our pediatrician...

We have an appointment with our pediatrician tomorrow at noon, and I've got a pretty long laundry list of stuff to ask him about:

- The poops with the blood in them (thursday, friday monday, tuesday, a little today). BTW we still haven't heard back from the hospital with any results from the tests they ran, I guess that means they didn't find anything... which leads me to think it's likely a food allergy?

- His increased fussiness, which could be related to a food allergy, or to teething. He started up with more drooling and gum gnashing today, which he hadn't been doing as much this week.

- His right eye has had some goop in it each day the past few days, and today has looked slightly red.

- BTW his temperature is slightly high (99.5F yesterday, 100.0F today-- not quite a fever, but not normal baseline, either). Teething? Infection of some type?

- He's been spitting up more than he used to, about once (or more) after every feeding, though a lot of the time he just kinda spits up in his mouth so I hear it but don't see it (I know, gross.... but I already mentioned his poops in this post so I guess etiquette about mentioning bodily fluids already went out the window). He also sometimes gets really upset when feeding, and tends to spit up more after that, which could be some acid reflux or just swallowing air.

- He didn't do it today, but almost every other day the past few weeks he's had at least one nap at which he has a hard time staying asleep (wakes up after 5-10 mins, even though he's exhausted and will usually go back to sleep whithin minutes of me picking him up again). Could be somehow related to one of the above problems, could be completely random baby behavior.

Perhaps I should've booked 2 appointments back to back...

In other news, I have an appointment to get my hair-cut tomorrow afternoon. Which means I get to go pay way too much for a fun magazine and then sit for 30 minutes, uninterrupted, getting to read it while someone makes my hair presentable again. I'm pretty excited about this. (It's the small pleasures in life...)

Oh, I also have a date with some girlfriends to go see the Sex and The City movie on Tuesday night. I AM SO PSYCHED. I kinda feel bad for Zach, b/c he could potentially have a pretty disastrous evening-- we're still unsure how D will do with being given a bottle (haven't tried in a week or 2, I'm kinda hoping that with me out of the house and not having had one in a while he'll decide it's not so bad after all?). Oh, and his 4 month check-up will be that day. At which he'll get his second round of vaccines. But you know what? I'm also quite excited. Especially since the girls are getting together for drinks beforehand and Zach insisted I go meet them for that as well, and since I'll be at the movie after and won't need to nurse for hours I can actually have a cocktail. ( Again, small pleasures.) But for someone who's hardly indulged in more than a half-glass of wine sipped over the course of several hours in a good year, it'll be kind of a nice treat.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Uh oh...

So I keep reading about this supposed 4 month wakeful period. And I have to tell you, I'm kinda dreading next month. At first I thought (hoped) maybe it was a myth, just selective remembering of people who had babies that didn't sleep well anyway. But I've read too many stories of it happening, and I'm wondering what's to come for us.

All the books say that the first 3 months are the worst, and that by 3-4 months baby should be sleeping through the night (or that at least things get better/easier). Why do none of them mention this 4 month thing??

Maybe D will skip it...

Aaaaaahhhh... (sigh of relief)

Ok, so after writing yesterday's post (after a particularly bad nap experience in the morning) the rest of the day didn't go too badly. The biggest surprise came at night-- Donovan, who's been going to bed at 10pm lately (refusing to fall asleep or stay asleep any earlier than that) actually went to bed at 8:20pm! He was due for a nap and I figured, "What the heck, it'll probably end disastrously but we'll try to make this bedtime..." so I went through the new bedtime routine I've started up in the last day or 2 and nursed him and he went to sleep. It was awesome.

He woke up kinda sorta fussing at 9pm and midnight, but just as I was about to go in and try to soothe him a bit I thought, "You know, he's not really crying, why don't I give him a few minutes and see what happens?" And to my utter shock and surprise, within about 5 minutes he'd gone back to sleep each time. He then woke up at 3am, by which time it'd been a while since he'd last eaten so I went ahead and fed him, and then again at 6:30am, after which he still went back to sleep for another hour. So instead of the 8-9 hrs of overnight sleep he's been getting by on lately, he got a good 10-11hrs last night. Woot! And, for the first morning in a while, he woke up happy at the end of it. =)

I also started a nap routine yesterday, and perhaps it's a combination of him "catching on" to that, or the good sleep last night, and possibly just random luck, he went to sleep in about 5 minutes for his first nap this morning. =)

And now to celebrate, how about some Donovan cuteness? =P

We've started playing "airplane" sometimes, where I put him up on my knees/shins in the air, and he seems to kinda love it.
phat cheeks
This last photo totally reminds me of the face that Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes) makes when looking at something gross. =P

Monday, May 26, 2008


Getting D to sleep has been getting increasingly frustrating. It's becoming such a fight each time. At least over the weekend Zach and I could tag-team it-- "You go get things started, if he's still screaming in 10 minutes I'll come up and relieve you."

I keep going through cycles every few days. I'll try nursing him to sleep at each naptime, which works ok for at least half of the time-- he'll go to sleep quickly and often stay asleep and we skip the whole fight, but sometimes he'll still be awake afterwards, or sometimes lately I think he gets drinking too fast and swallows some air and then he'll be crying even harder than before. But it at least makes some of the days' naps easier, except he won't always get a good feed in since he's falling asleep, so then he'll be hungry again when he wakes up, and in the end there will be parts of the day (if not most of the day) where we're nursing every hour.

So then I'll get tired of feeding him all the time so I'll switch to an eat-awake-sleep routine that I've heard so much about, and that will work really well for feedings (he'll eat well, go 2 hours-or sometimes close to 3- between feedings, etc) but then it's a struggle to get him down for naps and bed, so after a few days of that I'll give in and start nursing him to sleep again. And back and forth we go...

So, mommies, I'm looking for advice here. He doesn't take pacifiers, he doesn't like the rocking chair, I swaddle him and that helps him calm down (at least works better than not swaddling), etc. Any other ideas to try? I'm not too far off from trying the Ferber method of letting him cry it out for a few days...

ps- Part of the problem is also not being able to stay asleep once he's down. I'll spend 20+ mins walking with him and getting him to fall asleep, will set him down, and he'll seem fine (and sleeping) but then 2-5 mins later he wakes up screaming. Sometimes we do this over and over for up to an hour before he finally will sleep and take a normal nap (~45mins)-- and sometimes I just give up and we skip the nap altogether. He'll be so tired and fairly easy to get back to sleep when he does this. I don't know what could be waking him up so much, why he can't stay asleep.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Nice Day for a Swiss Wedding

Our neighbor's son's wedding was today. To mine and Zach's delight and surprise, we were invited. We'd met Jerome and his fiancee a few times, but certainly didn't consider ourselves close enough to be invited to the festivities. I think Michelle and Gerard might have asked to have us invited almost more for the cultural experience, you know, let the cute American couple get to see a Swiss wedding. ;)

I think we were both a bit worried about how the day would go, especially with D's volatile moods lately, but we figured we'd try it out and if nothing else, if defeated one can always retreat. We got ready in shifts, and while Zach was getting dressed I figured I'd put D in his outfit-- I'd planned to use the outfit Michelle had given us as a baby gift (it's one of the few dressy clothes we have for him). Of course, as soon as I had him all dressed I picked him up off the changing table and I kid you not 2 seconds and he spit up ALL OVER both of us (good thing I hadn't changed yet). So that was that. We decided to then wait till the last minute before heading out the door, and change him again into the one other dressy baby outfit we had. We managed to all be dressed, ready, and out the door only 15-20 minutes after we'd planned. I consider that a pretty grand achievement.

D was already about an hour overdue on a nap, and thankfully he went right to sleep in the car with NO CRYING! AT ALL! So get got a good 30 minute nap or so on the way. The ceremony was in this teeny little church, it was adorable, and I hadn't thought of it before but I'm glad the weather was nice b/c there wasn't a lobby or sanctuary or anyplace outside the actual chapel for taking noisy babies. D did ok, but he started getting a bit squirmy and noisy after about 10 mins so Zach took him outside and spent the rest of the time chatting with a fellow dad who was entertaining his 18 month old (there were TONS of kids and babies at this wedding).

Swiss Wedding

The invitation hadn't had any info on the location for the "vin d'honeur" (here they have more of like a cocktail hour as your "reception" and then often have a dinner afterwards for a smaller group of people, which when you think of it makes so much more sense than the way weddings go in the US) other than that it was "a few kilometers away." At the ceremony we saw nothing with directions. We asked another person or 2 as we waited outside the church while the bride and groom greeted people and took some pictures, and they didn't know where the place was either. We quickly gathered that we were all to follow the bride and groom's car and form a big caravan to the reception location. Each car was given a small bouquet of flowers to attach to the antennae (or other prominent spot) to make us more identifiable, and certain cars had a different type of ribbon which I assumed meant they knew where they were going. It's a cute idea, and it was fun b/c everyone was honking their horns really loud and everyone, I mean EVERYONE, on the streets and in passing cars were also honking and/or smiling and waving at the happy couple. It was really cute. However after one or 2 semi-busy roundabouts the caravan started getting separated so we had to pull over a few times to regroup, and it kinda got disorganized. It didn't help that it took a good 45 minutes to get to the place, and D was screaming for most of that time.

But eventually we got there, and pulled up to the Chateau d'Avully, and it was gorgeous. The reception was nice, we chatted with a few people, met a baby just 2 weeks older than D, people again made comments about how big our baby seems for his age-- one woman walked up and told me what a cute baby I had, and guessed he was 6 months old. D was in decent spirits most of the time, he got a bit fussy at one point and outright SCREAMED when I changed his diaper halfway through (luckily they'd pointed me to a separate room so I don't think we bothered anyone), but the rest of the time he was calm, looking around with that very serious look on his face.

Swiss Wedding

As we left I thought it would be cute to take a picture of D sitting on one of the canons on the castle wall. Um, he apparently did not agree. Started screaming immediately. Oh well. He fell asleep on the car ride back, a very nice blessing, then we got home and he played happily and wasn't too difficult to get down for the night at 10pm. We'll see how the rest of the night goes...

I made my baby cry

I'd meant for this entry to be more of a fun description of a unique cultural experience, instead it feels like I kinda just regurgitated the day in a manner that might not be the prettiest or most interesting... but I'm also tired and if I don't record it now I'm not sure I'll get around to it again later. Ah, well. Perhaps the rest of our pictures and tell a better story...

Friday, May 23, 2008


So we went, we waited, they asked lots of questions, D was surprisingly happy and calm the whole time, he had another poopy diaper with some blood in it (the poop also looked kinda green, mean anything?) while we were there, they took a sample and are running some tests, told us they'd get back to us with the results in about 3 days, then sent us home with instructions to come back if he develops weird symptoms or has another bloody poop. Which seems kinda odd since his last 2 poops have had blood, and I don't see any reason why the next one won't have some as well.

They also told us to have our pediatrician check him out sometime next week, so I'll be calling in the morning to try to set up that appointment.

My guess is he's either developed some sort of food allergy (dairy?) that he's getting through my milk, or his digestive system has just gotten all out of whack thanks to the antibiotics. I think I have some more googling to do, but I think I'm gonna cut dairy out and see how that goes. Unfortunately from what I've read that can sometimes take a good couple weeks before it makes a difference, but we'll see. I think the doctor there was leaning towards option #2, but didn't seem to have many answers.

At least they sent us back home again. I did not want to spend another night at that place.

You have GOT to be kidding me

This past week has been rough. I haven't felt like this since the weeks after D was born. My guess is it's combination of a lot of things-- Zach being away for 5 days, leaving me alone with D 24/7 for the longest stretch of time yet; D being super fussy thanks to what I assume are new teeth coming in; my period coming back meaning my hormones may be all whacky all over again.

Yesterday was one of the worst days. Zach stayed home in the morning, and everything was pretty calm. Then he went to work, and around 3:30pm D started getting fussy... and spent the next 4-5 hours screaming off and on. I gave him Tylenol twice, tried taking him on a walk (didn't even make it outside the gate), barely got him to take 1 decent nap in a span of 6 hours. He finally went to bed at 9pm, both of us exhausted and near tears. Brief moments of happiness and smiles from D help restore me a little, but I am feeling my energy and patience reserves dipping to low levels.

Zach has been planning to come home early this afternoon. I've been very much looking forward to getting just a bit of a break, letting him take D for a while while I napped, or read, or did anything at all that didn't involve trying to soothe a crying baby.

Last night D had a dirty diaper that had small traces of fresh, red blood in the poop. IT was 6pm, too late to call the pediatrician's office, so I looked up some info online and figured that it wasn't an emergency, I'd just call in the morning to see about it getting checked out. Early this morning he had 2 normal poops, but then about an hour ago had another one with some blood in it. So I called, and they said that unfortunately our dr couldn't fit us in today, but he felt that this needs to get checked out so he suggested that we take D to the children's hospital to get it looked at there.

And so, this afternoon, when Zach comes home from work, during the time I had hoped to get a much-needed break, we will instead be once again taking D to the hospital. I wonder at what point do they start to recognize us by sight when they see us walk in?

I don't know what to think of all this. Looking at the usual causes for bloody poops, I know it's not from a diaper rash, and he hasn't been constipated. It could be from a milk protein allergy, but would that show up so late? (I've been eating plenty of dairy the whole time that I've been breastfeeding him) It could be from his little system finally showing signs of stress from having taken antibiotics for the past 6 weeks (which we finally were able to stop a day or 2 ago). And of course it makes me question yet again why he's been so difficult lately-- I thought it was teething, but might he be feeling bad b/c of something else? What are they gonna do at the hospital? What will they check, and how long will it take? Are we gonna have to stay for hours, overnight, days? Hopefully not, but since he's still so little they always seem to be on the cautious side (which is good, obviously) and I just don't know what that will mean. I guess we'll find out.

I should go get dressed while the little one is still sleeping. Who knows what the rest of the day will bring.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Things I'm Looking Forward to About Moving Back to California:

  • Shopping at Target. ON A SUNDAY. And buying diapers, cute and inexpensive clothes for Donovan, my favorite Neutrogena sunscreen, and cheap makeup that's actually cheap.
  • Method. 'Nuff said.
  • Farmers markets. Especially our old ritual of meeting up with friends at the market, working our way throug hthe stands, then going for a coffee down the block afterwards (too bad we won't get there in time for the summer strawberry season).
  • Donovan playdates with Audrey, Dana, and Sophia (goodness, he's gonna have his own little harem already!).
  • Mexican food. And Thai. And In-N-Out Burger. And sushi (that one's for Zach).
  • I know I'll miss the bread here, but it'll also be nice to have sliced bread again. And the stuff from the Acme stand at farmers markets wasn't bad, either.
  • Buying a gargantuan bag of kettle corn at the farmer's market, and eating through it all week long.
  • Krispy Kreme! (though will have to indulge less, now that we'll have an impressionable young mind- and body- to think of...)
  • Wanna go visit the grandparents for a weekend? Sure, it's only a 3 hr flight!
  • Rain? What's that?
  • Being able to use my cell phone whenever, without worrying about how much it costs.
  • Even better-- not having to worry about what time it is where when wanting to call my mom, sister, best friend, etc, back in the states.
  • Not having to worry about which language will be spoken where when dealing with health stuff for Donovan (or any of us, for that matter).
  • A clothes dryer. With lint catcher.
  • The public library.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

His little bladder got an A+

So I am VERY happy to announce that D DOES NOT HAVE VUR. Woot! He had the screening Monday, and we went to see a doctor yesterday to discuss the results, and he's all clear, meaning that after this morning's dose I can stop giving him the antibiotic (they wanted me to give him these last few doses to keep him protected against having caught any bacteria from when they had to catheter him on Monday). YAY!!!!! The last thing we'll need to check, and a couple of doctors and our pediatrician have made it clear that this is more of a formality than anything to draw real concern, is that in September we'll have to take him in to make sure his UTI didn't cause any scarring in his kidneys.

Despite getting a tube stuck up his little penis and having an x-ray machine check out his insides as he peed radioactive fluid, D actually had a pretty fabulous day on Monday. He was happy, smiley, giggly, etc. It was really really really nice for both of us to get a bit of a break there and have a fun day together. Yesterday he was back to feeling a bit less-than-stellar. He spent some time in the morning chewing on one of the teether toys I got him (although his hand control isn't good enough yet so I had to hold it in his mouth the whole time) and at other times I'd stick my finger in his mouth and he'd bite down so hard his whole body would go stiff, I'm taking that as a sign that his gums are still bugging him. And then we had to go to the hospital for the dr appointment, and he was happy the first 10-15 minutes and then he started screaming, loud, piercing shrieks, and kept it up the rest of the way (and of course it was 4:30pm so we were dealing with traffic... and the infamous Geneva lets-make-cars-be-as-slow-as-possible-driving-through-town roads). =( He calmed down once we got there, I didn't even bother bringing the stroller inside and just held him and he was pretty happy like that most of the time. Until we had to come home. And then he started shrieking all over again, and I felt so bad for him b/c I think his throat may have gone a little hoarse from it all. Worst part is being in the car, where I can't even reach him (I can stroke the top of his head, that's it) so I just had to sit there and listen (I knew stopping anywhere to try to soothe him would only result in him screaming all over again as soon as we got back in the car), and get us home as quickly as I could. When we got home he was so exhausted, I got him down for a nap and he slept for a good hour (usually naps 45mins, and lately he's been going more like 30mins a lot of the time), then woke up to eat and went back down right away again at 9pm.

So far this morning he's seemed ok, and he just now fell asleep all on his own for his morning nap, something he used to do all the time but hasn't in days. I'm taking this as a good sign. Unfortunately nights have not been so good. Well, ok, so they are-- feedings take all of about 20 minutes and if he's still awake at the end of it I just have to put him down and he'll go back to sleep on his own, which is fabulous and wonderful. However he's barely been sleeping 4 hour stretches lately. Last night it was 4hrs/2hrs/3hrs, the night before 2.5hrs/5hrs/2hrs. It's been like this since Friday. I'm assuming this is our new "norm" for the while, as maybe if I assume this is the way it's gonna be again he'll decide to prove me wrong and surprise me? One can hope...

Glamour came in the mail a couple days ago. There's a blurb in there somewhere about a study that showed that even 3 nights of interrupted sleep can seriously affect your ability to think clearly. That made me laugh. What do you think THREE MONTHS' WORTH of interrupted sleep does?

The Thing About Breastfeeding...

The thing about breastfeeding is, it can feel like both a blessing and a curse.

It is wonderful in so many ways-- you feel so incredible to be able to feed and nourish this little person and watch them grow, thanks to you. It also feels pretty great knowing that you are giving them the best food they could get, that you are providing them and yourself, too) with so many great benefits. No matter how busy the day is, you have pre-scheduled cuddle sessions all day long. You bond. There's all the conveniences along with it, like not having to wash bottles everyday, being able to simply unlatch your bra to feed them when they're hungry (as opposed to listening to them scream while you mix formula and heat the bottle), not having to bring bottles with you when you go out. And then there's the way it sets you apart from everyone else in your baby's world. I remember in those early days, when I was so tired and overwhelmed, and the one thing I knew I could do for my son that no one else could was to feed him. If I hadn't had that, I think I would have immediately gone into personal crisis mode, feeling like there was nothing special about me, as opposed to, say, my mom who seemed to deal with him so well when I felt clueless.

But it can also feel so limiting at times. Yes, it made me feel special in those early days to be the one to nourish him-- I also at times felt trapped, knowing that I HAD to be the one to feed him, that I had no choice but to wake up and feed him whenever he needed it, day or night. Sure, Zach helped sometimes with night feedings but I still would have to get up and pump, so even though I'd get to bed a glorious 20 minutes earlier than otherwise, I was still waking up every 2-3 hours. D hasn't been taking bottles at all lately, and frankly I'm not sure I want to keep on trying with him. Maybe by giving him bottles with water, but when I have a few minutes to myself each day do I really want to spend them pumping milk (and then scalding it on the stove so it lasts, and washing all the pumping equipment) that will probably end up being poured down the sink anyway? I don't know if it's worth it at this point. Even if he did, I could get a few hours away if I wanted to... but I won't be able to get away overnight for probably at least a year. I may get a break here and there, but in the end I'm still at his beck and call every 1-2 hours (yes, he's eating that often these days) and there's no telling when that will ease up.

Most of the time, day to day, the pros greatly outweigh the cons. I'm glad and proud to be able to breastfeed him, and while in that first month I often was tempted by sleep deprivation and seriously sore nipples to give in and go with the canned stuff, I KNOW this is the right thing for us both, and have no intention of stopping anytime soon. But every so often the weight of this responsibility will push down on my shoulders a bit, and I'll dream a bit about the days when I don't have to wear nursing bras, and will have a bit more freedom to spend some time on my own.

Of course I bet by the time we get there, I'll look back on these days and miss our bi-hourly cuddle sessions terribly.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Babies Are Hard to Keep Clean

D got his first bath at about 10 days old, just after his umbilical cord stump fell off. He's been getting baths every few days ever since then, and I'd thought we'd been doing a pretty good job on keeping him all fresh and clean...

...That is until we went to the hospital for his UTI. Since he had to have that big cast-thing on his arm to keep the IV in place, he was wearing pj's but with the one arm left out (kinda toga-style). And when I went to nurse him the first time and he was laying with the exposed arm up towards me and he lifted his arm above his head, I suddenly saw all this nasty, stinky CRUD (old skin cells?) stuck to his armpit folds. I was MORTIFIED. I felt like the world's worst mother, b/c who forgets to clean her baby's armpits for TWO MONTHS? Truth is, it had never even occurred to me. He spent so little time not clothed, and when he was naked (like in the bath) he held his arms firmly down so that I couldn't really get at his pits easily anyway, and I just never thought much of it.

So, lesson learned. I now make sure to ALWAYS wash his underarms well. Once again, I thought I was doing quite well...

...And then a couple weeks ago I was again nursing him and noticed the same stinky crud in the folds right behind his ears. And then later, in the skin fold under his chin (the one I never ever see, thanks to his double-chin, unless he's holding his head up during tummy time, or sometimes while nursing).

I think I've discovered most of his hidden crevices by now, but I wouldn't be surprised if I find another one next week. This doesn't even cover all the fuzz (from his clothes? the carpet? dust?) he accumulates between his fingers and toes, and in the folds of his palm. I try to wrestle his hand open about once a day to get the little fuzzies out... you'll be amazed at how much he collects, so quickly.

So, um, yeah. Babies are kinda hard to keep clean.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Things That Make Me Go, "Hmmm, I think I may have the cutest baby ever."

  • When I go to get him after he's just woken up and he sees me, and smiles.
  • That super-serious, contemplative look he gets on his face when I blow raspberries on his tummy.
  • The way his arms seem to give me a big hug when he's nursing-- bottom arm tucked around my side, top arm resting on my chest, usually clutching at my shirt.
  • The faces he makes when he first falls asleep, especially when he smiles (or even giggles!) in his sleep.
  • When he quiets down and stares intently at my face when I sing to him.
  • When he laughs.
  • When he smiles at his reflection in a mirror. Or at mine.
  • When we sit down to nurse and he starts open-mouthed dive-bombing at my boob before I've even gotten a chance to lift up my shirt.
  • The little grunting/moaning sound he makes when he latches on after he's been really hungry.
  • The sound he makes when he yawns.
  • The way he clasps his hands together, as if plotting some evil plan.
  • The way his (rapidly thinning) hair stands straight up when it's freshly washed.
  • When we suddenly go into a much darker place (up the stairs, into a tunnel when driving in the car) and his eyes get SUPER WIDE.
  • The sounds he make when he coos and babbles.

To be continued....

Gives new meaning to the phrase "The jaws of life"

Yesterday, was rough.

I am about 90% sure that D is teething. I had hoped we wouldn't have to deal with this for a while yet. Soon we'll have to worry about cleaning his teeth, biting and breastfeeding (ouch... and my nipples are already feeling a bit sore from him occasionally gumming them while feeding), etc... But before I start worrying about all that, we have to get through this current hurdle first.

It's been about a week that his sleep has been weird and he's been kinda weirdly fussy at times. Yesterday, though, was the worst day so far. Getting him to sleep was a bit easier, as I'm now trying to time things out so I nurse him right before bed/nap times, so he either falls asleep eating or is relaxed enough from nursing that he falls asleep fairly easily (read: little or no screaming) afterwards. MUCH better. However, he's been pretty miserable when awake. Yesterday he hardly was able to spend any time just hanging out playing, I was holding him most of the time b/c he'd scream otherwise, and then he'd cram his fingers/hand in his mouth and start gnawing frantically and seem to feel a bit better. It was exhausting, but I just felt so bad for the little guy.

I think I can see two little spots on his lower gum where the teeth might be coming up, but they haven't broken through yet and the really depressing part is that I keep reading that you can have teething symptoms for months (MONTHS!!!) before you actually see any teeth. =( I'm gonna see how today and tomorrow go, and if he's still miserable on Monday I might call our pediatrician to get him checked out, make sure there's nothing else bothering him.

He seems to be feeling a bit better today. We got him some teething rings this morning, hopefully those help, though the best thing seems to be his own fingers.

Zach leaves this afternoon for a work trip. He won't be back till Wednesday night. The timing kind of, um, SUCKS. To top it off he's been on the phone constantly since yesterday afternoon dealing with some would-be-humorous-if-it-weren't-so-annoying problems with the set-up for the show he's helping with. This should be his last long trip, any that come after this should be 1 night, tops.

On a lighter note... last night we had dinner next door with 2 of Zach's visiting coworkers, and our friends Bob, Aruna, and their daughter Jules. They hadn't seen D in a good month or 2. It was fun to see them, and D behaved well enough (I'd given him some baby tylenol earlier, and Zach and I traded off holding him through dinner). I'm also still very excited to be wearing more of my old clothes-- funny how that helps me feel a bit more like my old self.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Small Triumphs

This morning, while Zach took Donovan downstairs for a bit to give me some time to get dressed, I pulled some of my pre-pregnancy summer clothes out of the box where they've been hiding. I saw my favorite pair of cut-off capri jeans in there and thought to myself, maybe, just maybe, b/c they're super stretchy denim, they might just fit.

And guess what? THEY DID.

So then I thought, well, maybe some of my other old jeans fit now, too... AND THEY DID!! Granted, they're pretty tight and there's a slight muffin-top problem, but I was able to BUTTON AND ZIP THEM UP, which even just a week or 2 ago had been impossible. Zach (loving and wonderful husband that he is) also brought up that, since I put all these pants away freshly washed, they're also at their tightest now and should fit better after a couple hours' worth of wear and stretching out.

This is exciting. =)

(You know what else is exciting? D fell asleep for his first morning nap in, like, 5 minutes, while nursing. No crying. No pacing the room with him for half an hour. No watching his eyes get droopy, then fling WIDE OPEN as he fights off sleep. No clue if it'll be that easy at other times today, but gosh was that nice...).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

astonishing, incomprehensible, amazing, incredible

I'm not going to talk about the fact that it took nearly 2 hours to get D to go to sleep tonight.

Nor am I going to talk about the $300 bill we received in the mail today, a charge for unclogging our shower drain, which our landlord will not cover.

Instead, I am going to marvel over the astonishing, incomprehensible, amazing, and just plain incredible fact that something that a year ago looked approximately like this:

Has, in just one year, grown into this:


Even more amazing? That all that growth is because of me. It was my body that nourished that little cell and allowed it to grow into an embryo, then a fetus, then a little baby, and it is now the food my body produces just for him that's allowed him to go from an 8lb newborn to a 13lb smiley, giggly (and at times screamy) adorable little baby boy.

That knowledge is empowering, and humbling, at the same time. It blows my mind that something could grow and develop and change so quickly. He is so fun to play with, so wonderful are those smiles and giggles, and I can't wait to take him back to Texas to show him off and meet his family.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

CUTEST VIDEO IN THE WHOLE WORLD... oh, and a cow fight

I started giving D gripe water today. Whether it's because of this or just random, he was a bit better today. Zach thought it might've been his tummy bugging him, and he did let out some good burps today which he doesn't always do. So who knows.

In other news, we got a flyer in the mail today that ours and our neighboring village are going to be hosting a COW FIGHT this summer!!! (yes, seriously) We'd heard about these soon after moving, and have been wanting to see one but never got around to it. I had just about given up on getting to partake in that Swiss cultural tradition, but now we'll have one in our own little village!!! WOOT!

Wait.. what?

I just watched the segment of The Today Show where they interviewed Heather Armstrong, and as I watched I thought to myself, "Wait, I thought Kathy Lee Gifford was doing this interview?" And then I realized the blond woman on the right who looked like she's had more plastic surgery than Joan Rivers WAS Kathy Lee Gifford.

Um, holy crap. When did she start looking like a completely different person???

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


When D is happy, he is SO happy-- all smiles, we even got some laughs today! He'll be so cute and fun, and will be able to hang out with his toys and entertain himself, and just be so great.

When he isn't happy, though... Along with all those smiles, there was a lot of screaming today. High-pitched shrieking. At the changing table, while feeding, when trying to go to sleep, etc. I'm really glad Zach worked from home today, without his help today would have been a bit of a nightmare. I'm also worried about how the following days will go, and next week when he's gone on a business trip (his longest since the birth, btw, 4 nights I think?).

After getting many suggestions that perhaps D is teething, I looked up some info on the symptoms today. He does have several of them (fussiness, trouble sleeping, drooling, wanting to put everything in his mouth, clamping down on my nipples occasionally with his gums...). Of course many of these symptoms (like with so many baby-related issues) could be teething, or could be something else, or could just be completely random. And until he either gets better or we see some teeth, we will remain clueless.

We were supposed to have his follow-up screening and consultation with a nephrologist today at the hospital, to check on if he has VUR. If he's in the clear, we can stop giving him the antibiotic. If he isn't, we'll need to keep giving it to him daily till he outgrows the reflux... which could be years. Unfortunately the hospital never sent us anything telling us the time of the appointment, and I completely forgot to call until this weekend, yesterday was a holiday so the offices were closed, and when I finally called this morning I caught the part about the consultation being at 5pm, but not that we needed to go in for the test separately, at 10am. Frustrating, to say the least. So we went at 5pm, realized the mix-up, and now we have to wait till next week-- the screening on Monday, the consultation on Tuesday. Zach will be in Prague for work.

I need to get better at taking advantage of his naps and sleep a bit, myself. I am exhausted.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I promise I'll stop being a whiney-butt soon

I realized today that if we move back to the US in November, that means we only have about 6 months left here.

And then I realized that, um, we're gonna have to move. And what an incredibly huge pain in the ass the process is bound to be. And OH MY GOD maybe we should stay longer just to put that off longer...

It wasn't too bad moving out here, since it was just the 2 of us. And with just the 2 of us, it's not a big deal to spend one month in our old apartment with hardly any furniture in it, and another month in our new house with hardly any furniture in it, while waiting for our stuff to get shipped over. And spending four weekends in a row doing not much more than getting ourselves and our home set up. And going around to buy a car. Ect, etc, etc.

Then you throw a baby into the mix. Right.

Our loosely-thought-of plan is to have the movers come hopefully the day before we'd fly and pack up the house and start the shipment. That will take 2 months to arrive. I don't know if we'll want to take all our furniture, we'll probably have stuff we'll want to get rid of, and basically anything that plugs into a wall and isn't dual voltage will need to go. We'll also need to sell the car and Zach's scooter, preferrably also well-timed so we don't have to rent a car for long. We hopefully stay that last night at a hotel or friend's place, then fly to California (which will be a whole other mess-- we'll want bulkhead seats to fly with Donovan, but will need to have one of us-- or a helpful friend/family member?- sit with Sierra b/c the cat will need to go under the seat in front of the passenger) and Zach's company should be getting us a corporate apartment until our stuff arrives. Which will hopefully accept cats, and that Sierra won't get all whacked out by. Then we'll need to find an apartment, buy 2 cars, find a pediatrician (hopefully some local mommy friends will be able to help us out with that one), etc etc etc. While taking care of a 9-month-old, who may himself be all whacked out by all the changes.

I am kind of afraid.

Hopefully we'll be able to enlist help from people to make the process a bit less overwhelming. We'll see. I will say that, again, I really am looking forward to going back. Switzerland has been great, but I'm looking forward to getting to hang out with our friends, meet their own babies, go to farmer's markets, enjoy the glorious California weather, GO TO TARGET, be able to buy things for Donovan without it becoming a huge production involving shipping items to multiple addresses and taking weeks to arrive. Not to mention being a mere 3hr flight away from family (or even just an hour drive, depending on if Jen's still in SF!!).

In other news... D's been having trouble staying asleep. We gave up and skipped his last nap of the day b/c he kept waking up within minutes of being put down, and it took a while to get him down at bedtime, too. He'll be so sleepy, falling asleep almost as soon as I pick him back up, but then waking up as soon as, or within 10 minutes of, putting him in his bed. I'm wondering if he's having trouble adjusting to sleeping in his own room full-time? I don't know. He still seems to be in a pretty good mood most of the time, so I guess he's ok, but especially after reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child I'm all freaked out about him becoming sleep deprived. Though perhaps I should just follow the advice from Criss and Cherise and stop reading the books. Information overload may be part of the problem here...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

So frustrated

I'm frustrated b/c D's sleep has been all over the place lately. We've had a few nights of sleeping 9 hrs at a time, and just as many nights of him waking up 1 hour after he went to bed, waking up crying every 10 minutes after that, then maybe going to sleep a good hour or 2 after, sleeping anywhere from 3-7hrs afterwards. As for naps, yesterday he fell asleep completely on his own for his first 2 naps of the day, then in the afternoon he got super crabby and couldn't stay asleep for one of his naps. I keep reading that babies his age are supposed to have 2-3 naps during the day (totaling 3-5hrs of sleep), we're still doing 5-7 45-min naps, which is exhausting b/c it seems I'm constantly having to go get him back to sleep for his next nap... and my usual tricks are not working as well as they used to.

I'm frustrated at myself for allowing him to not get good naps this afternoon as we spent time with some friends (or yesterday as we went on a walk during one of his naptimes), possibly contributing to the above problem.

I'm frustrated b/c his eating is all over the place, too. Sometimes he'll want to nurse, but won't take hardly any milk at all. Other times he'll nurse once an hour (like the past 4 hours), drinking a good bit each time. I'm pretty sure it's not a growth spurt, b/c his eating's been weird for weeks now. I also don't think it's teething b/c while he seems to have a strong need to have stuff in his mouth now, he doesn't seem to be trying to put pressure on his gums or anything. He also won't really take a pacifier, and he's still not taking bottles (got him to drink an ounce the other day, but when I tried again yesterday he refused... and completely forgot to try again today, setting us back further).

And then I'm frustrated for feeling so down about him. Sure, he's having some crappy sleep. But he's not waking up every 2 hrs at night like many other babies his age still do. When he does keep waking up at night, if I give up and bring him down to play he'll be happy and smiley (even though 2 mins before when he woke he was screaming). Overall he tends to be calm and in a good mood. And he's healthy and normal. Just earlier today we were walking around the village and passed a family walking with 2 of their adult children who seemed to have significant mental retardation. I feel like a spoiled brat complaining about these little things with D when we clearly have a healthy, beautiful, developmentally-normal, wonderful, happy baby.

I think I'm in one of my moods again, even though I had a really nice time today hanging out with a friend and her baby. I hate when I get like this, b/c I know these "problems" with D aren't that bad, but they feel so sh!tty when I'm in this mood. And I'm sure it doesn't help him any.

Save the Apes!

My friend's sister is behind this manifesto. Donovan and I have both signed. Now I'm passing it along to you:

Tropical forests are disappearing at an accelerating pace and with them go the last populations of great apes. Knowledgeable specialists working with great apes and/or nature conservation are unanimous in their thinking: if we do nothing, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos will have disappeared by the middle of the 21st century. For orang-utans, the situation is even more dramatic: in twenty years time, they may exist only in zoos.

Today, urgent action is needed in order to Save the Great Apes !!!

To sign:

Saturday, May 10, 2008


care bear/ day95

I heard about Project365 I think a few months before D was born, and I thought it was a fun idea but not something I could see myself committing to once the kiddo was born. Then today I was browsing new groups on flickr and found one called 365 Baby whereupon one is challenged to take a picture of your baby every day for a year. Seeing as I'm already taking pictures of D most days of the week, I figured this would be a fun, somewhat more realistic project to take on. And, to make it more special, I went back and started day 1 with the day D was born, so in the end it'll be the first 365 (er, mostly) days of his life. It's fun to look back at one picture for each day and see how quickly he's grown and changed already. I also was amazed at how the pictures really are all different-- I was afraid I'd start gathering the photos and they'd all the more or less the same baby shot. ; )

In other news, it looks like a move-back date for us is going to shape up to be around Nov 1st of this year. And I feel bad saying this b/c I really have loved living here and it's been great, but I'm also feeling ready to go back. I know we'd have a great life here, too, and we're blessed to have these multiple, incredible opportunities in front of us. But I keep finding myself being frustrated by issues like, well, trying to shop for baby bottles for D and all I have available is the polycarbonate bottles in stores here, or paying $$$ to have someone ship bottles to me b/c I can't seem to find online retailers that will ship to Switzerland. That, and I'm really starting to look forward to being close to family, and our California friends, many of whom have/are having babies that will make great little playmates for D. Of course, I know there will also be plenty of things that I'll miss about here, too. Like Frigor chocolate.

D is sleeping in his own room tonight, for the 2nd time. Last night didn't go that great, but I don't know how much of that had much to do with the room change as his night sleeping has been, er, erratic lately. We'll see how tonight goes. Zach spent 4 hrs at Ikea today getting some last things for his room, hopefully they'll be assembled and in place by the end of the weekend. It's a good thing babies stay immobile for several months after birth. ; )

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Falling more and more in love with this face every day


As anyone with access to my flickr acct can see, I spend a good bit of time trying to capture the different faces and expressions and overall UNBELIEVABLE CUTENESS of Donovan. However there's always more cute moments that I wish I could capture, but must instead store in memory as best I can. Like the look on his face when he sees he's about to get the boob. Or the little grunt/groan/moan noise he makes as he latches on and starts sucking furiously. Or his face when he falls asleep (in my arms or right after eating), bottom lip all tucked in under his top lip, cheeks puffed out to their fullest roundness. I look at him in these moments and find myself in awe of how incredibly beautiful he is.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


So we went to the hearing appt this morning. D had no interest in eating when he woke up from his nap at 9am (his usual 2 hr feeding) and started screaming when I even tried to offer him the breast, but other than that he seemed fairly happy. He started getting fussy again when we got to the hospital ofr the ppt, but was fine if I took him out of the stroller and held him. At 10 I tried feeding him again (had gone 3 hrs at this point) and he again screamed at me for it. He finally ate some (10:20ish) while the doctor was checking his ears (perfectly normal, btw). It was only a quick feeding so I tried feeding him some more out in the waiting area, resulted in more screaming. He then fell asleep as we were walking out the door, so I headed to a nearby baby store and shopped for a bit, trying to give him a decent nap before heading back home.

We got home around noonish, he ate, then he went down for a nap at 1:15. Woke up crying at 2pm (usually he's fairly happy after naps, though this mid-day one he sometimes wakes up crying... I'm wondering if he's needing to start taking longer naps but can't get himself there yet). He ate, fell asleep on me and slept till 3:30. When he woke up crying.

He spent 30 minutes going from hysterical red-faced screaming, to smiling at me and babbling happily, and back again. At one point he was screaming and smiling at me at the same time. I finally just tried to put him back to sleep, which is where he is currently.

I'm guessing a lot of this is the crap sleep he got last night. But it also seemed like yesterday he sometimes would cry for no apparent reason, and then be happy and fine again (which, whatever was causing that may have caused the crap nighttime sleep as well?). I don't really know what's going on-- Is he still recovering from the weekend? Is he coming down with something? Is he reacting to the change in sleeping arrangement (since he's been napping more and more in his own room the past few days-- naps seem to be just as good/long in either room)? His 3 month check-up is tomorrow and I kinda want to ask his pediatrician about this, but I don't even know how to formulate a reasonable question other than, "He's being kinda wierd."


In other news, I got my package from Amazon in the mail today and started reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child while D slept on me earlier (I also have the Ferber book). I'm looking through the table of contents and reading the first chapter, and I can't wait to read it all as it certainly looks like a very promising and helpful book.

I also think I'm going to start a bit of a mom journal, just notes from each day that I write down at night so I can remember things better. Mostly behavioral, as I keep finding myself thinking about how D's been doing this or that, eating well or poorly, and can't objectively remember how long it's really been going on, when we go on outings (and how he seems to react to them), etc. I'm hoping having a written record will help, so I can look back and see whether he really has been cranky all week or if it just feels that way and it's only really been 2 days.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

something's not right here...

There's a little baby happily babbling away on his playmat right now.

A little baby who's supposed to be asleep.

Who was put down for bed at 9pm. And then woke up at 10. And has fallen back asleep at least 3-4 times, only to wake up crying 5 minutes later.

I finally gave up, brought him downstairs, and he's now, as mentioned above, playing and as happy as can be. This might be the happiest he's been all day, actually.

At least he's happy and not screaming.

We'll see how long that lasts...

EDIT: (Wed 8:17am) He finally did got to sleep at 12:30am. Then woke up at 4, and again at 7. He's now taking his morning nap (which, oddly, is the one nap of the day where he falls asleep all by himself, unswaddled... go figure). I keep finding myself making comments like "he's been kinda weird today," you know, as if there was such a thing as NORMAL behavior for him. He's still being kinda weird (see?) about his feedings (like wanting to eat every hour parts of yesterday) and I keep thinking it's a growth spurt, except do growth spurts last two whole weeks? I didn't think so.

So last night he got a grand total of about 6 hrs of overnight sleep, as opposed to his usual 8-10. And today (Wednesday) I have to take him into town to get a hearing test (totally routine, nothing to worry about) so whatever routine we've had is probably gonna get upset and, well, I'm trying to be optimistic but today might be rough. Esp since Zach's off on a one-day business trip today and won't be back till 10pm. Hopefully D will be asleep by then.

Monday, May 05, 2008



At first, I was kinda terrified of trying to Nurse In Public. It took a good month or more before I felt at all comfortable nursing D, even in the comfort of our own home, and then though of trying to perform what at the time still seemed like such a difficult task with the added stress of being out in public just freaked me out. I'm a HUGE proponent of women being able to feed their babies whenever and wherever they wish, so I was surprised at my need for privacy.

Eventually I started feeling a bit more comfortable with breastfeeding, and we started taking Donovan out a bit-- first just to people's houses. We had dinner with some friends and when D got hungry I went to the couch in the next room and nursed him in semi-privacy. I worried about D not eating well while we were out, about him fussing at the breast, about him pulling away often and exposing my nipples to the world. But that nursing session went well enough, and then I fed him a few more times in other friends' homes, and started feeling like I was getting the hang of it for the most part. I still brought my nursing cover most everywhere, even if I didn't always use it.

Then a few things happened to really bring me out of my shell. Zach made a comment about us being in Europe, and, well, bare boobs are everywhere when you go to the beach, so people here probably won't mind a bit of nip here and there on accident, right? I read one woman's manifesto to proudly breastfeeding indiscreetly in public, a blog post I wish I'd bookmarked but don't think I saved anywhere. Then we went into town with Zach's mom a few weeks ago and stopped in at Les Recyclables for a drink. D got hungry, and I wasn't really wanting to deal with the extra fabric of the nursing cover. I looked around this cafe that, when I first discovered it, had thought it such a 20-something hipster hangout, yet realized now that (thanks to it being non-smoking) it's actually quite the family-friendly establishment. Looking at the numerous young children at the tables near ours, I went ahead and fed my son, uncovered. Sure, I tried to make the unhook-nursing-tank-shove-boob-in-mouth maneuver as quickly as possible, but I also didn't freak too much about if anyone happened to see anything. I was rewarded by encouraging smiles from the families sitting nearby (including a very interested toddler boy who started most of the time that I was nursing!).

And then came our trip to Avignon. Where we spent much time walking around with D in the open, where prams and strollers were everywhere in sight, where the best way we could have a sit-down dinner was to pop D on the boob when he got hungry (and sometimes let him fall asleep that way). And now, I practically consider myself a pro. Sure, he cried at me some during/after a feeding. And I'm sure a few onlookers got a peek at my nipples (though when you think about how big D's head is, he really does do a pretty good job of keeping me covered). But as I get to feeling more comfortable and self-assured as a mother, I'm getting back to that sense of, well, why wouldn't I feed my kid wherever needed? And is it really necessary to cover up?

It's helped A LOT that I've only ever noticed those warm, encouraging looks while nursing in public. Maybe I've gotten some dirty ones, but I haven't noticed those. I also really really love using my nursing tanks, as they make it much easier to feed him with less hassle (funny, I don't mind baring my breasts to feed him but don't want to have to lift my shirt to show my tummy...). Thinking about it, I wonder if I'll feel the need to use a cover when D and I are in Texas. Will I get more dirty looks there? Will I feel as comfortable breastfeeding without needing to cover up? I don't know, and am honestly kinda curious to find out.

Maybe I have become one of those women, the moms who'll just do what they need to do, even if it's not publicly welcome, who'll get the annoyed looks from child-free people around them. I do admit that, yes, on a couple occasions Zach and I also changed D's diaper on the chair next to ours at an outdoor cafe after having eaten/drank something there (only wet diapers, btw, and really I'm going to avoid laying him down, even on a changing pad, on the floor of some nasty bathroom whenever I can). But maybe I don't really care anymore if I look weird to, or annoy, others in public. I'd rather have a happy baby, and, really, my guess is those around us will, too.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sur le Pont d'Avignon...

Zach and I packed pretty much everything Wednesday evening, trying to get everything as ready as possible for an early morning departure. We hoped to leave the house as close to 8am as reasonably feasable. After feedings, packing up the car, a few last-minute diaper changes, and a gas stop, we were on the road by 9:30 which I must say I'm pretty proud of. Donovan did well enough in the car, I sat in the back with him most of the way. With stops (and a little bit of traffic) we made the 3.5 hr drive in about 5.5hrs, which also doesn't seem too bad. It's a shame that D isn't magically lulled to sleep by the car like he used to (and also that he now refuses to take a pacifier for further calming) but all things considered he did pretty well in the car. I must say, French road stops, while not nearly as numerous as US ones, can be pretty nice. We stopped for lunch at a place that had horrible food, but great shaded grassy picnic areas.

So we arrived and parked, and as we were unloading the car at the public garage Zach realized he didn't have the address of the B&B where we were staying. He knew it was on the main square in front of the Palais des Papes (Popes' Palace), so it should be easy enough to find, right? Well, it wasn't so obvious. We woulda found it on our own eventually, but D was not in a great mood and so I was glad I'd reminded Zach to write down the phone number at least so we were able to call and get some help with finding the place. (I adore my husband, even if he isn't always so great with those "detail" things)
l'ombre du palais
Our room

The B&B was adorable. It's run by a grandma-type so we had no worries about having D with us, and she was very nice and interesting to talk to. There was a Brit named Garth staying in the room next to ours, we talked to him for a while that first day and he and Zach wound up spending some time together here and there throughout the weekend. The place is called A l'Ombre du Palais, and sure enough it's right by the Palais des Papes with a fantastic view from the terrace (and an even better one from the rooftop).

l'ombre du palais
View from the B&B's terrace

The palace was built in the 1300s and was home to 6 Popes. It's pretty darn impressive, though at the same time I couldn't help think of the gross decadence and, well, couldn't the popes have done better things with all that money? I know I shouldn't be surprised, I mean look at all the incredibly overly ornate Catholic churches around the world, but I guess it just doesn't seem very Christian (or at least not very Christ-like) to hoard so much wealth and use it for yourself. But I guess that's just me.

On our way to dinner Friday night-- didn't want him in the stroller over the cobblestone-y parts when he was so nice and asleep!

So Thursday afternoon we hung out at the B&B for a while, talking with Garth and Sabine (the woman who ran it) and some of the other guests, then went off in search of dinner. I was nervous as to how this was gonna go with D. Luckily Avignon does seem to be an incredibly child-friendly town (there were strollers EVERYWHERE) and there were a series of restaurants at one of the squares that had outdoor seating to accomodate strollers. Donovan either slept, ate, or sat with us throughout the meal, occasionally needing Zach or I to get up and walk around with him in the stroller to help calm him down (or help him to sleep).

I will say that, after walking the stroller through those cobblestoned streets, I see why European strollers cost so much more. I'll be very impressed if it lasts past this first year, it goes through some serious abuse here. (On the other hand D seemed to almost like riding over the cobblestones, I imagine it felt like having his own massage chair...)


Friday we had breakfast at the B&B, then got off on a (somewhat late) start exploring Avignon and its pedestrian areas. Unfortunately I can't say I was terribly impressed... it wasn't bad, it's just the areas we wound up walking around weren't that fabulous. After a couple hours we came back to our room to let D have a decent nap, then eventually made our way back out again to check out the gardens by the palace, which were beautiful. Unfortunately D was starting to get cranky again so we didn't make it too far. After another trip back to the hotel for a 2nd rest, we went back to that square for dinner. It was nice having places that were so child-friendly, though I must say I was kinda disappointed by both our dinners. Friday night I was done with my dinner by the time they even brought out Zach's appetizer. Ah well.

The famed Pont d'Avignon, about which there is a French childrens' song.

Saturday evening there was a wine festival out in front of the palace. Zach had spent a bit of time there earlier in the day, and we stopped by again in the evening on our way back from dinner. They had music (a barbershop-style 12 person band), lots of wines (of course), and a booth with juice and jams made from figs. We came home with a jar of fig and nut jam. =)

Sunday morning there was another festival in the same place, this time selling pottery. I fell in love with several pieces, though I only bought one or 2 and took pictures of the rest. =) While I was looking around Zach made friends with another dad, a German guy with his 6 month old daughter (they were very impressed with Donovan, who at 3 months was the same size, if not bigger, than their little girl) and when I walked back up to him and saw the 2 guys holding their babies, strollers sitting next to them, well, it was pretty darn adorable.

The dads.

After having lunch at a bistrot right next to the palace, which I really wish we'd found earlier b/c the food there was INCREDIBLE, we packed up and headed out toward the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct about 30km away. Zach had to laugh at me, as for some reason I'd had the incredibly naive idea that we'd just drive up to the bridge and get out and take pictures, and that'd be it-- as opposed to the tourist-trap-esque quality of the entrance, complete with gift shops and a movie theatre. Still, it was pretty cool to see a 2,000yr old structure. Hopefully D appreciates these pictures when he's older. =)

Pont du Gard
Family photo op.

(I know, I need to get him a little sun hat... or at least one that fits. We kept him in the shade most of the time, I promise!)

It was about 4pm by the time we started our drive home, and this time we made it back in about 4-4.5 hrs. And other than a diaper blow-out (which we had to change in the car backseat, and miraculously didn't get on his carseat at all), and some crying here and there when D was having trouble falling asleep, the drive back was fairly uneventful. We made it back, D ate like a maniac (poor thing had been hungry the last 20 mins of the drive but we'd been so close to home I hadn't wanted to stop) and after being up for a little longer he conked out... and slept for NINE HOURS. Which I'm totally counting as a complete fluke, the result of being so worn out from the previous few days' activities. It would be FABULOUS if he decided to repeat that again tonight, but, um, I'm trying really hard not to expect it at all.

See the full set of pictures here.

six word sunday: "Ok, dad, my turn to drive."

Ok, dad, my turn to drive.

six word sunday challenge

Saturday, May 03, 2008

By the way.

This woman is my hero.

That is all.

It's ok, we survived

We just got back from our weekend in Avignon, France, and I must say overall the whole trip went pretty well... though as Zach said, we may not attempt that again for a month or 2. Donovan may agree, right now he's playing on his playmat as we get things settled and packed away again, and he actually seems pretty happy to be back home again.

I'm currently transferring our 300+ pics to the computer, and I'll write a recap of the trip later tonight or tomorrow, but for now I'll just say that we had fun, had gorgeous weather, and we have one cute baby that draws lots of attention. =P

That, and that on our drive home Zach discovered a country western station that appears to be of Swiss German origin but plays here locally, and it's actually playing a pretty darn good selection of music (it's easily better than any country station we got in CA and better than several of the Austin ones), and let me tell you how adorable it is to see your husband be SO UNBELIEVABLY EXCITED by this discovery. He even said this is the best thing that's happened to him this year (after D's birth, of course). For someone who has no interest in ever moving back to Texas, those roots certainly do run deep still.


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