Halloween came and went

Jack was five weeks old on Halloween, and we were still exhausted (we are still exhausted) so we dropped the ball on dressing him up in a costume.  He’ll probably forgive us, but to make it up to you fine folks, here’s Jack doing his impression of a Dr. Seuss character.

Stealing time

My giant mutant child is gaining about a pound a week, which pretty much means he’s eating all the time.  When he’s not eating, he’s usually sleeping, and we’re (I’m) still having trouble putting him down to sleep during the day (he’ll usually wake up crying if he’s sleeping or just start crying if he was quiet and happy), meaning I don’t have my hands free to type.  Or do anything, really, but typing is my goal right now.  Actually, that’s not where I was going with this.  He’s eating all the time, right?  And he has been from the start, but since…Wednesday, I think (which was only yesterday somehow?), he started cluster feeding again, and except for overnight, I fed him nearly every half hour for most of the day because APPARENTLY he’s going through a growth spurt.  Yeah, you read that right.  My giant mutant baby, who already weighs as much as a 6-month-old, is going through a growth spurt.

He got his first round of vaccinations last Friday, so he slept a TON over the weekend (this would be the perfect spot to insert an anti-vaxxer conspiracy theory about the human growth hormones that were probably included in the vaccinations – thanks, Greg, for the idea) and got really clingy.  It’s adorable, but clingy = in my arms = I can’t do anything useful around the house.  And he looks so SAD.  It’s hard to see.  Speaking of crying because the baby is upset, he’s a little bit congested, so last night John was trying to get some snot out of his nose and Jack HATED it.  I’m pretty sure we weren’t hurting him, but the tone of Jack’s crying set me off.  We stopped (and John was more successful this morning).

This morning, Jack and I drove to CVS to get a package of diapers (he has outgrown size 1, and the packages of size 2s we ordered won’t arrive until tomorrow – we’re running dangerously low) and to DD to get coffee.  He fell asleep in the car seat, and he STAYED asleep when I brought the car seat inside (usually he wakes up when we stop moving), so I left him in it and I have stolen this time to transfer pictures from phone to laptop and to write THIS.

Hello.

He’s been asleep for almost an hour and a half.  I don’t know when he’ll wake up, but I expect him to wake up screaming and hungry (he’s done that a couple of times over the past day or two) because he hasn’t eaten in more than three hours.  We shall see.  In the meantime, I was able to eat my bagel and drink my coffee and write this in peace WITH BOTH HANDS.  If he stays asleep a while longer, maybe I’ll conquer the world.  Or finish making our thank you note list.  Same thing, really.

A decade is a long time

Today is the 10th anniversary of my blog.  My very first post (which isn’t very good) was written and published on Nov 7, 2008, just a few days after Obama won the presidential election and the world was bright and beautiful and full of hope.  Oh, how things have changed.

I’ve already mentioned that my 10th year online here has been…lackluster as far as posting goes, but I wanted to at least acknowledge this anniversary.  And here’s visual proof of why my posts have been so sparse.

The day we got home from the hospital:

One week old:

Two weeks old:

Three weeks old:

Four weeks old:

One month!

Five weeks old:

Six weeks old:

This doesn’t excuse the scarcity of posts for the whole of 2018, since he only arrived six weeks ago…except yeah, he kind of is the reason I went missing all year.

I miss cheese

We think Jack may have a sensitivity to milk, so I eliminated dairy from my diet 11 days ago.  (I meant to start 13 days ago, but I kept forgetting and doing stupid things like eating ice cream that first day and chicken corn chowder (heavy on cream and cheese) the second day.)  I THINK we’re seeing an improvement in Jack, but it’s hard to tell – is it really better?  Did I screw up again mid-week?  (Yes.)  Is it possible that it’s just his immature digestive system acting up and it seems better now because he’s growing?  I have no idea.  Also, I’ve done my googling (naturally), and if he is sensitive to milk, it’s pretty mild and thank goodness for that.  A serious sensitivity would be much more unpleasant for him.

Anyway, being dairy-free SUCKS and that’s with me only eliminating the obvious stuff – no milk, no butter, no cheese, no sour cream.  Ugh, no cream cheese.  I’m not going full vegan and avoiding baked goods or fully cooked things that might have had dairy in them.  I did miss having tea and cereal, so I’m trying almond milk.  It’s….okay.  I do NOT recommend drinking it straight.  I tried it with chocolate cake – that’s a big no.  (The cake is a big yes.)  But in cereal, it’s great.  I pretty much couldn’t tell it wasn’t regular milk with either Frosted Flakes or Honey Nut Cheerios.  In tea, the jury is still out.  This is my second try with Yorkshire tea, and I’m not wild about it, but I used it in French Vanilla tea yesterday, and it was great.

What I really want is to go back to my normal diet, but I’m not sure how to approach that.  If Jack were to show no improvement, then yay I can eat what I want, but the poor baby is still in distress.  If Jack shows improvement, then either he’s sensitive to dairy and I should stay off it for at least a few months or dairy has nothing to do with it and he’s just maturing.  I have no way to tell without testing by introducing dairy again, which might make Jack very uncomfortable again.

Yeah, yeah, the responsible thing to do is continue to avoid dairy.  Boo responsibility.

Now, to thank you all for your patience, here is a picture of Jack from when he was one week old.

I have many many many more pictures, and now that I have solved (John has solved) my picture problem, I will be uploading more.  I just don’t have them on my computer yet.  Jack is sleeping and my phone is providing white noise, so I don’t want to take it away to get the pictures.

Milestones

Jack is two weeks old as of yesterday.  In the week and a half we’ve had him home, we have reached the following milestones:

  • John and I have both been peed on
  • Jack peed on his own face
  • I was able to put Jack to sleep by swaying and humming, not nursing (one time only, so far)
  • I made banana bread while John held him
  • I nursed Jack with one arm and fed myself with the other at the same time
  • Jack spit up in my hair
  • Jack spent several hours (divided into 1 and 2-hour chunks) sleeping in the bassinet Tuesday night and I SLEPT

The next milestone is probably unraveling the sleep progress.  It feels too early for optimism.

Sleep is a distant memory

For anyone wondering, the complete absence of posts for two weeks was due to Jack being born and me losing the ability to use my hands for anything other than holding the baby.  He won’t sleep in anything safe, like the crib or the bassinet.  He’ll only sleep occasionally in the napper (unsafe: too cushy, inclined) or in our arms, and in our arms means WE don’t sleep.

We’ve gotten lots of advice, and we’re trying lots of different things, but we’re basically resigned to being completely exhausted for the first couple of months.  And hello, we KNEW that – we’ve watched plenty of movies and TV and we have lots of friends and family who have gone through this – but there’s a difference between knowing about it and experiencing it.  It’s a combination of “I would give anything for a decent few hours’ sleep” and “no, I can’t put this baby down, I HAVE to hold him so he knows I love him, and if that means I don’t sleep, then I don’t sleep.”

“How am I able to type this now?”, you ask, reasonably curious after what I just said.  Well, I’ll tell you.  Half an hour ago, he fell asleep in my arms while nursing.  I swaddled him first, using the first blanket we got that was actually large enough for him, and I managed to get him from my arms into the pack and play bassinet without fuss.  We’ve done that before, but he never lasts more than five minutes or so.  As of right now, we’re going on 40 minutes napping in the bassinet, and even if he wakes up right now (he’s stirring, so he might), I’m going to count this as a win.  We just need him to do it at night.

Also, it might have been smart of me to take that 40 minutes and nap myself, but…who said I was smart?

Just the stats

Baby John, henceforth to be known as Jack, was born on 9/26/18 at 8:36pm (Wednesday night, after we arrived at the hospital with labor in full swing about 2:15 Wednesday morning).  He weighed 9 lbs even (John says it was actually 9 lbs and .2 oz) and was 21.5 inches long.  (Apparently, I was also 21.5 inches long at birth, but I only weighed 6 lbs, 13oz.)  He’s a giant.  Also, babies typically lose a little weight after birth and it usually takes 10 days to 2 weeks to gain it back.  When we left the hospital, he weighed just under 9 lbs (I don’t remember the exact weight).  We left on Sunday.  On Monday, at his first doctor’s appointment, he weighed 9 lbs, 1 oz.  So….already gained it back.  And then on Thursday, he weighed 9 lbs, 10.5 oz.  Today, at 13 days old, he weights 10 lbs, 9.5 oz, gained an inch in length and half an inch around his head.  This is a large baby.

He’s wonderful.  Even if he does still look like a grumpy old man.

PICTURE MALFUNCTION

Damn it, I have to solve a picture size issue before I can upload anything.  I PROMISE I will do that real soon.

Accomplishments

Thursday:

  • Routine doctor’s visit, met a new doctor from the practice. Everything is fine, normal, healthy, and she landed the doppler-thingy right on the baby’s heartbeat today, first try, no searching or smearing goop around.  It was pretty impressive.  I really liked her, and it looks like I’ll see her again during on my September appointments.
  • We bought the stroller and carseat.  We originally decided on the Baby Jogger Summit X3 (and the compatible infant carseat), but we dawdled on the actual purchase and the price for both of those went up kind of a lot.  Brian has been talking up the BOB strollers (and they get very good reviews, too), so when we saw that the jogging stroller and the infant car seat were each about $70 less than the Baby Jogger equivalents, we snapped them up.  I’m pretty sure that price difference was the opposite when we first started looking.  Milestone complete!  They’ll be delivered on Monday.
  • We hired a plumber to fix the leak under the sink.  Tuesday morning, no more leak and we should have a working garbage disposal.
  • We finally got a schedule for getting the painting done (end of August, although they’ll move us sooner if they can).
  • We hired a yard guy!

Those of you who have seen the house (or who read my post from Wednesday) know that the lawn is overgrown, the flowerbeds are full of weeds, there’s poison ivy in too many places, vines are threatening to take over the wooded areas, and every plant/tree/bush near the house is practically (in many cases, actually) attached to the house.  And we have an acre, so it’s kind of overwhelming.  We knew going into this that we would be hiring help for the yard, so paying for a bunch of yard-related stuff is in the budget.  We just had to prioritize and pick someone.

The first place I called took down my notes about what we wanted and then sent someone out to look over the place WHILE WE WEREN’T THERE.  We never met the guy, never talked to him, never clarified what we might want or not want to do, and we ended up with a quote that didn’t meet what we wanted at all.  Surprise.  I eventually talked to him on the phone, and he quoted us an hourly rate to just have some guys come in and trim or clean up where we point for a set number of hours.  Still not really what we’re looking for.  We want advice, too.  Oh, yeah – this is the guy who basically told me I can’t pay him to remove the poison ivy.  So they’re a no.

For the second place I called, we met with the guy Friday afternoon a week ago.  Turns out his sister went to high school with John, and he (Anthony) was only three or so years behind.  Rhode Island is small and no one leaves.  We liked him, he helped us prioritize, understood what we’re after, WILL help kill and remove the poison ivy, and when his quote came in, it was about what we expected.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be in any kind of hurry.  It took him over a week to get us the quote, and he wants to do the work in October, and we just can’t wait that long to trim back the stuff that’s attacking the house.  We’re happy to break up the work, but that part needs to be done soon.

John found the third guy (Dana) via a card and write-up on a bulletin board in a local coffee shop.  His website sucks, but we called him Wednesday and he made the appointment to come out Thursday, and we liked him immediately.  He seems very practical, practices organic gardening/landscaping (no pesticides or herbicides), and understood our need to simplify.  He’s maybe a little odd – he’d wander off mid-sentence, get up really close to a tree branch, grab hold of it, and inspect it closely.  With nearly every tree.  He was happy to see that everything we have is native, and said it appears that our yard was designed by a professional, and he even thinks he knows which one (the timing matches up to that guy’s career in RI, although apparently he has moved on to landscaping in the Hamptons).  It is crazy to me that a landscaper could look at our overgrown yard and, based on the layout and the type of plants, be able to name the landscaper.  What was I saying about Rhode Island?  Also, hopefully that means he knows his industry.  Artists can do it – why can’t landscape architects?

After one circuit of the house, I left John and Dana to roaming the yard, and when John came in later, he said, “I hired him.”  I’m glad I’m not the only one who liked him.  Also, turns out his hourly rate is $30 less than the first group, AND he wants to come back in a week to get started.  Works for me!

Moving happened!

We have moved!  We live in this house now.  And while we are both occasionally overtaken by fits of holy-shit-what-have-we-done with regard to this stupid-big purchase and the baby coming and the changes all of this will mean to my job (and salary), it’s all under control and we’re very happy about it (after the fits pass).  And we have moments like last night when we went to our local grocery store and they played a Frank Turner song we love, or like today at lunch when we walked to the library (it took us four minutes) and found that our Providence library cards work in every library in the state because of course every library in the state is on the same system.  Also, our library has at least four of this year’s six Hugo nominees for best novel actually on the shelf, in the science fiction section (which I didn’t expect to find at all in a tiny town library), meaning they are keeping their collection pretty well up to date.  Yay for me!  And I picked up the new Cat Valente novel from the new releases shelf because I can’t go to the library and not check something out.  Anyway, those moments reinforce that we picked the right place (“It’s a sign.” “You don’t believe in signs.”).

We’re very slowly unpacking (the kitchen is finally a working kitchen again as of last night, although I guess Sunday night to Tuesday night isn’t so bad).  We’ve hired a guy to paint four rooms, and we’re working on scheduling that work, and we’re getting quotes to have someone come out and do some initial yard clean-up (including poison ivy, which we seem to have a lot of).  About three quarters of the outside of the house (first floor) is under attack by bushes and plants and vines of all kinds, and we want some help beating them back.  The poison ivy is all farther from the house, but I want to start killing and removing it as soon as possible.  One place I called says they don’t like to handle poison ivy removal because that can cause their guys to miss work, and I was like, I KNOW, OF COURSE IT’S DIFFICULT, WHY DO YOU THINK I’M WILLING TO PAY YOU TO DO IT.  So we’re probably not going with that guy.  We have a stone wall bordering most of the property that we can barely see through all the overgrown plants, but that’s next year’s problem.  (We have a stone wall!  Of all the things we wanted in a forever home, a stone wall was one we never thought we’d actually get.)

Want to know something REALLY weird?  There’s a CRIB upstairs.  Like, for a BABY to sleep in.  Because we’re going to have a BABY soon.  This kid is going to be 15 years old, and I’m still going to be surprised to see them come in to the kitchen.  I’m adjusting.  Slowly.

(The crib and dresser both got delivered yesterday – BIG thank you to both sets of parents for those and their accessories.  They look FANTASTIC, and they’ll look even better when they’re actually in the baby’s room after it gets painted.)

Things are coming together!

Transfers and money back

It’s official – we’re not going to WorldCon this year.  Okay, it was official MONTHS ago, but as of today, we have transferred both memberships over to other people who will really go so now it’s super official.  And because people are basically good (or at least the people in my sample of SFF fans who go to conventions are basically good), both of the people we transferred the memberships to paid us for those memberships.  And because WE are basically good people, we didn’t charge them the full amount we paid back in December.  One of them got her membership (John’s) in time to vote.  The other didn’t, but that means MY votes for the Hugo awards (and other awards) counted, and we all know how important that was to me.  (Voting ended Tuesday night at midnight, and the transfer of my membership went through today.)

Next year, WorldCon is in Dublin.  If we can’t make it (with a baby!), I’ll at least get a supporting membership (which is WAY cheaper) so I can nominate and vote.  I like being involved in this.  These are my people.  This is my community.

Are we going to do something fun and relevant with the money we got back?  Well…sort of.  Fun, no, but Hugo-relevant, yes.  The money is going to go to buying the stroller.  Practicality FTW!

Looking for middle ground

We’ve FINALLY started to shop for baby stuff, and we’ve come to the decision that we need two bassinets: one for our room and one for downstairs.  We have one (thank you very much to John’s parents), but we’re looking for a second one and WHY is this so hard?

Well, the vast majority of bassinets fall into two distinct, EXTREMELY DIFFERENT, categories.

First, the overly ruffled, gag-me-cutesy ones:

Second, the laundry baskets:

If I HAD to choose between only these extremes, I’d probably pick the laundry basket style.  I’m just not that into ruffles…  The one we have already is one of the VERY few in the middle.  Maybe we’ll get another one just like it.