Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oh the Things You Need!

My brother and sister-in-law are due any day now, and she put the feelers out for suggestions on things she'd need in the first three months after the baby arrives. Well, I figured why not share it with everyone! Here are the top 10 things I needed/wish I had when we first brought little Joey home:

1. A schedule for visitors.
When we arrived home from the hospital, my in-laws were in my driveway and ready to help in any way they could - bless their hearts. But, what I really needed when I got home was some peace and quiet to get my bearings. And when you are still trying to learn how to breast feed and your nursery is too small for a comfy chair... let's just say I wasn't jumping at the chance to whip my girls out in front of my husband's grandfather!

2. The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD.
We were about 4 months too late on this one. Mike and I watched it, last month and kept looking at each other going, "WTF! Why didn't we have this 4 months ago?? WHY??"

3. A vibrating bouncy seat and/or swing (that plugs in).
This is one of those items I put on my registry thinking, "Hmm, this is cute. Probably don't need it, but whatever." Um, I needed it. Joey slept in his bouncy seat (while I slept next to him on the couch) for, ohhh, the first 2 months of his life or so. Saved. My. Life. Oh, and I constantly worried that if I left it vibrating all night, it would scramble his brain or something. Believe me, keep the vibrations going, he's just fine. We didn't have a swing, but I think it would have been even more helpful than the bouncy seat in Joey's case. (Some babies like them, and some don't - looking back, I wish I would have gotten one, just in case) And, don't forget, if your swing is not the plug-in variety, LOTS OF BATTERIES! I swear, buy out Costco.

4. Bottles and formula (and know how to mix it).
Even if you are breast feeding. I know, I know, colostrum, yadda, yadda, yadda. My milk took forever to come in, and Joey was screaming non-stop. I finally gave in and made him a 2 oz bottle (struggling to read the instructions at 3am). He sucked it down in nothing flat, and fell fast asleep.

5. A sling or carrier that will hold a newborn (and know how to use it).
When I brought Joey home, all I had was the Bjorn, and he was too small for it. I think it would have saved a bit more of my sanity if I had been able to strap him to me and go about my day. He probably would be used to it, too. Now, it's a struggle to keep him in a carrier, unless we are out and about and he has tons of stuff to look at. I also managed to forget that I could just put him in his car seat and snap him in the stroller if I needed to get out of the house. Seriously. It didn't even cross my mind for probably the first month.

6. Lots of burp cloths.
Self explanatory.

7. My Brest Friend Nursing pillow.
This was another one that I thought I'd never need. Until I tried using my Boppy for the first week, and then took a visit to see a lactation consultant to make sure things were going OK. That was my first encounter with My Brest Friend. We actually stopped at two stores on our way home from the appointment with the consultant so I could buy one. When you have a floppy newborn (and big boobs), I found the Boppy difficult to use (actually, a flat pillow worked better). Now that Joey is bigger, I can set him on my lap with nothing, or just a flat pillow, but I still use My Brest Friend when I am at home.

8. Nursing tank tops.
I lived in these for weeks after we brought Joey home. I had purchased a couple nursing bras before he was born, but none of them fit right, and these were so comfy and convenient.

9. A Good Breast Pump (and know how it works).
When your little one is nursing like a champ at the hospital, gets home and decides to forget how those darn boobs work, the first thing you'll probably worry about is your milk supply - or your milk coming in at all - I know I did! I wish I would have bit the bullet and purchased a good electric pump, especially since I was going to be returning to work.

10. Food.
I stocked my freezer with pasta sauce a couple weeks before the baby arrived, and we had awesome family, friends and neighbors drop off food for us. One of my favorite things: Meghan brought us some chicken pasta salad that we could eat cold and on the run. Seriously, best thing I ever ate. I crave it to this day.

OK, those are my top 10... anyone else? Anything to add or echo? What did you need or wish you had when you first brought your little one home?

Six Months

Dear Joey,

Today, you turned six months old. Six! Half a year! I can hardly believe it. The last six months have been an absolute blur. They are right - time really does speed up when you have a child.

Yesterday, we had your 6 month well-baby checkup. You only gained 4 ounces since your last visit to see Dr. M, making you 15lbs, 8ozs. You are 26.5" long. I was a little shocked that you hadn't gained more weight, because when I am carrying you in your car seat, I feel like I might as well be carrying an elephant! OK, maybe not an elephant, but you get the point. Anyway, Dr. M didn't seem too concerned about it, since you are growing lengthwise, and your noggin is getting bigger, too. He did ask me to bring you back in a week or so though just to make sure you are not losing weight. I sent daddy a message saying you had only gained 4 ounces, and he said you must have a good metabolism, because you are a piggy! He meant it in the most loving way, I'm sure. (And boy, you sure do love to eat!)

This month, you took two trips up to the Bay Area for Auntie Alli's baby showers. You got to stay in a hotel both times, and you did really well considering all the time in the car, all the new people and new environment. Unfortunately, you also decided on these two trips that you are afraid of your Uncle Ben. We have no idea why, and we hope you will get over it soon, because even though I'm sure he won't admit it, it probably makes him pretty sad to see "the lip" every time he comes near you! On your second trip up, we also met our good friends, Meagan and Memo, and their baby girl, Sochie, at the Oakland Zoo. You slept for about the first half of the trip, and woke up just when we got to the giraffe exhibit. After we all had lunch, Meagan and I set you and Sochie on our laps, and let you get to know each other. You grabbed her by the face and gave her kisses! It was so sweet. Mommy forgot her camera, but Meagan took some pictures, so I will be posting those soon.

You are still scooting and spinning around on the floor, and you are SO close to crawling it is scary! You will put your arms underneath you, and lift your whole body up onto your toes - like you are doing a push-up - and scoot yourself forward. Dad's DVD collection is in serious trouble! I am excited for you to crawl, but scared, too, because once you start moving, I know you won't stop.

You are incredibly curious about everything around you, and you love being outside. Watching the sun reflect off of leaves blowing in the wind puts a big smile on your face. You reach for everything now, and you love paper, and books - a man after my own heart! Nothing on my desk at work is safe. You have started to bang on things with your hands and with toys. Just this past Sunday, you figured out that you could use your hands to splash in the bath tub (before, you would just move your feet around in the water). You still love music, and it still helps calm you down most of the time, especially when I sing to you.

You are "talking" more than ever, and you started making "B" sounds this month. It is pretty funny to hear you say, "Blah, blah, blah, bong, bong!" You are also still growling and grunting, and you will say "Da Da" and "Ba Ba," although at this point in time they are still just sounds to you - we don't think you are relating them to anything in particular. You babble a lot when you are getting tired - just like your mom!

You have tried a lot of different foods now since we started you on rice cereal a couple months ago. Bananas, peaches, avocado, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, mango... Any time you see us with a spoon, you open your mouth as if to say, "Where is mine??"

We took you to the park near our house, and we decided you were ready to try out the swings. You loved it! You would get the biggest smile on your face whenever the swing came forward towards daddy. (By the way, daddy is still your absolute favorite person!)

You also got to meet one of the oldest members of our family, Charlie the tortoise. I thought you might be scared of him, but nope! You were curious as always.

I know the next 6 months will bring even bigger changes than the first 6. And no matter how much I try to stay on top of these changes, I know you will always be one step ahead of me. I guess all I can do is hope I don't miss a thing.

We love you so much, baby.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Joey, Meet Charlie

On Saturday, Joey met one of the oldest living members of our family: Charlie the Tortoise. Joey's great uncle got Charlie when he was about 10 years old, so this makes Charlie at least 50. Charlie has been on countless show-and-tell days at school, and I'm sure Joey will probably take him one day, too. Believe it or not, Charlie has actually run away a few times (yes, I know he's a tortoise, and "run" and "tortoise" are not often found in the same sentence, but believe me, this guy can really truck!). Thankfully, we found him each time. He is very curious - the moment I put Joey down on his blanket, Charlie saw him and immediately headed his way - and he even responds to his name when you call him. It really is one of the funniest things. So, without further ado, Joey, meet Charlie!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Five Months

Dear Joey,

Last Saturday, you turned 5 months old. As with the past four months, I don't even know where to start! You can roll from your belly to your back, and your back to your belly, but you haven't figured out that doing this can actually get you places. Instead you scoot - mostly backwards or in circles though. You are so interested in everything around you, and you get royally frustrated that you cannot get to them. I will set you down on the floor, go in the kitchen to grab a drink, and when I come back, you have managed to spin yourself 180°. I am in SO much trouble when you figure out how to crawl!

You are figuring out how to entertain yourself more and more, and you will sit in your portable crib at the shop and play with your toys while I get a little work done. Part of me is so happy that I don't have to entertain you constantly anymore, but another part of me is sad that every day you grow and you don't need me a little bit more. Or maybe you just need me in different ways. As you continue to grow and change, so will our relationship.

You laugh at the weirdest things these days. Today, you had the hiccups, so I jokingly tried to scare them out of you by grabbing your tummy and saying, "BOO!" It didn't get rid of your hiccups, but it did make you laugh, so of course I did it over, and over again. Your daddy still makes you laugh more than anyone, and listening to the two of you is the best sound ever.

When you are in a bad mood, I can usually sing to you or put some music on, and you cheer up (even if it only lasts for a brief moment). I am hoping this is a little hint that you might love music just as much as I do some day. You also love to "dance" with me, and you smile and giggle when I sing to you, twirl you, and bounce you around.

You are no longer a floppy little baby, but you you are not yet a toddler. And yet you have already developed such a strong personality and opinions about everything. You know what you like and dislike, and you have the facial expressions to match. Sometimes you look so concerned, that I wonder what you are thinking about. Wondering what could make your brow furrow so deeply. I tell you, "Don't worry! You have the rest of your life to worry. Enjoy being a kid!" Wow, I sound like your grandma!

You are trying lots of new things these days. We started you on rice cereal after your last appointment with Dr. M. You were having some issues with what I thought was acid reflux, and after talking to him, he said that I just might be right. He said he could give you some medicine for it, or the cereal might help. I decided not go the medicine route, and try the rice cereal instead. You absolutely hated it the first time you tried it! I don't know if it was the texture, or the taste, but you were not happy with it at all! It took about two weeks of trying (and some mashed banana) to get you to eat more than a bite, and you haven't looked back since! We have added some other solid foods to your diet, too. Bananas are definitely your favorite, but you also love sweet potatoes and peas.

I have been making all your food so far, but I picked up some pre-prepared baby food to toss in the diaper bag for when we are out and about. Peaches, bananas, and peas. You tried the peaches first... and hated them! I thought it was just the peaches, after all, peaches do have kind of a different flavor (what am I saying, everything has a "different" flavor to you!) and I don't like them too much, so I figured maybe you just weren't a "peach" kind of guy. Then we tried the bananas. Now, it is true that whatever is in that little Gerber container is exactly what I make you at home (well, there is some vitamin C, and what have you in there to keep them from turning funny colors, but basically the same thing). But I must say, those bananas didn't really smell like bananas to me, and you were not fooled! You spit them out, and cried, and wanted nothing to do with the food in the jar. Again, another strong opinion!

One night this month, mommy went out with her friend, Meghan. Meghan brought Phoebe and her daddy, Geoff, over to hang out with you and daddy while we were out. We left the two of you in "Daddy Day Care" for a couple of hours. When we got home, you were asleep in your crib, there were toys and books all over the floor and Phoebe and the daddies looked exhausted! Daddy told me that he walked you around and around the kitchen island (his usual calming technique), and Phoebe crawled and followed wherever he went with you!

I have a feeling you will be crawling soon, too, but I'm in no rush for you to. I really don't think I will ever get used to how quickly you change - on one hand, I wish I could stop time and you could stay little forever, and on the other hand, I am anxious and excited to see what you will achieve next. For now though, I will cherish each time you fall asleep on my lap, or give me a big kiss, or laugh at the most simple thing.