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Posts Tagged ‘boobies’

Once again I find myself at a complete loss for how the hell we got here. How is it possible that this chubby, rolly, grabby, giggly baby is the very same tiny little human with a wispy coif of blond and sleepy eyes that was born just yesterday? YESTERDAY I TELL YOU.

This month Ezra’s personality has been coming out full blast and it is very… physical. He is constantly moving, whether it’s rolling at lightning speed across the floor to get to a desired toy or flailing in my arms to get a better view of what his brother and sister are doing {or watching on TV}. He is very rarely still, which to be honest… has me sort of worried. Though Keaton is certainly All Boy, I feel he took a lot of cues from Rowan, who is definitely All Girl so he is actually a nice mix of calm and crazy. He has the energy of a boy but doesn’t seem as aggressive as most of the boys we come in contact with. I think Ezra will be a bit more true to the typical boy stereotype which is fine but definitely new territory for us.

Gross Motor: He isn’t crawling yet {THANK SWEET HEAVEN} but is very adept at rolling. When I try to lift his knees up so he gets the feel of a crawl position he gives me a “woman be crazy” look and promptly stretches himself out so he can roll on his merry way. I’m fine with this, more than fine, because although he’s pretty quick he has to problem solve to get himself forward rather than side-to-side, which slows him down a bit. Rowan and Keaton didn’t crawl until almost 9 and almost 11 months respectively so I’m in no rush.

Sitting up is hit or miss. He can do it but the minute he sees something he wants he lunges at it and slams into the ground with his face which doesn’t seem to bother him at all. He rarely stays sitting up for more than a handful of seconds unless I’m behind him supporting him and handing him toys.

And this is how our seven month photo shoot went. I got exactly ZERO usable shots of Ezra with his blocks. And now I know why people use those onsie decals.

Aaaand this is how our seven month photo shoot went. I got exactly ZERO usable shots of Ezra with his blocks. I now know why people use those onesie decals… turns out mobile babies aren’t that great at leaving the props alone OR taking modeling direction. Who knew!

I tried to trick him by putting the blocks up on a basket but he kept giving me this "Why you do this, Lady?" look so I gave up. Maybe next month.

I tried to trick him by putting the blocks up on a basket but he kept giving me this “Why you do this, Lady?” look so I gave up. Maybe next month.

Fine motor: He picks up toys and manipulates them all on his own now. Mostly he just shoves whatever we give him, or whatever he finds, directly into his baby maw. This has me constantly paranoid about small toys that the kids leave lying around. We’ve had lots of talks about the seriousness of picking up small things to keep Ezra safe {and, uh, alive} but I still get nervous. I’ve banished legos to the bedroom but somehow they and Keaton’s many many tiny Star Wars and TMNT weapons end up back in the main Baby Rolling Area so I’m trying to train the kids to do several room sweeps a day.

The other thing he enjoys to do with his improved dexterity is Grabbing {yes, with a capital G}. Remember when I used to have a nose, hair, eyeballs and earlobes? Yeah. That was nice. Now they are gone because my baby grabbed them and ripped them right off my head. Seriously though, boyfriend has got a GRIP and it sort of worries me that I’ve already had to break out the “gentle hands” repertoire with an infant. I am now firmly in the strict ponytail/bun, no necklace or earring phase of having a baby, which sucks but is a necessity if I want to avoid any ER visits.

5.26.6

Toes are acceptable to grab, Baby. A handful of mama’s eyelashes are NOT.

Eating: We’re at a solid 4 breastfeeding sessions a day; at wake-up, bedtime and after each of his naps. He can be pretty flexible with the day feedings if I need to push them around a little. He has solids three times a day. So far on the taste-testing menu he will gladly eat anything that is not green, which is apparently not an acceptable color for food. And it’s not just a turning away of his head or pursed lips. He’ll reluctantly take the bite and then dramatically gag on it, not unlike a cat horking up a hairball. His favorites are bananas, apples, pears and sweet potatoes. He likes carrots but they give him a rash. I have to figure out how to get more veggies in him but otherwise he’s doing great.

Diapering: Lieutenant Deborah Morgan of Dexter put it best, since Ezra started solids he has truly become her definition of a baby, “A roly-poly, chubby-cheeked shit machine”. From 2- 6 months the boy only pooped once every 7-10 days and now HOLY HELL he is producing anywhere from 3-6 PER DAY. Baby TMI! For whatever reason they barely smell so we need to check him quite a bit so he doesn’t sit in it and they are of a play-dough consistency so it’s an easy clean-up. We are now exclusively using BumGenius pocket diapers and they are working great. We stuff them with the old prefolds at night for added absorbance but otherwise have retired the prefolds. We keep a pack of disposables on hand for occasional use for sitters or when we get behind on laundry.

5.26.7

Wow. My mom just spent a whole paragraph talking about my poop! Even I know that’s gross, Lady.

Sleep: Very hit or miss. Sometimes he’s up a few times a night and sometimes he sleeps thru until 6am. For the last couple of weeks he’s slept through the night when his teeth aren’t bugging him. He used to wake up around 6:30 and then lay in bed with me while he nursed, dozing or resting quietly for 45-60 more minutes but now he’s up at 6:00-6:15, eats for 20-25 minutes and is all HELLO WORLD, let me thrash about with all available appendages until my lazy ass mother starts playing with me.

Naps are fairly consistent. After a 6am wake-up he is more than ready to go down by 9:30am. He’ll sleep anywhere from an hour and fifteen minutes to 2 hours. He then goes down at 1:30ish and stays down for an hour to an hour and a half. With the end of school and the normal dance rush, it will be interesting to see how his sleep routine evolves.

Toofers: Two teeth! he was sort of cranky all day on Mother’s Day which is pretty out of character for him. We were out all day so I just thought it was a change in routine issue but he’s normally pretty easy going about that sort of thing. He’s been drooly and chewing on everything for 3 months so I didn’t think to check for teeth but just before bed he grabbed my finger and started chewing on it and OUCH there was his front bottom right tooth; three days later it was joined by the front bottom left.

He has not been a big fan of teething which has disrupted night-time sleep, naps and required more than a little tylenol, which does seem to help. I tried the hippie amber teething necklace which, yeah, NO. He will take the drugs, thank you. He is now constantly chewing which has made nursing… interesting. When he gets chompy I calmly remove myself from his reach to set the precedent of bite = no more milk, while using my favorite cursing combinations under my breath. It’s working for now.

He loves:

His brother and sister. Seriously, when they pay attention to him his grin is ridiculous.

His brother and sister. Seriously, when they pay attention to him his grin is ridiculous.

Stacking toys that he can pull apart and bang together.

His Exersaucer.

Pirate Piggens.

Stroller rides.

Hanging with dad in the Baby Bjorn.

Baby swim. Yes. We are those parents. The ones who sign their small infant up for classes. In our defense we had to be there for Rowan and Keaton’s annual swimming lesson session and the baby-toddler class was right after so we thought we’d give it a try. He loved it! It’s definitely geared toward 1 year olds but he loves hanging with daddy, splashing and gets a huge grin while floating on his back.

Plus, a chubby baby in a swimsuit is one of my very favorite things.

Plus, a chubby baby in a swimsuit is one of my very favorite things.

He hates:

Um. Not much {besides green food}. He’s generally a happy little guy. When he’s ready for sleep he hates everything, but as long as I follow his cues he’s just so smiley. Unless I try to take a picture of him, then he gets all Serious Baby is Serious.

As the school year winds down I’m both nervous and excited to get the true dynamic of having three children. Since Ezra’s birth we’ve had to adhere to Rowan and Keaton’s strict daily schedules so I’m looking forward to a summer of hanging with ALL my babies without the pressure of having everyone up, presentable and out the door on time every weekday. Our mini-budders fit right in with this family the minute he was born but now he’s on the cusp of actively being one of us. Yesterday I was holding him and he was watching his siblings run around giggling as they were playing some crazy game, the look on his face as he followed them intently with his eyes and bounced himself up and down in my arms, mimicking their excitement, was one of abject anticipation. I can see already that he can’t wait to ditch me to run around with the other small crazy/wonderful people in this house but for now?

YOU ARE STILL MINE, BABY.

YOU ARE STILL MINE, BABY.

Alllll mine.

Alllll mine.

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CAUTION!

(ACHTUNG!)

Randomness ahead!

*****

I got Bill the new Super Mario Bros for Wii last Father’s Day. It’s the one where multiple players can play the same board at the same time. This has not been good for our marriage, as we end up killing each other on accident more than helping the other out. Then I get mad that I was killed, even though it was (probably) an accident so I kill Bill’s mustachioed plumber on purpose. Only that really doesn’t solve anything because we are supposed to be working together to save the princess. We are not one of those couples that opperates well together when put in stressful situations. We are one of those couples that turn on each other by hurling turtle shells at one anothers’ faces.

Anyway, we’ve been stuck on playing  level 3-3 for probably 70 years now. It’s an ice world and true to life, when you walk on the ice you slip and may possibly fall down a bottomless crevice that first eats your soul and then sets you on fire while you just. keep. falling (I can only assume this is what happens after the wah-wah-wah YOU DIED music plays). After dying an inordinate amount of times, I made an executive decision to try to beat the board myself, for I was trying to save my marriage. It didn’t go as well as I had hoped and I died probably 76 more times and then you know what happened? It took pity on me! A little message box popped up and asked me if I wanted to see a demonstration of how the board should be played and then it sent Luigi in to do what I couldn’t. It felt weird at first but then I was all, Whatever Luigi, BETTER YOU THAN ME. Then it asked me if I would like to move on to the next board or try to play it myself and since I have no pride I was all, MOVE ON BITCHES!

*****

I use the Nike+ iPod application and device while running, which I really, really like. After I obtain a new personal best I get a congratulatory message from Paula Radcliffe. But…who is Paula Radcliffe and why is she congratulating me for shit when I run? What kind of motivation is that? I would much prefer this message, “Hello. This is Javier Bardem and that mile you just ran was so sexy I’m considering leaving Penelope for you.” I don’t want some chic my fingers don’t even have the energy to google, giving me a marginally interested pat on the back with her haughty British accent, because people with accents really always make me feel inferior and I think my iPod must know this. It’s completely backhanded. “I’m complimenting you but I’m British so really what I’m saying is you fucking suck. But in a way that’s so dignified you’ll never be able to decipher it.” Now I try not to obtain personal bests because I don’t want Paula judging me.

*****

This was the headline on the website for one of our local news stations:

“Craigslist killing suspect dead in Mass. suicide”

OK, really? I see that there is capitalization and a period after the “Mass.” so I know that they mean Massachusetts but COME ON. You didn’t have to abbreviate it like that, KARE 11. I know you did it on purpose so people who are maybe in a hurry or perhaps just a little slow would be all “Mass suicide? What? Where? How many people died?” Click click click. Or, “They hold mass for suicides now? I’m confused, I thought the catholic faith was decidedly not pro-suicide.” Click click click. For shame, news outlet for using mass suicide as a way to garner traffic on your stories.

*****

Bill and I share laundry responsibilities, which typically goes something like this, Step 1.) Christy sorts laundry, puts first load in and promptly forgets about it. Step 2.) Bill does everything else. The best is when my swimsuits are in because the boob pads inevitably come out of their boob pad homes when being flung around in the drier. So the little thin sort of/but-sort-of-not triangular pads need to be placed back into their slots, by means of a very small slit on the inside of the swimsuit top; this job being only slightly easier than re-stringing a pair of sweatpants that have been filled with hyperactive mexican jumping beans. That is to say, I don’t like doing it so much that I intentionally let Bill handle the load my swimsuit comes out of. Scruples? I HAVE NONE. I see him struggling with the boobie pads, trying to stuff them in and smooth them out with his giant man fingers that are not at all conducive to this task and instead of helping I pretend to be really engrossed with something so he has to figure it out on his own. WHAT?! Don’t you understand that it’s really hard and I don’t like doing it and twittle doodie fukes splarg he’s still not done but I have to look busy type type type etc type buffalo pancakes.

*****

The kids have been in a pretty big potty talk stage for, well, the whole summer. They think poopy head, pee-pee face and tootie-butt are the best words the English language has to offer. And while I appreciate this is a right of passage that every kid must go through and honestly I too think pee-pee face is pretty great, I can’t have them going around repeating these phrases once school starts. So when they start calling each other names I turn into a Very Responsible Parent that has Rules and Regulations and lay down the no potty talk and/or name calling rule, but Internet? They have found other ways to insult one another. It goes something like this:

R: {pointing to a picture on a box} I want this Littlest Petshop armadillo!

K: Dats not an armadillo.

R: Yes it is.

K: No it’s not! Not an armadillo!

R: Yes it is an armadillo!

K: No, it’s NOT an armadillo!

R: YOU’RE AN ARMADILLO!

K: NO, YOU’RE AN ARMADILLO!

R: NO, YOU’RE AN ARMADILLO!

Etc etc etc etc and onandonandonandon for infinity times pi.

I know I have to step in here but I can’t exactly pinpoint what I should be yelling at them for.  Yes, they are arguing but arguing is not really something we altogether discourage in this house as long as they are being respectful of each others’ personal space. There was no potty talk and yes, they were technically name-calling but would Armadillo as a defamatory remark really hold up in a court of law? It’s all so confusing. Usually I just get so annoyed with their repetitive persistence and steadfast conviction that the other is in fact an armadillo that I just snap and say “GAH! NO ONE IS AN ARMADILLO!” when secretly inside I am saying “You are BOTH armadillos.”

*****

Another headline:

“Mel Gibson ‘fine’ after car crash”

That sucks. I don’t even know why I read the news anymore. Nothing but depressing shit.

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When I was little I had a not so small obsession with Minnesota Twins player Kirby Puckett. I had a Kirby statuette and a mini baseball bat with his signature branded onto it. I saved articles in the paper about him and would buy a pack of baseball cards just to get his {and OK maybe a Hrbek or two} and then trash the rest of them. I would watch games with my dad on the little black and white 10 inch TV set and play games out in the cul-de-sac with the neighbor boys {at least until they kicked me out for daydreaming on first base}.

My dad took me to a few games at the metrodome, which I vaguely remember liking and then perhaps getting a little bored with {but not wanting to show it because I wanted to impress him with how much I loved the sport}. I’m not sure at what point I totally lost interest but probably somewhere around 7th or 8th grade and the advent of BOYSBOYSBOYS all the time. Then I completely fell off after my childhood hero was arrested for beating his wife and making murder threats.

Fast forward to this year which was the grand opening of Target Field, the Twins’ new outdoor stadium. A stadium that, to me, at first seemed like a waste. I mean, MN is known for it’s completely erratic spring and fall weather, not to mention the ridiculous heat and humidity that reigns over most of the summer. Plus I’m not a big fan of paying a bajillion tax dollars for a stadium for primadonna athletes.

Starting in April my facebook stream was inundated with status updates about what an awesome experience watching ball at the new stadium was, how there wasn’t a bad seat in the house and OHMYGOD HAVE YOU SEEN JOE MAUER’S BUTT? It looks so much better in natural light. Bill and I talked about maybe trying to make a game but sort of dropped it when we came to the conclusion that baseball was kind of dead to us. Then through Bill’s work, which is BIG into the Twins, he aquired 4 very awesome seats on the 3rd baseline for the DCFI and his dad. Unfortunately due to health complications {can I get a hearty FUCK CANCER, Internet?} the dep’s dad was unable to go so the 4 of us went last Saturday to see what all the fuss was about.

And I had to conceed…

There is something truly amazing about an outdoor ball game.

Also amazing?

The 3rd base dugout seats had their own private bathrooms and concessions with full bar...

And all I can say about this picture is thank god for strategically placed beer bottles. Please to ignore my tank top that appears to be showing most of my right boob. What can I say? Baseball brings out the CLASSY in me.

And I want YOU to try sitting next to my sister when she is in close proximity to Joe Mauer, with the "Yeah, baby!" and the "Woo-Hoo"s. You'd think we were at a strip club. This jumbotron picture was the best shot I could get but his face sort of looks stupid so...

This is what he really looks like.

Although we're partial to this side of him.

So, I guess I sort of get the whole Joe Mauer thing, but could someone please explain this guy to me?

When he bats he looks exactly like my children do when they have to take a leak. At first I thought his nut cup must be bothering him, maybe a little itchy or something but no, that's just how he does it. Someone should call his stance trainer and tell them he looks a little funny. Also, I'm pretty sure he struck out every time he was up so maybe it's time for a different, more sheik look that might better serve him.

The Twins took Seattle 4-zip which YAY but for me, the sunset over Minneapolis totally stole the show. Or the game, errr you know what I mean.

It was actually a really quick game and we were sad it went so fast. Luckily company seats get you into the fancy-pants Metropolitan Club in the staduim and we were able to see the great view from the top of the ball park. Then The Mallinger’s ran into a friend that worked there and she graciously showed us the really cool box seats and then we came down and piled into a giant baseball glove…

Because that's just the sort of thing baseball fans do, Internet.

And also this…

Because this is just what baseball fans do when they happen to be us. Take that, Puckett.

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Once upon a time there was a little baby who was born into this world out of mutual love and adoration and that little baby thanked his smitten and doting parents for giving him life by screaming at them. All day. All night. Screams. Loud ones. This baby’s screams would make the most serene, patient and loving human being want to drive off a cliff at high speeds just to escape the particular pitch and tone of these screams. I am not a particularly serene or patient human being. But I am this baby’s mother and what do you know? We’re still alive. Mostly. This is our tale.

Keaton was born on December 4th, 2007. The room was really pretty quiet throughout my labor with him. Believe it or not, I am not a screamer and didn’t even  swear once during labor or delivery with either of my kids which is very strange if you know me because even on a good day I can’t walk from the couch to the fridge without swearing at least once. So here I was, happily numbed by the epidural, pushing with everything I had because I was so very ready to meet my son and I swear to you, Internet, he came out of my special place mid-scream. There was no “He’s here!” and then “Wahhhh”. No there was simply “He’s crowning, give me one more pu-” “AHHH WAHHHH WAHHH”. He was not pleased to be removed from his nice, dark, warm, private, ocean-view uterus, into an extremely narrow tunnel that led to a fridged tundra of bright lights, gloved hands, and sharp pokey instruments. He was pissed.

He was immediately placed on my chest where he calmed down long enough to take careful inventory of my face for future reference as to whom he should place all the blame for this horrific incident and then commenced screaming again. He did take a break long enough to mutilate my boobs, though! Later that evening after he had been assaulted with a bath and numerous newborn measurements and tests he calmed down and we spent that first night snuggling and feeding and getting to know one another. It was all quite perfect. The second evening was when the screaming kicked into full swing. He wouldn’t sleep, he would simply alternate between nursing and screaming. It wasn’t like it was with the first baby when your milk takes up to a week to come in. Milk was pouring out of me by day two. My body had done this before and was ready. The milk was there, and he was eating as displayed by his already very soggy (and um, muddy) diapers. So food wasn’t the issue. I was exhausted Bill was exhausted, the nurses just looked at us like, “your problem now, bitches” and so we “bucked up” and passed him back and forth between us that night- thinking something was bugging him but what, we couldn’t say. We would talk to his doctor in the morning.

After his pediatrician heard how our night went she said that it was possible I ate something that bothered him and it is really unusual for such a new baby to freak out like that. Normally colicky babies don’t show their true colors until they’re about 2 weeks old. It’s natures way of ensuring you bond with them before they drive you to the mad house. In other words, so you don’t kill them. And I am saying this only half jokingly because we’ve all seen the same news reports of babies being shaken to death. They made me watch the “Don’t shake your baby” video in the hospital after both kids, and both times I watched it I rolled my eyes and put it on mute half-way through so I could complain about how this was the dumbest thing I’d ever watched and anyone who shakes a baby has an IQ of less than 25, lives in a trailer park or is the incarnation of Satan. Possibly all three. Do I think that after living through Keaton’s babyhood? No. I don’t. I never once hurt him but I’d be lying if I said the thought didn’t cross my mind during his first 8 months. I somehow gathered the will power to trudge through hours and hours of screaming that continued on no matter how many techniques I tried. I certainly do not think violence on any helpless child is acceptable but now very much understand how some people could lose control. Not a pretty sentiment but it’s the truth.

When we came home every night after was the same. So much screaming. Newborns are supposed to sleep in short spurts somewhere around 18 hours a day. Not Mr. Sir. He hardly slept at all, even as a tiny brand new little thing. We tried soothing music, co-sleeping, different beds, baby massage, different routines, different feeding schedules, constant babywearing, and reflux medication among other things. No dice. There were numerous trips to a variety of doctors where we tried to relay the message that his screaming was nearly violent in nature and he seemed to be in terrible pain. Each time the doc pronounced him healthy and gave us a “buck-up” speech or a “this is totally normal” speech. So we were cowed and resorted to the only thing that seemed to sooth him, which was: 1. jogging in place with him until he drifted off . This usually took 25 minutes. On a good day maybe 15, but on many unlucky days it took around 45. This took place in the only room that didn’t get any sunlight and had a built in white noise maker. Yes. The bathroom. We are not proud but it was basically his nursery for 8 months. 2. Ever so carefully transferring him into his vibrating bouncy chair. You know! The one that says on its tag in all caps: WARNING: DO NOT PUT YOUR CHILD TO SLEEP IN THIS DEVICE. 3. Ever so sneakily making our exit without waking him up. And then we’d wait. Sometimes we’d get lucky and he’d nap for an hour, sometimes 15 minutes, but more often than not the nap lasted around 40 minutes. 40 minutes is not long enough, when chances are, you spent longer trying to get him to sleep than the time he actually spent sleeping.

But what were our options? When he was still a newborn, he would get up at night every 1.5 to 3 hours to eat. Every single time we’d have to listen to the screaming when it was time to lay him back down and fight to get him to sleep only for the whole process to repeat itself an hour or two later. All night. This lasted 3 months or so, until he started going longer stretches in between feedings. Then we were only fighting the screaming 2-3 times a night instead of 4-5. And when I say fighting, I mean it quite literally. The kid was small but he would thrash in our arms when we’d hold him but if we tried to put him down the screaming would only get louder. More high-pitched. More ear stabby. Everything They said, (you know the assholes I’m talking about here, right? The ones who had 2.3 textbook children that were so easy the idiots thought THEY personally were responsible for how easy the kids were so they wrote lots of books telling you how stupid you are if you or your kids don’t act/react like THEIR kids did. Um, yeah. THAT THEY. ) Anywho, THEY said colic peaks at 6 weeks and should be gone entirely somewhere between 3 and 4 months. Only Keaton was just as screamy at 4 months as he had been at 2, so we just stuck with what we knew got us through each day and each night. .

It was not a pretty life to live. It is exhausting to live in fear of an act you have to commit on the average 5 times a day. At five months, he gave us a small 2.5 week reprieve. I had decided to schedule a test at Children’s hospital that involved tubes being shoved down his throat. And you know what that little bugger did the very same afternoon the test was scheduled? He slept for 2 and a half hours after being bounced for only 5 minutes. W.T.F. This is a fluke, I thought. That night he went down with minimal fuss, slept through the night and woke up 11 hours later with smiles and coos. He repeated this behavior for 5 more days and nights so I canceled the test. I was so freaking happy. Was the reflux medicine finally working? Dis something shift inside his brain that allowed for more sleep? Was it divine intervention? I did not care. My baby was happy and that was all that mattered. Then a week and a half later the screaming commenced again with renewed vigor and good God, we were lost. We had gotten a glimpse of what life was like with a happy, good-natured baby. We were devastated to go back to the rigorous jogging routines. To hear his screams waking everyone up 3-5 times a night.

We made more doctors appointments. We analyzed his diet, my diet (breastmilk), possible allergies or sensitivities and the recent weather patterns of the greater mid-west as they may give us SOME FRICKEN CLUE AS TO WHY OUR BABY SUCKED SO MUCH. It all came down to one resounding word. Behavioral. Keaton’s demeanor just so happened to be screamy and there wasn’t anything any doctor could do about it so please stop bothering them. (I should add at this point that his regular ped. was out on maternity leave for all of this. And although I am tempted to hate her for having the nerve to get pregnant at the same time as ME, she birthed twins and was probably not having the time of her life at this point either.) We didn’t think to re-try some of the things that we tried and didn’t work when he was 2 or 3 or 4 months. We were, quite literally, shell shocked, and couldn’t do anything but continue the bouncing routine and to just accept that we somehow produced the world’s angriest baby.

When I went to schedule Keaton’s 9 month appointment at the end of July, I asked if they knew when/if Keaton’s regular pediatrician was coming back from maternity leave. They told me she had just returned and I said screw the nine-month check-up for a month from now, I want him in to see her RIGHT NOW, as in he’s already in the car, lady- so fit us in. The doc, who hadn’t seen Keaton since his 6 week check-up when we all thought this was a really nasty bout of colic that would right itself in a few short weeks, was so patient. She listened to me while I told her everything that had happened in the last 6 and a half months and she carefully checked Keaton over and explained in detail why she agreed that it wasn’t anything physical. But she didn’t then tell me to “buck up” or say “oh, well there’s nothing we can do”. She told us that his behavioral response was not normal and that she would be more than willing to send us to a developmental pediatrician, who could help us figure out why Keaton chose to use such an ear-splitting screaming approach to communication and why he couldn’t calm himself down.

Before she set this up though, she wanted us to try one last thing. She knew we had attempted the Cry It Out approach out of desperation when Keaton was younger and it didn’t work but she asked if I’d be willing to try sleep training one more time. After resisting the urge to say “Bitch, please. We tried this. It failed.” I agreed that I would give it one more shot. Cry it out doesn’t at all jive with my much more hippy-like parenting leanings but we were beyond desperate. Keaton was older and she really felt that while he needed all the help we gave him to get him soothed to sleep when he was a younger babe, it had become a crutch. She felt he had outgrown his need of it and now had no idea how to soothe himself because we had been doing it for him for so long. She told me to be prepared- he could scream for an hour or more before finally falling asleep and that after three nights he still wasn’t catching on, we would know that was most likely not the issue.

That night, I brought him to his room. Read him 2 books, then sang him 3 songs while I rocked and cuddled him. I placed him drowsy but awake in his crib (which he had never slept in for more than 5 minutes before this night). And I walked out. He started crying a minute or two later. I did what the doctor advised which was to pour a glass of wine and go sit out on the deck where I couldn’t hear him. After 20 minutes I came back in and he was still crying. Not screaming, just normal baby cries. Then two minutes later he stopped. I had been prepared for hours of screams so I was a little shocked when after 22 minutes I heard silence. We waited a few minutes and then, like idiots, went to check to see if he was still alive. And there he was. Sleeping soundly.

And you know how many nights of cry it out we did after this? Zero. Every night after, we laid him down and he put himself to sleep without any tears within a few minutes. Same for naps. Not only was he going to sleep without the terrible jogging/bouncing/screaming routine, he was staying asleep. 11-12 hours a night, and 2 naps during the day, nearly 2 hours a piece. There are absolutely no words that could possibly describe the relief Bill and I felt. And how terrible we felt for not attempting it sooner. Clearly this kid needed something and we were so scared to change his routine that we didn’t consider our options. Mostly though, we were so very happy for our son to finally get the sleep he (and we!) very dearly needed. Keaton is still Keaton, which is to say, by nature a little more demanding and needy than your average kid, but now he was getting the rest he needed.

Does this mean I think the Cry It Out method is the end-all be-all in sleep solutions? HA. No, this is just another example of how parenting can challenge every ideal that you hold true. Every kid is different. What works for one is terrible for the next and vice-versa. Fourteen months later, Keaton has had his first lapse in sleep since we sleep trained him at nearly 8 months old, thanks to his parents’ super smart decision to take him to see fireworks. GO US. The screams brought us back to a place we would much rather forget. They were so intense that blood vessels broke all over his face and in his eyes, just like they had on many occasions during his first 8 months. I freeze up when I hear these screams. In all honesty I’m more than a little sure both Bill and I (and probably Rowan) have post traumatic stress disorder from Keaton’s infanthood. We made it out as stronger individuals, but we are in no way unscathed from all that screaming and the constant feeling that you were failing your kid, that you were helpless to make them better.

This time around we tuned into him. We evaluated the situation and tried different things. Leaving him to cry wasn’t helping him or us. We modified his bedtime routine and gave him a little extra love. A few nights later and all is right with the world again. He is sleeping soundly again, hopefully reassured by us that the fiery jaws of the sky aren’t going to open up and eat him whole. I’m not saying this whole experience was worth the lesson learned. No. I would never chose to go through this again and I can guarantee Bill won’t even read this post because he tenses up whenever I bring up The Screaming. However it doesn’t change the fact that situations like this can break a parent or can make them a better person, a better parent. In our case it did both. We had to break before we could do better. Keaton’s infancy wasn’t a pretty road to take, but it has gotten us to where we are now, which is the proud happy parents of a smart, funny, handsome little man who we just can’t get enough of.

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Once upon a time there was a little baby who was born into this world out of mutual love and adoration and that little baby thanked his smitten and doting parents for giving him life by screaming at them. All day. All night. Screams. Loud ones. This baby’s screams would make the most serene, patient and loving human being want to drive off a cliff at high speeds just to escape the particular pitch and tone of these screams. I am not a particularly serene or patient human being. But I am this baby’s mother and what do you know? We’re still alive. Mostly. This is our tale.

Keaton was born on December 4th, 2007. The room was really pretty quiet throughout my labor with him. Believe it or not, I am not a screamer and didn’t even  swear once during labor or delivery with either of my kids which is very strange if you know me because even on a good day I can’t walk from the couch to the fridge without swearing at least once. So here I was, happily numbed by the epidural, pushing with everything I had because I was so very ready to meet my son and I swear to you, Internet, he came out of my special place mid-scream. There was no “He’s here!” and then “Wahhhh”. No there was simply “He’s crowning, give me one more pu-” “AHHH WAHHHH WAHHH”. He was not pleased to be removed from his nice, dark, warm, private, ocean-view uterus, into an extremely narrow tunnel that led to a fridged tundra of bright lights, gloved hands, and sharp pokey instruments. He was pissed.

He was immediately placed on my chest where he calmed down long enough to take careful inventory of my face for future reference as to whom he should place all the blame for this horrific incident and then commenced screaming again. He did take a break long enough to mutilate my boobs, though! Later that evening after he had been assaulted with a bath and numerous newborn measurements and tests he calmed down and we spent that first night snuggling and feeding and getting to know one another. It was all quite perfect. The second evening was when the screaming kicked into full swing. He wouldn’t sleep, he would simply alternate between nursing and screaming. It wasn’t like it was with the first baby when your milk takes up to a week to come in. Milk was pouring out of me by day two. My body had done this before and was ready. The milk was there, and he was eating as displayed by his already very soggy (and um, muddy) diapers. So food wasn’t the issue. I was exhausted Bill was exhausted, the nurses just looked at us like, “your problem now, bitches” and so we “bucked up” and passed him back and forth between us that night- thinking something was bugging him but what, we couldn’t say. We would talk to his doctor in the morning.

After his pediatrician heard how our night went she said that it was possible I ate something that bothered him and it is really unusual for such a new baby to freak out like that. Normally colicky babies don’t show their true colors until they’re about 2 weeks old. It’s natures way of ensuring you bond with them before they drive you to the mad house. In other words, so you don’t kill them. And I am saying this only half jokingly because we’ve all seen the same news reports of babies being shaken to death. They made me watch the “Don’t shake your baby” video in the hospital after both kids, and both times I watched it I rolled my eyes and put it on mute half-way through so I could complain about how this was the dumbest thing I’d ever watched and anyone who shakes a baby has an IQ of less than 25, lives in a trailer park or is the incarnation of Satan. Possibly all three. Do I think that after living through Keaton’s babyhood? No. I don’t. I never once hurt him but I’d be lying if I said the thought didn’t cross my mind during his first 8 months. I somehow gathered the will power to trudge through hours and hours of screaming that continued on no matter how many techniques I tried. I certainly do not think violence on any helpless child is acceptable but now very much understand how some people could lose control. Not a pretty sentiment but it’s the truth.

When we came home every night after was the same. So much screaming. Newborns are supposed to sleep in short spurts somewhere around 18 hours a day. Not Mr. Sir. He hardly slept at all, even as a tiny brand new little thing. We tried soothing music, co-sleeping, different beds, baby massage, different routines, different feeding schedules, constant babywearing, and reflux medication among other things. No dice. There were numerous trips to a variety of doctors where we tried to relay the message that his screaming was nearly violent in nature and he seemed to be in terrible pain. Each time the doc pronounced him healthy and gave us a “buck-up” speech or a “this is totally normal” speech. So we were cowed and resorted to the only thing that seemed to sooth him, which was: 1. jogging in place with him until he drifted off . This usually took 25 minutes. On a good day maybe 15, but on many unlucky days it took around 45. This took place in the only room that didn’t get any sunlight and had a built in white noise maker. Yes. The bathroom. We are not proud but it was basically his nursery for 8 months. 2. Ever so carefully transferring him into his vibrating bouncy chair. You know! The one that says on its tag in all caps: WARNING: DO NOT PUT YOUR CHILD TO SLEEP IN THIS DEVICE. 3. Ever so sneakily making our exit without waking him up. And then we’d wait. Sometimes we’d get lucky and he’d nap for an hour, sometimes 15 minutes, but more often than not the nap lasted around 40 minutes. 40 minutes is not long enough, when chances are, you spent longer trying to get him to sleep than the time he actually spent sleeping.

But what were our options? When he was still a newborn, he would get up at night every 1.5 to 3 hours to eat. Every single time we’d have to listen to the screaming when it was time to lay him back down and fight to get him to sleep only for the whole process to repeat itself an hour or two later. All night. This lasted 3 months or so, until he started going longer stretches in between feedings. Then we were only fighting the screaming 2-3 times a night instead of 4-5. And when I say fighting, I mean it quite literally. The kid was small but he would thrash in our arms when we’d hold him but if we tried to put him down the screaming would only get louder. More high-pitched. More ear stabby. Everything They said, (you know the assholes I’m talking about here, right? The ones who had 2.3 textbook children that were so easy the idiots thought THEY personally were responsible for how easy the kids were so they wrote lots of books telling you how stupid you are if you or your kids don’t act/react like THEIR kids did. Um, yeah. THAT THEY. ) Anywho, THEY said colic peaks at 6 weeks and should be gone entirely somewhere between 3 and 4 months. Only Keaton was just as screamy at 4 months as he had been at 2, so we just stuck with what we knew got us through each day and each night. .

It was not a pretty life to live. It is exhausting to live in fear of an act you have to commit on the average 5 times a day. At five months, he gave us a small 2.5 week reprieve. I had decided to schedule a test at Children’s hospital that involved tubes being shoved down his throat. And you know what that little bugger did the very same afternoon the test was scheduled? He slept for 2 and a half hours after being bounced for only 5 minutes. W.T.F. This is a fluke, I thought. That night he went down with minimal fuss, slept through the night and woke up 11 hours later with smiles and coos. He repeated this behavior for 5 more days and nights so I canceled the test. I was so freaking happy. Was the reflux medicine finally working? Dis something shift inside his brain that allowed for more sleep? Was it divine intervention? I did not care. My baby was happy and that was all that mattered. Then a week and a half later the screaming commenced again with renewed vigor and good God, we were lost. We had gotten a glimpse of what life was like with a happy, good-natured baby. We were devastated to go back to the rigorous jogging routines. To hear his screams waking everyone up 3-5 times a night.

We made more doctors appointments. We analyzed his diet, my diet (breastmilk), possible allergies or sensitivities and the recent weather patterns of the greater mid-west as they may give us SOME FRICKEN CLUE AS TO WHY OUR BABY SUCKED SO MUCH. It all came down to one resounding word. Behavioral. Keaton’s demeanor just so happened to be screamy and there wasn’t anything any doctor could do about it so please stop bothering them. (I should add at this point that his regular ped. was out on maternity leave for all of this. And although I am tempted to hate her for having the nerve to get pregnant at the same time as ME, she birthed twins and was probably not having the time of her life at this point either.) We didn’t think to re-try some of the things that we tried and didn’t work when he was 2 or 3 or 4 months. We were, quite literally, shell shocked, and couldn’t do anything but continue the bouncing routine and to just accept that we somehow produced the world’s angriest baby.

When I went to schedule Keaton’s 9 month appointment at the end of July, I asked if they knew when/if Keaton’s regular pediatrician was coming back from maternity leave. They told me she had just returned and I said screw the nine-month check-up for a month from now, I want him in to see her RIGHT NOW, as in he’s already in the car, lady- so fit us in. The doc, who hadn’t seen Keaton since his 6 week check-up when we all thought this was a really nasty bout of colic that would right itself in a few short weeks, was so patient. She listened to me while I told her everything that had happened in the last 6 and a half months and she carefully checked Keaton over and explained in detail why she agreed that it wasn’t anything physical. But she didn’t then tell me to “buck up” or say “oh, well there’s nothing we can do”. She told us that his behavioral response was not normal and that she would be more than willing to send us to a developmental pediatrician, who could help us figure out why Keaton chose to use such an ear-splitting screaming approach to communication and why he couldn’t calm himself down.

Before she set this up though, she wanted us to try one last thing. She knew we had attempted the Cry It Out approach out of desperation when Keaton was younger and it didn’t work but she asked if I’d be willing to try sleep training one more time. After resisting the urge to say “Bitch, please. We tried this. It failed.” I agreed that I would give it one more shot. Cry it out doesn’t at all jive with my much more hippy-like parenting leanings but we were beyond desperate. Keaton was older and she really felt that while he needed all the help we gave him to get him soothed to sleep when he was a younger babe, it had become a crutch. She felt he had outgrown his need of it and now had no idea how to soothe himself because we had been doing it for him for so long. She told me to be prepared- he could scream for an hour or more before finally falling asleep and that after three nights he still wasn’t catching on, we would know that was most likely not the issue.

That night, I brought him to his room. Read him 2 books, then sang him 3 songs while I rocked and cuddled him. I placed him drowsy but awake in his crib (which he had never slept in for more than 5 minutes before this night). And I walked out. He started crying a minute or two later. I did what the doctor advised which was to pour a glass of wine and go sit out on the deck where I couldn’t hear him. After 20 minutes I came back in and he was still crying. Not screaming, just normal baby cries. Then two minutes later he stopped. I had been prepared for hours of screams so I was a little shocked when after 22 minutes I heard silence. We waited a few minutes and then, like idiots, went to check to see if he was still alive. And there he was. Sleeping soundly.

And you know how many nights of cry it out we did after this? Zero. Every night after, we laid him down and he put himself to sleep without any tears within a few minutes. Same for naps. Not only was he going to sleep without the terrible jogging/bouncing/screaming routine, he was staying asleep. 11-12 hours a night, and 2 naps during the day, nearly 2 hours a piece. There are absolutely no words that could possibly describe the relief Bill and I felt. And how terrible we felt for not attempting it sooner. Clearly this kid needed something and we were so scared to change his routine that we didn’t consider our options. Mostly though, we were so very happy for our son to finally get the sleep he (and we!) very dearly needed. Keaton is still Keaton, which is to say, by nature a little more demanding and needy than your average kid, but now he was getting the rest he needed.

Does this mean I think the Cry It Out method is the end-all be-all in sleep solutions? HA. No, this is just another example of how parenting can challenge every ideal that you hold true. Every kid is different. What works for one is terrible for the next and vice-versa. Fourteen months later, Keaton has had his first lapse in sleep since we sleep trained him at nearly 8 months old, thanks to his parents’ super smart decision to take him to see fireworks. GO US. The screams brought us back to a place we would much rather forget. They were so intense that blood vessels broke all over his face and in his eyes, just like they had on many occasions during his first 8 months. I freeze up when I hear these screams. In all honesty I’m more than a little sure both Bill and I (and probably Rowan) have post traumatic stress disorder from Keaton’s infanthood. We made it out as stronger individuals, but we are in no way unscathed from all that screaming and the constant feeling that you were failing your kid, that you were helpless to make them better.

This time around we tuned into him. We evaluated the situation and tried different things. Leaving him to cry wasn’t helping him or us. We modified his bedtime routine and gave him a little extra love. A few nights later and all is right with the world again. He is sleeping soundly again, hopefully reassured by us that the fiery jaws of the sky aren’t going to open up and eat him whole. I’m not saying this whole experience was worth the lesson learned. No. I would never chose to go through this again and I can guarantee Bill won’t even read this post because he tenses up whenever I bring up The Screaming. However it doesn’t change the fact that situations like this can break a parent or can make them a better person, a better parent. In our case it did both. We had to break before we could do better. Keaton’s infancy wasn’t a pretty road to take, but it has gotten us to where we are now, which is the proud happy parents of a smart, funny, handsome little man who we just can’t get enough of.

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Keaton, Sir! You are 16 months old!!

Here are your stats:

Height: 31 Inches (41%)

Weight: 23 lbs. 3 oz. (25%)

Noggin: 18.5 In (41%)

Every time anyone sees you they think you are such a chunk, but here are the numbers to prove them wrong. You’re only in the 25% for weight! I think most people who say that are using Rowan as a benchmark and if that’s the case then you ARE a chunk.

The last month was dominated by teeth and sickness. Your mouth is now the proud owner of 3 molars, 2 eyeteeth on top and the bottom eyeteeth and that last molar are well on their way. Your pediatrician assured us you are almost done with The Great Fucking Tooth Eruption of Aught Nine. Oh please God LET IT BE OVER SOON.

You got your first bout of the stomach flu. That was fun.

You’ve also spent the better part of the last two weeks with a really icky cold. You do not let colds go easily- you hang on to the snot for dear life. Although I will admit it is disgustingly cute when you take a tissue and attempt to wipe your nose by yourself. You do get in a couple of good wipes before you put it in your mouth. Disgusting was the key word there.

Baths have somehow turned into your arch enemy. Before you got the stomach flu, you loved bath time and we can’t figure out what about that experience made you hate them other than that we took you in the bathroom when it was time to throw up. The bath didn’t make you sick Keaton. THAT honor belongs to your sister, so hate her- not the bath. You get really stinky, especially when you do that awesome trick where you mush a banana up into a fine paste and then rub it in your hair. You need to forgive the bath because mama and dad are sick of the thrashing and the kicking and the what-have-yous.

Speaking of baths, I know you walked off with and hid that bottle of 10 dollar organic baby shampoo/bodywash. TELL MAMA WHERE IT IS, BABY!

You have graduated from shouting “eh, eh, eh, eh, EHHHHHHHHH” when you want something, to saying “meeno meeno meeno meeno” repeatedly until you get what you want. Believe it or not this is a HUGE improvement.

Now when you trip and fall or bump your head, you give a pathetic sigh and say “Owwww”. So cute.

Here’s what’s not cute: You hit now. Me. The cats. Your dad. The dog. Your sister. Especially that last one. You and Rowan got into your first fist fight this month (sadly, the camera was not handy and I had my hands full peeling you off each other). We’re desperately trying to curb this behavior, and have been saying “ouch, no hit!” and walking away when you get hitty. However you are persistent and will just follow behind me and hit the back of my knees. Knock it off, mean baby.

We had our last breastfeeding session this month. Ours was a long journey but so worth it. I cherish and am so proud of those 15 months worth of feedings. You’re a hard bugger, Keaton, but also a really amazing little guy.

You have finally attached to a lovey. You and Banky and your nukka-nuk are inseparable, which results in a precious little phenomenon we call, The Snuggles.

Oh, I almost forgot, you are a genius, now. You can count to eight! We walk you up and down the steps and you count them as we go. Well, the first eight anyway.

Your vocabulary has continued to grow, here are some of your shiny new words: Sock, sheep, ouch, phone, cup, banky, potty, block, shoe, car (which you say with a Bostonian accent) and hot. Also, we can tell you understand most of what we say to you and you can follow one to two step commands like “Go to Rowan’s room and get the ball”. Your communication skills are improving everyday. We also love to watch baby signs. You adamantly refuse to sign but the DVDs teach you new words, which is great!

You love to play in the dishwasher when mama is cleaning the kitchen and you love to play with Rowan’s toy kitchen. Good, baby. I smell a future chef! Someone’s gonna have to cook for me when your dad’s gone.

Whatever your sister is doing or has, you also need to be doing or have. This has resulted in you getting suckers and doing your first painting way earlier than we would have planned for.

You also love to play with “caaas” (cars), the big blocks, the wooden stacking train, Curious George flash cards, and phones of any kind (but mostly the real one that you can now reach, press the talk button and leave lay for 78 minutes and 34 seconds before I find it).

You are completely weaned from Organic Gerber baby mush. Yay!

This month we made the big switch to cloth diapers. We were a little nervous about the upfront cost, increased laundry and more hands-on-ness they require but, wow, we love them. And you look SO cute in them, which has resulted in all this months pictures being taken without your pants on.

Enjoy the baby ba-donk-a-donk butt!!

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