Wednesday, May 30, 2007

aw hail no

It hailed yesterday. Marble/grape sized. It looked like it was raining a million white marbles really hard and really fast. Thank goodness for carports.

In other news, wow it's really hard to find time to blog. Or shower. Or brush teeth. Or [insert activity of your choice here]. Babies take up a lot of time.
On the mooshy gooshy cutesie tootsie front, aw I just love my little girl to pieces. My daughter. Still seems strange to say. Like maybe that repo man might show up again and take her back. I'd like to see him try. Did I mention that she's adorable? And also brilliant. She is cooing and gurgling more and more. No doubt she'll be working on her masters thesis soon. Also she is getting huuuge. It's good to know the thousands of hours of nursing time I've clocked since her birth are not for nothing. We estimate her to be 12+ pounds now. She has a checkup coming up on Friday, so we'll report back with exact facts & figures.

Oh so I guess the last time I had much to say about Roan we were about to try putting her on a routine, and also dealing with more and more crankiness. Boy, we've come a long way baby. I learned that 1) if you think your child might have colic then he/she does NOT have colic and 2) if you don't let your baby nap enough they will get so grumpy you might think they have colic. I read this book (yes! another book) called Babywise which I do not agree with in its entirety but I must concede totally saved our bacon here. They suggest putting your child on a 3-hour eat-play-sleep routine, allowing them to sleep as much as 1-2 hours out of every 3.

This was a lot more sleep than we were letting Roan get, especially after 6 pm or so when I thought she better stay up to help her sleep longer at night. It's not like I was using the sleep deprivation techniques employed at Guantanimo or anything; I just wasn't recognizing that her fussy cries in the evening were because the poor thing needed a nap. The beauty of the eat-play-sleep routine is that it pretty much takes the guesswork out of why she's crying. When she wakes up crying I know it's because she's hungry. After feeding we play until she gets fussy again, which I know means she's tired. It's that simple. I couldn't believe that the very first day we started trying this approach she hardly cried all day, and when she was awake she had many more happy moments.

The other thing that's great about the Babywise routine is that now I feel much more confident about leaving the house with her and not having to worry about her having a major fuss attack. Basically, after I feed her we can go for a walk or go to the grocery store or get in the car or whatever. She'll stay awake as long as she wants and then fall off to sleep. I usually get a 1-2 hour window before she then wakes up and needs to be fed again. It's worked great.

PS. We have some new photos posted on Roan's site:
If you forgot the username/password, just email me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

If these walls could talk

It's been a while since I checked in... I'll post some new pictures soon. In the meanwhile I thought I'd mention some puzzling anecdotes about our house. It seems this place comes with a a history.

You all know of course about the pipe bomb we found under sheetrock in our attic. In addition to the mystery explosive, it seems every time we open a wall we find some new curiosity. In the course of converting the old 1-car attached garage into our new office, we opened two walls and found a small aluminum frying pan (what?) and three truly hideous ties pinned together that must've been in there since the house was built in 1952.

Since we have lived here we've also had some curious visitors. One day Arwen answered a knock at the door and found himself face-to-face with some sort of repo man. The guy was asking for someone we'd never heard of - niether the former tenant nor the previous owner. When Arwen assured him he'd never heard of the individual in question, the repo man looked him up and down suspiciously and then reluctantly left.

But the most perplexing encounter was one day when Jen was home alone and answered the door. She heard a knock and was surprised to find a very short Asian gentleman standing on the stoop, wearing an eye patch over one eye inquiring into the whereabouts of a certain "Miss Ambrosia." When she replied that the lady in question was no longer living here, he was undeterred. "But where did she go? Have you seen her daughter? She used to live here too..." Jen could hardly get the guy to leave. When she told me about it, I couldn't help but wonder what kind of person goes by the moniker 'Miss Ambrosia'?

So we're left to surmise that this house has had a storied past. It seeming has served as a workshop for a would-be joke bomb maker, a home to some mystery man who loved fried eggs and wore ugly ties, a hideout to debtors, and a brothel catering to one-eyed Chinese midgets. Wow we must seem really boring by comparison.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

To all the mamas, grandmamas, great-grandmamas, doggy mamas and so on out there: Happy Mother's Day. Mine sure was.

It was just a quiet day around the house for me looking after Roan. I love the weekends because I can just focus on her without trying to squeeze in work or other distractions. Not so quiet for Arwen who worked like crazy on the house yet again. We've (he's) made great progress, but man! the list of what remains to be done is long.

This was our first weekend on our own without Aunt Jen around. (She went out of town to hang out with a dear friend and attend a book signing with Chuck Palahniuk.) I'll be honest. I was worried this weekend would be a disaster. I rely so much on Jen day in and day out to look after the baby here and there while I work, clean house, run laundry, grocery shop, etc. I am happy to report, however, that not only did we survive the weekend, we did just fine.

The weather in Denver is beautiful right now - daytime highs in the 80's and lows in the 50's at night - so we did a lot of hanging out in the backyard hammock (me) and swing (Roan). We took walks to the park, the library, the yarn store (just browsing). And then tonight Arwen took me out for my first sushi dinner in nearly a year. It was fantastic. We took Roan along and she was not a perfect angel, but she didn't cry too much. Eventually she passed out and we enjoyed dinner out like two civilized adults. Refreshing!

Roan is doing well. She's still struggling with cranky moments here and there, but in between she is smiling more, cooing more, and more aware of the world around her. Arwen and I think she's ready for some added structure in her life. Up to this point we've pretty much gone with the flow as far as her eat/play/sleep schedule is concerned. She and I have also been sharing a bed at night, to help facilitate those middle of the night feedings (and, to be honest, I have just loved sleeping next to her at night).

Now we're going to try getting her on to a more regular routine, so both she and I know better what to expect from our day. She is also going to sleep in her crib for the first time tonight (a big step for both of us). It's hard to explain, but she just seems ready to become integrated into our lives rather than have us revolve around her.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Did I *actually* say this child never cries?

Uh, scratch that folks. We have entered a new phase. Gone are the good old quiet days, so tragically short-lived. Roan has begun to find her voice. The good news is that she has strong lungs. Very strong.

They say it's pretty typical at around 4-6 weeks for babies to start getting fussier, crying more, being harder to soothe, and having a harder time with gas. These are the symptoms of what gets the blanket label of "colic." And it seems our perfect angel is not exempt from this next stage in development.

For the most part it hasn't been too bad. And by "too bad" I mean I haven't jumped off any bridges yet. It's weird. She can go from smiling and cooing one minute to writhing and shrieking the next. She pulls her legs in and makes the most piteous frowny faces, seeming to suffer from terrible gas pains. And she can produce a symphony of bodily function noises to go with it - burping, gurgling, farting, pooping and spitting up.

One of the challenges of dealing with these fussy periods is that they are unpredictable as to when they will strike. If we get a hankering to go out to eat, we don't know whether she'll sleep through the meal or scream through it. And when I wake up in the morning I don't know if we'll be having a fussy start to the day or if all will be well till it's time for bed at night. It's just sort of moment to moment.

I think we're managing pretty well. When it's really bad Arwen, Jen and I take turns passing her around, patting her this way or bouncing her that way until finally something works. It's usually a matter of working our way through the dozen or two possible methods of soothing her until finally something does the trick.

I will say that I had two horrendous nights with her last week. I think the problem wasn't colic but a growth spurt instead. For two days straight she basically wanted to nurse all the time - instead of every 2-3 hours it was more like every hour. And instead of sleeping at night for a 4-5 hour stretch, she was awake and crying every hour or 2, sometimes every 45 minutes. And for those two days, if she wasn't nursing or sleeping she was screaming. I would get up in the morning wrecked but still facing a full day of Mommy Duty. It was not pretty. Jen and Arwen really stepped up though, watching her so I could sneak in a nap or a shower. And then - mercifully - after two days of agony she resumed a more normal routine as far as nursing and sleeping. All I can say is I'm glad that's behind us.

Even though it turns out our child is an actual human baby and not a perfect angel, she is still pretty terrific. Even on the days with the worst crying (except for the 2 days mentioned above which will forever live in infamy) she has her funny cute moments too. She always wakes up with a big, contagious smile on her face. She cracks me up with how engrossed she is by the mobile that hangs above her crib. I can lay her down crying for a diaper change, and one glimpse of that mobile and she's smiling and cooing. I mean what is it about clouds, moons and stars that is just so freaking hilarious? I also love the way her cheeks are taking over her face as she fattens up nicely. I adore the dimples in her elbows and the backs of her hands. Her little feet with their oversized toes are so cute. And when she's not crying with tummy pains, she sure smiles a lot. More rarely, she coos. And once she even seemed to laugh. I love the way she looks right into my eyes as she nurses. And when she falls asleep at my breast with a look of utter contentment on her peaceful face. Those are the moments I just soak up like a sponge.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Happy One Month Roan

Well over the past weeks I've posted quite a bit about the ordeal we went through getting Roan here, as well as how I've felt about being a mom so far. But I haven't shared very much about what our little girl is like, and what she's been up to so far.

I would have to say that Roan has a great disposition. She seems by nature pretty easygoing, not especially prone to cry or fuss for no reason. She doesn't usually cry when I change her diaper; often the only sign I have that she's hungry is the way she sticks her tongue out. She's very tolerant of noise - whether it's the tv or loud voices or doggies barking.

The morning is her best time of the day. She always wakes up with bright eyes and a big smile on her face. When I smile back at her sometimes she even brightens more and gives a little coo.

One of her favorite things to do is to lie in her crib and stare up at her mobile or into her mirror. She's very interested in faces - whether mine, her Daddy's, Aunt Jen's, or her own. She also loves her playyard that rocks (literally!) and has a mirror. She loves to be held, talked to, read to, and sung to. I feel bad for the poor kid on that last account, given the fact that I can't carry a tune in a bucket.

The evenings are the tougher time for her. As bedtime approaches she starts to have a harder time nursing and just being her normal happy self. She seems to have more tummy troubles as she cranks out the dirty diapers one after another. Mom, Dad and Aunt Jen usually take turns swaddling, shushing, patting and jiggling her back to contentment.

Lately she's been working on some new tricks. She has been seen sucking her thumb - although this is a rare occurrence - which I of course am convinced is a sign of intelligence. She surprised us from birth with how strong she is, but as each day goes by she gets stronger and more coordinated. She can support her head pretty well, and she can even lift her body weight onto her legs. She gets a little "tummy time" every day, which gives her a chance to build her arm, neck and leg muscles. I'm convinced she'll be crawling before too long.

She is also starting to become more vocal. It seems to happen more in the morning that she will emit an occasional coo while staring at her mobile or mirror. We all hang on every noise and talk back to her, trying to encourage her to express herself.

FYI, I posted some new photos of Roan at her web site (If you don't have the login info, email me and I'll send it to you) :

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Happy Birthday Jen

I haven't managed to get to the blog since Jen's birthday last Thursday, the 26th. Happy 29th Jen! I thought I'd post a photo. Doug happened to be in town on business, so he graced us with his presence out to dinner at LOLA, a trendy Mexican-nouveau restaurant in our hood. We drank well, ate well and enjoyed good company. And it was Roan's first dinner out. She slept through the whole thing, can you believe that?!