Wednesday, July 28, 2010

9w 3d brewers

official two-month Fletcher photo

Time to stock up on size 2 diapers. This little man weighed in at 12 pounds, 10.5 ounces and almost 24 inches long at his checkup on Monday. That's just a little longer and a little heavier than the average two-month-old. He's healthy and normal, and was fairly stoic about the medicine shoved down his throat and the three shots stabbed into his thighs.

Still, Monday may have been the most fussy day he's had so far, starting long before his doctor's appointment. Hungry but won't eat. Tired but won't sleep. Dealing with this first real test, I got panicky... because that night was his very first Brewers game, and I'm not equipped yet to know how to handle a loud baby in a public place.

But I should've known Fletcher wouldn't disappoint. He slept through the tailgate party, ate like a champ during the first half of the game, and was happy to be passed around for the second half. It didn't hurt that the Brewers won, as well.

Fletcher knows how to party

His next doctor's appointment is when he's four months old in September. At that point, we're going to discuss introducing solid foods, something I thought was light years away!

Although I love each stage of Fletcher's babyhood, it isn't that I'm sad to see him reach new stages of development. Each day is one of change and excitement and joy. He slept more yesterday and last night than he ever has before -- maybe he was tired out by a growth spurt. I swear today he looks older than he did yesterday, with a look of boyhood starting in his baby face. The part of me that worries this is all going too fast is the part that makes sure I don't take for granted a single moment of this precious time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

8w 4d parenting

My boys watching TV

I love this picture. There is something so 1950s about it in black and white.

Fletcher is growing at high speed. Every day, he's longer and heavier. Pretty soon he'll be wearing his 3-6 month outfits, though they'll undoubtedly be baggy on my lean little guy.

His personality is beginning to shine. We're getting giggles and gurgling and conversations (we discuss quantum physics and the meaning of life). It's exciting knowing that this part is only going to keep getting better. He still has no interest in toys or bouncers or dangling things. When I attempt to get him to play, he looks at me like, "What am I, a cat?"

Monday night, Fletcher slept for the longest stretch yet -- from 7:30 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. Tuesday night, he only fed at 9:30 p.m., 2:30 a.m., and 5:30 a.m. I'm taking it as a sign that he's perfectly healthy (read: not spoiled) and is working his way up to sleeping through the night, on his own. This morning was a special circumstance, as Fletcher's stuffy nose escalated to the point where he wasn't getting enough air to allow him to sleep or even eat. The nose aspirator by itself wasn't much good, as Fletcher's parents neglected to stock saline solution.

While nighttime is a breeze, daytime is another matter. Andy has testified that Fletch can cry for six minutes straight and then stop and fall asleep as soon as daddy holds him. Probably not ideal.

Hey you!

My goal has been to give this little man anything and everything that he wants and needs. And really, during the hours that I'm home, he isn't very needy. Part of me wishes he was, since it seems like I need him more than he needs me.

I know this isn't everyone's parenting approach. I may draw criticism for quickly answering every cry, and still having him sleep in his cradle in my bedroom. I have the advantage no one else has of ending fussiness with the breastfeeding cure-all. Having him there in the room is convenient... but also a comfort for me.

There are as many ways to parent as there are people in the world. Nearly two months in, I'm sure that I'm already not following the guidelines in the books. Normally, that would freak me out. But I know we have the important things down. So far he is healthy, happy and loved, so loved, by the people around him. I know that love can hurt a child if it turns a parent into a weak disciplinarian, but if I stop trusting my instincts I'll go insane.

happy baby

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

7w 3d fame

During my pregnancy, I would periodically send in "bump" photos to the Graco blog, to try to get featured in their weekly "Bundles, Bumps, and Babies" posts. I never got a response.

Of course, the very first time I sent in a photo of Fletch, he got an immediate reaction. Check out the famous baby!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

7w 2d friend

Life after baby.

I used to think about earlier times in my life, like high school, and wish I could go back for a short while just to enjoy it again, and remember the feeling of what life was like then. No job, no mortgage. Going to class. Living in the dorm with my roommates. Every meal prepared for me in the cafeteria.

Now that Fletcher exists, the part of my life where he didn't exist feels lightweight, like those years and experiences just don't have the substance they once did. They're becoming opaque.

Growing up, Fletch won't have experienced life without Andy and me, and his day-to-day routine will seem like the only way. It's interesting being a parent and having the perspective of life before and life after.

Howie, the husband of one of Andy's step-sisters and father of two, said to me, "You couldn't have imagined what life would be like with the baby, but now you would never go back, right?" Of course he's right.

When my lunch hour was over and I needed to leave home to return to work, Fletch was almost asleep on top of a blanket on the living room floor, and Andy was sleeping on the couch. I woke Andy up to tell him I was leaving, and he wondered if he and Fletch needed to relocate back to the (closed) bedroom. I said I wasn't too worried. I should've known better.

When Andy woke up, he found Fletcher still sleeping on the floor, and Walker Kitty Ranger snuggled right up against him. And this was a day after Andy left Fletch unattended for a couple short minutes and returned to find his hair all wet, courtesy of a kitty bath. It looks like Walker is going to be baby's best friend.

Well, in an effort to make being separated from Fletcher a little easier, I've begun a Fletcher YouTube channel. The videos aren't exciting, but they help me. If anyone wants to watch the videos, or has a YouTube account and wants to "subscribe" to his videos, just go to

Saturday, July 10, 2010

6w 6d comparison

Andy was looking through baby albums last night, and we noticed something. Sorry, Fletcher. You're looking like your mommy! For comparison...



There are some things I want to make sure I don't forget in the many years we have ahead of us. Little things, like the chipmunk noises he makes. The way his hair won't lay down no matter what we try. How he tries to eat his forearm when he gets desperate, how he opens his eyes wide and flails his arms and makes spit bubbles. How good it feels to hold him. His sweet smell after he eats. His rapidly changing facial expressions.

Sometimes when you smile at him, he responds with a smile of his own, and there's nothing more perfect in the world.

As awful as it sounds, I don't want to forget his astonishing... digestive system. In the middle of the night, Andy and I have heard him over in his cradle let it rip for a good fifteen seconds and we both just laugh. Is it terrible to be proud of your child's bowel movements?

I realized last night, when I finally had him in my arms after a very long day without, that part of what makes it so difficult being away from him is the way he changes every single day. Last night he had his hands in fists and he was beating them against me while he fed. It was something he'd never done before.

Every day he gets even stronger, even longer, even more amazing.

P.S. What do you think of the new blog design?

Friday, July 9, 2010

6w 5d ghost

Yesterday, Andy was kind enough to pick up some drive-thru for lunch and bring Fletcher to my office. Then the three of us went to my doctor appointment, where I got a nod of approval, a prescription for progesterone-only birth control, and was sent on my merry way.

The physical normality makes me feel like I should be back to normal emotionally as well. Not the case.

The lost feeling is still here, no less intense. But about 50 percent of the time, it's quiet -- a little more hidden, a little less obvious that a huge part of me is gone... It's like I'm less substantial away from him. A ghost.

He's a bit like fuel. The longer I'm with him, the more full my tank. The longer I'm away, the closer I get to empty. By the time my lunch hour rolls around, I'm getting pretty desperate, and the time with him isn't long enough to take me back to full.

Fridays, when I can't hold him until 6:30 or so at night, I'm pretty well destroyed for most of the day.

What is it that makes it so impossible to be away? It's not like I don't trust Andy or the rest of our family. It's not like I don't realize how incredibly spoiled I am by this arrangement. But I still find myself spending the day obsessing... is he crying right now? Sleeping? Cooing? Thirsty? The root of the problem seems to be that if I were home right now there would be no wondering. So why is "wondering" so terrible, when I'm not actually worried about his care?

Why am I unsatisfied that anyone other than me is meeting his needs?

pooped family on independence day

Note the final novel in the Harry Potter series. I started the first one on the morning I went into labor. Finishing the series this week felt a little like closure. I'm not sure I like it. I kind of feel like picking up book one again. I'd read the Twilight Saga for the twentieth time if it weren't for the fact that Andy would kill me... or worse, burn the books...

From "Impossible" by Shontelle, a song that has been stuck in my head all week.
Tell them all I know now
Shout it from the roof tops
Write it on the sky line
All we had is gone now

Tell them I was happy
And my heart is broken
All my scars are open
Tell them what I hoped would be

Saturday, July 3, 2010

5w 6d reason

The reason I let myself get stretched thin:

He's so worth it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

5w 5d sun

I miss my brand new newborn.

Every day I love Fletcher more. It's almost as if the bigger he grows, the larger his gravitational pull. He's the sun to me.


This face right here? This face is the one responsible for changing my entire life.

Until the moment he was born, I had never seen something so fresh and delicate and precious. I will forever remember those two days in the hospital as the most special days of my life (so far). The moment he was born the pain didn't matter; the recovery didn't dampen any of it.

I lay in bed both days and nights just staring at him, at that scrunched up little face, that head-full of soft hair, the squished nose and one eye that wouldn't open as big as the other, those skinny arms and legs and fingers and toes that were just then experiencing the open air and the touch of our hands for the first time.

This is the baby that I will always associate with the biggest and greatest moment of my life.

I love my son today more than I thought I could ever love anything. I can still miss the newborn, though, right?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

5w 4d superwoman

Today is bad, like the first day. Worse, maybe, crying more. It's sinking in that when my baby needs attention I'm not there to give it to him. When he's hungry I'm not there to feed him. When he's awake and quietly curious (my favorite), I'm not there to stare back at him and make smiles with him and share life with him. Three days was long enough -- too long; how can I get through today and tomorrow?

Tomorrow will be the worst, as Andy or I will have to drive Fletcher to Hartford before work, and drive back to get him after work. I won't have my lunch time with him. He will no longer be 12 minutes away. He'll be on the other side of the county and I will have to experience, again, the greatest separation of distance and time that there has ever been between us.

Then this weekend, which I had counted on as my recovery time, has been overrun with plans. Everyone wants Fletcher. What I want is to relive maternity leave for three days -- just the three of us at home, focused at all times on giving Fletcher what he needs and wants at every moment of the day.

But maternity leave -- those beautiful, brief weeks where I could be the mom that I want to be -- is really over. I can't believe I won't get to experience that again, at least not until we have another baby. I can't be selfish anymore. Nearly six weeks in, and I'm supposed to be adjusted already.

Realization: I am not superwoman. No amount of effort will fix this fault.

If I'm honest with myself, I'm sure that Fletcher hasn't noticed any difference and I'm sure that he's perfectly happy with life. He doesn't go back to the doctor for almost four weeks. He has a fairly severe rash on his face and head (cheeks especially), of which we aren't sure the cause. We're being careful not to touch it or put anything more than water on it, and now we just need to be patient and non-panicked while we wait for it to go away.