Monday, January 29, 2007

one month as a mother

Dear Gabriel,

You are one month old today, and I need someone to explain to me how my baby could be 4 weeks old already. If feels like you were born yesterday, and I still find myself staring at you and marveling that you lived inside of me. I watch your movements and stretches and recognize the motion as the kicks and rolls I felt in my belly. It still amazes me to imagine that you were the same little being I carried with me for 9 months. Time flies by, and I'm torn between wanting to know you more and wanting time to stand still.

Your personality comes out more every day, and you are such a sweet calm boy. Every day with you is a pleasure. You still sleep most of the time, but as your awake and alert hours stretch, you are content to sit in our arms or in your bouncy seat and listen to us chatter on to you. I've realized that you know me now, and you calm more quickly and easily when you hear my voice than anyone else's, and that is a wonderful thing. I love being your mother.

You sleep for longer stretches at night, usually 4 hours but sometimes more. Your nighttime feedings have shortened also, so I feel more rested when we wake up for the day. I'm still getting up during the night, but sitting up feeding you for 20-30 minutes is far easier than the hour+ we were doing before. I can't complain, though, because I still love to sit in the dark with you while you eat. You go right to sleep afterwards, and even though I'm exhausted, I still miss you after I've put you down. It is shocking to me to discover how all consuming my love for you is.

Your daddy and I change too, I've noticed. We are more confident and assured as parents. We change diapers faster, respond to your needs faster, and we decipher your protestations faster. It feels amazing to know that one yell means you are hungry, while another grunt means that you have to poop. It helps that you only complain about those two things. Your dad says that you are clearly all boy.

A few of your sleepers don't fit you anymore, including the one you wore home from the hospital. Your dad claims that you've grown out of them, but I suspect that the dryer shrunk them, and I won't accept any other explanation. Your one month doctor's appointment is this week, and we're anxious to hear just how much you've grown. Just try not to grow too fast, my little peanut.

For the past couple of days, I've tried to rock you to sleep and you won't close your eyes. You sit and look up at me, and wait until I put you down to sleep in your bassinet. Once I've wrapped you up and laid you down, you talk to the sides of your bassinet before drifting off to sleep. It makes me just the tiniest bit sad that you have already learned that you don't need your mommy to sleep. I know both of us will be grateful in the future, but I guess I imagined that you would change slower.

I know I'm biased, but you are the most adorable, beautiful, wonderful, snuggly baby in the whole world. Your father and I are so blessed, and we are so grateful for the wonderful gift you are. It has only been a month, but I cannot imagine my life without you. I cannot imagine ever needing anything more than this.

You are the love of our lives. We cannot wait to explore the world with you.


Friday, January 26, 2007


When your baby has a poop blowout, and you go into the bathroom at the coffee shop and find that there is no changing table, and it is beyond freezing outside so changing him in the car is out of the question, what do you do?

Do you...

(a) Let him sit in his poopy diaper for the next couple of hours until you go home?

(b) March out and change him on top of one of the tables in the coffee shop?

(c) Cry?

(d) Sit on the toilet, balancing your baby on your lap, holding him with one hand, while trying to wrestle the messy dirty diaper with the other hand, wiping him, butt-pasting him and getting a diaper on him, all while trying to make sure he doesn't slide off your lap onto his head?

Please share. Advice is welcome.

Today was our first day flying solo without Josh or my mom, and I'm happy to report that we survived. I had hoped to shower, eat, straighten up the living room and run a load of laundry, all in addition to taking care of Gabe. I managed to shower once I discovered that Gabe sits in awed silence while the bathroom fan and shower water runs. I even managed to eat one-handed over his head while he ate, but straightening up the house or doing laundry flew out the window. Gabriel decided to stay awake for most of the day, so we read a book together and changed lots of diapers and he ate a lot, but didn't get anything else done.

I still consider it a success, and I guess we'll get better at everything else with time.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Having a boy means different milestones abound... Like the first time he peed on his father (December 31, 2006), or the first time he peed on his own face (January 3, 2007), or the first time he peed on his mother (not counting in utero- January 5, 2007). At this point, we've lost track.

Then there are the typical milestones, the first day the three of us went out (January 5, 2007) the day he lost his umbilical cord (January 17, 2007- three whole weeks!), the day of his first bath (also January 17, 2007), the first time he held his head up (January 20, 2007, although to be fair, he's been holding up his head for short bouts since he was born), the first pumped bottle (January 16, 2007), the day I caught the dog, Tango, eating diaper shit (January 14, 2007).

Every day brings something new, some of the moments are important and some of them are not, but at the end of the day I find myself wishing that I could write all of these things down because I hate to forget them, even the little things. For the first week we were home, Josh and my mom kept a careful tally of when Gabriel ate, peed and pooped. I found this secretly hilarious, but to their faces I'd pretend to take it as seriously as they did. Josh even put together a chart on Excel, with different columns and different methods of recording the pees and poops. He even had a section for comments, you know, like "peed on Dad", "pooped on couch". After we went to the pediatrician and Gabriel was gaining weight well, and his dirty diapers were happening at a record pace, the two of them eventually phased out the chart. I forgot about that chart until today, and that made me a little sad.

Last night Gabriel smiled at his Daddy, and to avoid any doubts, he did it a couple times in a row in response to Josh's singing. After Josh left the room, I told Gabriel in no uncertain terms that the smile was sweet and all, but if he wants the milk to keep flowing, he better produce some gummy grins for this mommy asap. Josh burps him and changes almost all the dirty diapers, but I feed him, and damnit, that better count for more.

Before I forget, yesterday was a series of milestones. We went to the mall for the first time, breastfed and changed him in a department store fitting room, we had to pull over to breastfeed him in the Post Office parking lot, I had to change a dirty diaper on my lap in the car, and then he peed on me in the middle of the changing. We also went out to dinner for the first time, I breastfed at the Olive Garden (covered up) and got my first disgusted look for doing so, even though the woman could see neither breast nor child underneath my cover. It stung a little.

Things are still wonderful, though. Gabriel is the sweetest baby. He never cries, literally never. The last time he uttered any wails was the day of his bris. He will let out solitary squawks when he is displeased with us, and he scrunches up his face into the most pitiful pouty face you've ever seen, but he doesn't actually cry. He lets me sleep 4-5 hours at a stretch at nighttime and feeds every 3 hours in the daytime. Every day he stays awake for longer and longer, and is contented to listen to me babble to him. He is a dream, I can't believe our luck. And he's pretty cute to boot- don't you think? We're definitely keeping him.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

national delurking week

I'm sneaking in here before the week is officially over, since it's delurking week!

Now that Gabriel is here, I totally understand how much easier it is to read and not comment! Babies are indeed a lot of work!

But we do love to read all of your comments around here, and really, Gabriel might cry if you don't delurk to say hi.

You don't want to make baby Gabe cry, now do you?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

two weeks

Dear Gabriel,

I can't believe you're finally here, and at the same time I can't remember life without you. I've spent months imagining what you would be like- whether you'd be your daddy's little girl or your mommy's boy, whether you'd be a troublemaker or an angel, whether you'd have my dimples or your father's cleft chin. In the end, though, I never imagined that you'd be this wonderful, this adorable, this beautiful in my eyes. I love you so much already, I can't stop counting your fingers and toes and running my fingers along your rapidly expanding cheeks.

I worried so much before you were born. I didn't know what kind of mother I'd be and whether I'd be able to take care of you, but I realize now that with this much love, I could never do anything less than my best. Maybe that won't be enough sometimes, but I'll try my hardest to be the mom that you need.

Last night, I stared at you over the edge of your bassinet and I missed you, even though you were less than 12 inches away from me. I closed my eyes and thanked God for the hundredth time since you have arrived into my life, for this precious blessed gift.

I love you so much. I love you so much. I love you so much. More than I ever thought possible.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

what a difference a week makes!

40 weeks

Showing the limits of just how far your skin can stretch!

41 weeks

I adored pregnancy, but I'm loving this even more.

Life is wonderful these days. I wish I could hold onto every moment, because I look down at Gabriel's tiny hands and feet and skinny legs and know that someday I will blink and wonder where my sweet newborn went. He is an absolute joy.

Thursday was a difficult day for me. As many of you know, Josh is Jewish, as is Gabriel, so at 8 days after birth, we had his brit milah (circumcision) at Josh's aunt's house. Before I got pregnant, I swore I'd only have girls because I dreaded this day so very much. Now, of course, it is almost funny to think that I said that, because I can't imagine having anyone but Gabriel as my baby. I couldn't wish for anything different, because he is my perfect boy. Still,
in the days leading up to Thursday, it was always in the back of my mind that the time was rapidly approaching.

Gabriel is fine now, and to tell you the truth, he didn't cry very much. He has cried more during diaper changes that take too long or when he has to poop and it doesn't happen as fast as he hopes. That made no difference to this new mama, though. I sobbed on the couch before I had to hand him over. I thought I would leave the room when the actual circumcision took place, but I found that I couldn't fathom the thought of leaving him alone, even if I stood several feet away. I found myself involuntarily gagging during the procedure, at the thought that Gabriel was in pain.

It makes it worse, of course, that in my family, circumcisions just don't happen. In Argentina, it is extraordinarily rare for anyone to do a circumcision (for non-religious reasons, of course). I was somewhat reassured because we ended up being fortunate enough to have an ob/gyn perform the ceremony, and he was really great. He gave Gabriel topical anesthetic and was very sensitive to how upset I was. He talked us through it before and during and was very helpful and kind and offered to take our calls anytime we needed him.

It's over, at least, and now I can go back to focusing on how beautiful and wonderful Gabriel is. He is still eating like a little piggy and letting us sleep in 3-4 hour stretches at night. We take a nap a day, snuggled together in bed, the only time that I allow myself the luxury of letting him sleep in my arms. At night, I put him down in his bassinet next to my bed because we're nervous about having him in bed with us when we're so tired and so that he is used to sleeping on his own some of the time.

Yesterday we ventured out for our first adventure to Starbucks! I even breastfed there! Today we made it through a whole breakfast at our local diner without a peep from Gabriel. We've taken a couple of walks to enjoy the unbelievably warm weather we're having. The rest of the time we spend at home, eating and pooping and singing and staring at our new lovebug. Life is truly wonderful. We are so very blessed.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

how good?

6 ounces gained in 3 days good.

Back to our birth weight good.

Our first visit to the pediatrician yesterday was spectacular. Apparently, I have a breastfeeding piggy on my hands, which is such a relief! The pediatrician cracked up laughing as soon as he was weighed, because apparently gaining 6 ounces in 3 days is unheard of. I was especially surprised since the quantity of poop that results from this teeny baby is ridiculous! We have had a few poop blowouts that left me doubled over on the couch laughing. Yesterday Josh started to change a poopy diaper, so Gabe peed all over him. Once he'd cleaned up the pee, and started to pull the clean diaper over, Gabe sent a huge glob of poop straight onto the couch. We are a barrel of laughs around here.

We're also especially happy around here because last night Gabriel slept for a 4 hour stretch, then a 3 hour stretch and then a 2 hour stretch. Waking up in the middle of a deep sleep is still hard, I'm struggling not to fall over in bed with him in my arms, but it is sooo much easier after 3 or 4 hours. I spend the 45 minutes or so while he is feeding staring at his little face and little hands and rubbing my hands along his ears and head and toes. I cannot believe that this beautiful baby came out of my belly.

I cannot believe I love him this much.

Monday, January 01, 2007

happy new year to you and you and you

We are settling in wonderfully and enjoying munching on Gabriel's cheeks and arms and neck and toes and nose, and I could go on and on and on... He is delectable!

So far, I am ecstatic to report that he has hardly cried, which is a lovely surprise! He is also a surprisingly excellent eater! I am a worrywart, so I asked to speak to a lactation consultant at the hospital, who declared him to be a model breastfeeder. My only complaint was the cluster feeding he was doing from 2-6am for the first three nights he was with us.

Yesterday, though, Gabriel was happy to find that my milk came in, and he has been milk drunk happy ever since. Last night he woke up to eat like clockwork every 2 and a half hours, and then fell immediately to sleep afterward. Alone! In his bassinet! If we all cross our fingers, maybe it'll happen again tonight.

Not at all surprisingly, I also cried for half an hour yesterday at the thought of this sweet baby ever growing up. I'm trying to remember all those wonderful things you told me about watching your baby grow up, but it still breaks my heart just a little bit. I hope these are the hormones talking and I'll feel better in a few days.

I'll try to write up the birth story soon, but it features lots of twists and turns and drama, including heart decelerations during a non-stress test, a kind-of sort-of emergency inducement, hours of pitocin hell and then a blessedly wonderful and fast labor and pushing after an epidural. And a beautiful and healthy baby, of course, all that really mattered. I'll work on it as soon as I can tear myself away from my new lovebug. Hopefully sometime this year.

In the meantime, I wish each of you wonderful joys this year. Joys like this, happy moments of stomach-satisfying-drunk-on-my-first-real-meals-cozy-and-warm-and-loved kind of happiness!