Wednesday, February 28, 2007

2 months old

Dear Gabriel,

You are two months old today, and I feel like a broken record when I say that I can't believe how much I love you. No matter how tired I am, or how gloomy the weather seems, waking up to find you smiling up from your bassinet feels like the start of the best day of my life.

I said to your daddy yesterday that I think you've finally arrived. My little newborn who seemed blissfully unaware of his surroundings is gone, and in his place there is a smiling, cooing, active baby. You are constantly looking to see what is going on, and you often whip your head around while feeding if you hear a noise or someone is talking. You will stay awake for long periods of time observing the scene, or listening to the conversations. At lunch the other day, people commented that you looked more like a 3 or 4 month old because you seem so aware of the world around you. You smile at me more and more, and will stop in the middle of feeding to look up at me with your big eyes and give me a huge gummy grin. You melt my heart.

You are still an exceptionally happy boy and it is such a pleasure to spend my days with you. You love music, and as soon as we start singing, you become completely enraptured with us. You even seem as if you are trying to sing along and will coo and gurgle while gazing intently at our faces. Your Bubbi and Saba came to visit last week and Bubbi made up song after song for you, just to see your adorable smiles.

Last weekend, your daddy left us alone for the first time while he went to a soccer tournament in Texas. I was terrified of how I would take care of the two of us for four whole days with no help, but we had a wonderful time. Although I know that we both missed him, we were able to spend lots of time snuggling and playing and exploring the house together. It is lovely to see how much you know me, and when I pop my head over the edge of your bassinet after a nap, you greet me with the sweetest smiles. The smiles start at the corner of your mouth, your dimple appears in your right cheek, and it slowly spreads up your face until the corners of your eyes crinkle in delight. You clasp your hands together and duck your head to one side, almost as if you are embarrassed at how happy you are to see me. Your little arms and legs wave around until I pick you up to smother you with kisses. I will never forget how wonderful this feels.

Today was your 2 month doctor's appointments, and the nurse couldn't stop exclaiming over how sweet you are. You tipped the scales at a whopping 12 pounds, 8 ounces, and showed off your head control by pushing yourself up with your arms to admire yourself in the mirror beside the exam table. While we were talking with the nurse, you lay happily on the table talking to yourself in the mirror, squealing and even letting out a couple of giggles. You barely protested at her prodding during the exam, and only cried when you got your first three vaccines. You were so indignant and angry when they stuck you, and it broke my heart to hear you cry. Once I was allowed to pick you up, though, you stopped crying almost instantly, but the sight of your little face crumpling was terribly sad. It is so hard to see you hurting, and I know it doesn't get easier with time.

[2 month picture coming once the crankiness has faded a bit]

Over the last month you have grown out of all your newborn outfits, and almost all of your 0-3 month clothing, and it pains me to see you growing so quickly. Up until now, I've been dreading the time passing. I've wanted you to stay my sweet newborn. But as the days go by and I see you becoming sweeter and more animated and fun by the minute, I realize that every day with you will better than the last.

We love you so very much, and we feel so very lucky to be your parents. Happy two months baby!


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

my life has become a cliché

Thankfully, breastfeeding is going swimmingly, except for one thing- pumping. I hate pumping. The pump is my nemesis, and it is made all the worse because I am committed to pumping bottles of milk for freezer storage every day, and I also try to pump enough for Josh to give Gabe a bottle every other day or so.

So yesterday, when I pulled the bottles of pumped milk out of the fridge and accidentally tipped
them to one side so that over an ounce poured onto the kitchen floor, I felt tears prick my eyes. It was so frustrating to see my hard work lost in a stupid accident.

Which means what you think it means. I actually cried over spilled milk.

I think I may need more sleep.

My milk! She spilled my milk!

Monday, February 26, 2007

public service announcement for new moms

I told Gabriel that it's about time that he starts making a living around here, we're not running a free joint. So Gabriel and I have been hard at work for the past couple of weeks reviewing a product from the Parent Bloggers Network- the Burpcatcher. The Parent Bloggers Network reviews all kinds of kid and parent appropriate products through blogging. I've been looking at their products for a while now and have found tons of items that are interesting, so check it out if you have a minute!

If this is your first visit to the Halloweenlover household, welcome! I'm a new mom to an 8 week old baby boy (Gabriel), on maternity leave from my law firm in Boston, married to a business school student (Josh) who is currently knee deep in his post-graduation job search, and living with our two adorable pooches.

I have to admit that many things about being a new mom were a surprise to me- the explosive and leaky diapers, the socks that constantly slip off, the dry skin (for both of us), and definitely, DEFINITELY, the spit-up. My mom never mentioned the spit-up and my niece and nephew never seemed to do it, at least when I was around, so I was wholly unprepared for the prolific, ahem, liquid that could appear without warning. So when the Parent Bloggers Network asked me to review the Burpcatcher, I was psyched!

Funnily enough, I'd just seen an advertisement for the Burpcatcher when I received the email from PBN. The Burpcatcher is just like a regular burp cloth, but with a pocket at one end. Once you place the Burpcatcher over your shoulder or arm, the pocket automatically hangs open, and stays open, to catch any spit-up that might ensue from a burping session. The Burpcatcher comes in a couple of options, both costing $9.99. You can either purchase a package of two flannel Burpcatchers with a ribbon lining in pink, blue or green, or one fleece Burpcatcher also coming in pink, blue or green. Gabe was a little disappointed to receive his sample Burpcatcher in pink, but after some convincing he agreed to try it out anyway.

See? Doesn't he look a little moody about the pinkness?

The Burpcatcher is the first burp cloth to include a pocket that catches spit-up rather than letting it run down your back, or over your arm and onto the rest of your clothing.
The hardest part about using the Burpcatcher, is to remember to pick it up every time you go to burp your baby, or if you know that you are approaching a fussy time that often includes spit-up. In our case, Gabe doesn't consistently spit-up so I occasionally risk it and leave off the burp cloth, but since I was trying the product I made an effort to use it constantly and it certainly worked.

We've found over the last 2 months that regular burp cloths aren't absorbent enough, so for the most part we stick with cloth diapers. I was happy to find that the flannel fabric was just as absorbent as the cloth diapers we've been using and caught most of the spit-up before it reached the pocket, but the pocket did save my sweater a couple of times. We also draped it over the boppy and leaned him onto the boppy for some modified tummy time. It caught some unanticipated spit-up then too. I even brought it to my new mommy's group to see what some of the other mothers thought, and those of us that have experienced the spit-up agreed that it would have been a great gift. The colors are simple enough to go with anyone's style. It would be a cute shower gift if you were in the market for gifts.

Now if only Burpcatcher could come up with a burping bib with a pocket too, for those spit-up episodes when I'm sitting Gabe up in front of me for a chat!

All in all, I was definitely pleased with these burp cloths and found them easy to use and pretty cute. One of the other reviewers mentioned that in her dryer the Burpcatchers were the last things to dry, but I didn't have that experience, although now I'm wondering if maybe I'm overdrying my clothes! I'd definitely recommend them to a new mom or anyone looking for a baby gift.

Friday, February 23, 2007

sweet chubby thighs

Next Wednesday is Gabriel's 2 month doctor's appointment, which means that an unfortunate thing is on the horizon- shots. Needless to say, I am not looking forward to it. In fact, I'm trying to talk myself into not crying in the doctor's office.

Does anyone have any advice on how to make him feel better in advance or afterward? My doctor said not to bother with the tylenol, but I'm tempted to give it to him anyway. Thoughts?

At least he has enough meat on his thighs...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

napping is for the birds

We are going through a slightly fussy stage, right on time for the 8 week developmental spurt that Wonder Weeks talks about. Gabriel is fine at night, thankfully, but refuses to nap in the daytime. REFUSES. He will fall asleep breastfeeding or in my arms, but as soon as I attempt to put him down, he is wide awake with that look on his face that says, "Who? Me? I wasn't sleeping!"

This is the third day in a row that he goes without any type of lengthy nap, even though I make a valiant effort to get him to sleep. Have you ever heard of a 7 week old that doesn't sleep allll day? It makes for lots of singing and dancing and walks and sitting in the bouncy seat and looking out the window. If you have ideas for entertaining almost 8 week olds, please pass them along. I thank my lucky stars that he is still sleeping well at night, 5 hours in a row and then 3 hours and 3 hours, with only a brief wake-up to eat in between.

We have had our fair share of excitement around here, when my father in law slipped on the ice in our driveway on Thursday, landing flat on his back and slamming his head onto the concrete. Turns out that he broke 5 ribs, two of them compound fractures, and had to stay in the hospital for 5 days. We were terribly upset about his fall and subsequent stay in the hospital, but we were also terrified because he fell on the side where he has his remaining kidney (he lost the other one to cancer a few years ago). Thankfully, everything seems fine. It was also disappointing because my in-laws were visiting to spend some time with Gabriel, but of course with my FIL in the hospital, both Josh and my MIL spent loads of time with him. Gabriel and I stayed at home, since we're rather nervous about germs and all that. Spending time with his grandparents will have to wait for our visit to Florida in April, when he'll meet his cousins and have a week to play with the whole family.

Besides that, things are great. Gabe changes so much every day, it is hard for me to keep track. He smiles often now and loves it when we sing, he'll even try to sing along! He coos at me and at Josh and will gab happily to himself when we set him down. Today he has been trying to shove his whole hand into his mouth, and seems intent on accomplishing his goal. This has been going on for a couple of hours, and he just gagged himself into spitting up a few minutes ago. I shouldn't laugh, but I do.

One of his favorite things appears to be his chats with Josh, where he becomes animated and talkative. It is truly something to watch, and makes me cry a little every day. Did you also get a load of his cheeks? They are something to watch as well. I'm anticipating another monstrous weight gain at his appointment next week, based on the back pain I'm experiencing from hefting him around in the car seat and the carrier on our walks. They are delicious to munch on, however.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

happy valentine's day

We've developed a college tuition financing plan, just in case the soccer scholarship doesn't work out.

Hope you all have a day full of love!

Idea courtesy of Chatty Cricket, who started the financing plan last year for her daughter.

Monday, February 12, 2007

more joys of parenting

Gabriel fell asleep on the drive home from our new mom's group, and to my surprise, he was still sleeping 4 hours later. Normally, I'd say that you should never wake a sleeping baby, but I'm always nervous that too much sleep in the daytime will equal not enough sleep at night, so I woke him up. Of course, as soon as he woke up he decided that he was frantically hungry, so he was not pleased with my decision to change his diaper before I fed him. He was getting himself worked up, and I picked him up for a moment in between taking off the dirty diaper and putting on the clean one to soothe him. As I set him back down on the couch, I felt warmth coming through my sweater and realized, far far far too late, that he was peeing on me. And on the couch, and on the floor, and on the changing pad, over his whole outfit, and through my sweater and t-shirt and jeans, and splattered on my computer and soaking into the rug.

The worst part was that he was so hungry, I didn't know what to do. Everything was wet with pee, both of us included, but he was starving and I couldn't take the time to clean anything up, so we plopped down on the couch soaked in pee to nurse. After a few minutes he was calm enough that I could throw some cleaner over the furniture and floor and peel off my clothes, but it was an interesting evening, to say the least.

Serves me right for not wanting to share my computer, right?

Hee! I peed on my mom!

Friday, February 09, 2007

the joys of parenting

Gabriel spit up all over Josh's laptop keyboard.

He no longer has use of the 9, (, 0, ), O, or P keys. Apparently, these keys are important to him. Something about not being able to take notes in class, blah, blah, can't do Excel equations without parentheses, blah, blah.

I'm getting nervous that he is going to ask to borrow my laptop to take to class with him and do his homework. I've been preparing myself, though. I have my speech all ready for him, about how maybe he should have thought twice before leaning over his computer with his son in his arms. It's all about tough love.

Plus, I need my computer for important things like blogging while breastfeeding and surfing the web. Maybe I should hide it under the couch and pretend that it's lost? You don't want to live without pictures of chubby baby feet, do you?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

mama bear

I thought I loved Gabriel before he was born, and I did. I loved the squirming kicking little being that grew every day, I loved the promise of him, the way he was changing my life. I loved the way Josh admired my belly and spoke to it and the way he took care of us.

When Gabriel was born, I loved him instantly. His tiny hands and feet, his dark hair, the way his nose looked smushed from the birth canal. I loved his sweet cries, the way he would quiet when I spoke to him, the way his little arms and legs would wave quickly if you unwrapped him or didn't hold him tight. My mom asked me once we were home whether I already felt the protective instinct over this new creature, and I did, I thought I would do anything to keep him safe.

Last night, in the wee hours of the morning, Josh accidentally pinched Gabriel as he was fastening his diaper. I had rested my head on the pillows waiting for the diaper changing to finish so that we could continue feeding, but when I heard Gabriel's cries, I shot up to see what was the matter. Gabriel was so upset that it took me a bit of shushing and murmuring to quiet him, but it was over as quickly as it began. What wasn't over, though, was the completely irrational rage that surged as I heard Gabe's crying. Josh would no more intentionally hurt Gabriel than I would, but I was still angry that someone, anyone, had caused him pain.

Josh went back to sleep, and I went back to feeding Gabriel, and as I looked down at him, I realized that this was what my mother had meant. I loved him before, but now I love him desperately. Fiercely. I would do anything to keep him safe, a protectiveness that surprises me. I love him in a way I can't describe.

So this is what motherhood is like, huh? How do you possibly handle it when you can't protect them anymore?

In response to my realization from last night, Gabe gave me a gift this morning. Do you think he knows?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


This is how we spend most of our day. This kid can EAT.

10 pounds. 1-0. Ten.

That is what Gabriel weighed at his one month appointment last Monday afternoon*. For those of you keeping score at home, that is 3 pounds gained in 3 weeks. We are in a bit of shock over here. The pediatrician said we should bottle me up and send me to Africa to feed the children.

He has to slow down, right? At this rate, I'm going to have to figure out where to put him ASAP, since his bassinet only goes up to 15 pounds. He'll be 15 pounds by, what, next week?

This explains a lot, actually. It explains why he can't straighten his legs in the sleepers I keep putting on him, umm, because they are apparently too small. It also explains why we were having poop blowouts multiple times per day. Poop blowouts in the Newborn Pampers, the Newborn Pampers that go to 10 pounds. I'm so relieved, because it is a little disconcerting when you fill a whole washing machine with clothing all covered in poop. Clothing produced in 24 hours. I was running out of clean clothes, and that is saying a lot because we have a lot of clean clothes.

Gabe looks so big to me now, with his double chin and chubby cheeks. Other people comment on how tiny he is, but what I see are the rolls on his thighs and the dimples on his knuckles. But I'm ecstatic to know that he is growing well.


A good indication of life with a newborn? It took me a week to finish this short post!