Tuesday, July 31, 2007

maybe 29 just isn't a lucky number...

Gabe rang in my 29th birthday by getting his first fever. His first cold whatsoever, really, and I guess I should thank my lucky stars that it didn't happen until 7 months, but when you are in the thick of it, it is hard to think about the positives.

I should have known that something was up because we spent all of Thursday and Friday night awake and screaming (Gabriel, that is, not me, although I wanted to). This should have clued me in, because Gabe is a lot of things (stubborn, strong-willed, cute as a button), but he isn't a screamer. Thursday and Friday night were, without a doubt, the worst nights we've had so far in the time since Gabe was born. Even when he was a newborn, he might fuss or yell with displeasure, but he never screamed uncontrollably, and I never had trouble settling him down. Thursday and Friday night gave me a dose of serious empathy for anyone whose baby is a screamer. It is really, really, really hard to maintain your sanity in the wee hours of the morning when you just can't make your baby happy. I found myself talking sweetly to Gabe in his room, while trying to settle him back into his crib. Then I'd come back to my room and hear the screams starting up again on the monitor, and I'd start cursing into my pillow.

I tried everything. We walked, we rocked, we attempted sleep in my bed, we attempted sleep in the guest room bed, we attempted sleep in a chair, we sang, we even tried Tylenol thinking that perhaps it was the teeth, but nothing worked. I was up and pacing for most of the night, trying anything to make him happy. During the day he seemed okay, but just a tad out of sorts. Nothing I could put my finger on, so I went back and forth wondering if maybe all of it was behavioral. Could my baby become spoiled just like that? Could his personality change overnight?

Isn't it funny how when you are going through a rough phase you are so quick to assume that this is it FOREVER and your life is destined to be this hard for eternity?

Anyway, we had big plans to have my 29th birthday celebration in this seaside town in Massachusetts called Rockport, and I had requested lobsters for lunch or dinner. So, of course, we woke up on the big day with a fever. Nothing terribly high, but definitely a fever, and a runny nose. Things rapidly went downhill from there. At it's worst point, Gabe had a fever of 104.7, and I was ready to toss him in the car and drive to the emergency room, and only the fear of having to undergo painful tests kept me from doing it. I just didn't know what was normal and what wasn't, and I didn't know how high a fever could go and what might happen.

We ended up giving him a lukewarm bath for 20 minutes, dosing him with Tylenol, and the fever started receding right after that, thankfully. By that time, I'd spoken with the pediatrician on call, and she said that as long as Gabe acted normal (which he did), then we didn't need to worry. Fever was just a symptom, not dangerous in and of itself.

It was a long day, and a longer night, and on Monday morning I dragged him into the pediatrician's office, confident that he must have an ear infection or teeth or SOMETHING, for the love of all things. During our 15 minute visit, though, Gabe was charming and sweet and smiley and hugged the doctor and cooed, and generally appeared completely and utterly well, to the point that the pediatrician asked me several times whether I was sure he'd had a fever that high, and where did I take his temperature (rectally, unfortunately), and was I sure the thermometer worked, and was I sure I'd done it correctly?

Suffice to say, that apparently this was a vicious 24 hour bug, and Gabe has shown no ill-effects since Sunday night. He has been a little cranky, but without a fever and generally in good spirits, except for his absolute refusal of any form of food that doesn't have to do with the breast. No solids, no bottles, no nothing. Just the boob. All the time.

This would be fine, except that over the last few months we've settled into a routine where I pump enough milk for one bottle a day and Josh feeds him that bottle at bedtime so that I can occasionally (read, very seldomly) go to a movie or to run errands, or go to the bathroom uninterrupted at bedtime. In order to get that bottle, though, I will pump over a couple of sessions the night before, maybe one at 7pm and one at 10pm, or something like that. That also means that my boobs don't make quite the quantity of milk that he wants to drink at bedtime in a single feeding. That also also means that we are kind of screwed.

He feeds and then I figure that he is still hungry because he refuses to go to bed, and I wait another hour to give my breasts a chance to make more milk and then he feeds again and is exhausted enough that he finally falls asleep, but he's been waking up again at 4am (something he hasn't done in at least 2 months) to eat because he isn't getting enough before bed to make it through the night. Needless to say, he is lucky that he is so cute and that I love him so much because he is skating on thin ice here, and I'm exhausted.

But it's just a phase, right? He isn't going to refuse to eat anything but the boob until he is 17 and leaving for college, right? I had to turn down my first invitation this month to go to the movies with my girlfriend because Gabe wouldn't take a bottle tonight! 2 hours of mindless, lovely, non-demanding movies, with popcorn and soda and maybe even candy. It is a tragedy, really.

I did get an excellent birthday present this year, a little early. On Wednesday morning, I realized that I was out of things to wear. My uniform these days consists of 4 pairs of capri pants that I purchased in 4 colors, basically the only pants that fit, plus white t-shirts that I rotate through, also the only tops that fit. But on Wednesday, I was out of luck because somehow I'd forgotten to wash any of the pieces of the uniform. On dumb luck, I figured that I'd try something pre-pregnancy to see if I could squeeze into it and..... drumroll please.... I did! My pre-pregnancy jeans! And not even my fat jeans! My regular ones! I ended up fastening them with a safety pin, though, because I figured that after lunch I might want to cry if I wore them buttoned, but WHO CARES! Pre-pregnancy jeans! On my post-pregnancy body!

Happy birthday to me, indeed.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

summer perfected

Last night Josh's cousin was playing in a high school baseball game, so I cooked us a quick dinner, packed up all of Gabriel's bedtime paraphernalia, and we all headed over to the baseball field.

The weather was perfect, a cool summer evening, warm enough for shorts and sandals, but not hot at all. We spread out a blanket on the grass and sat watching the game, admiring our sweet baby asleep in his stroller and recalling high school memories. Josh's cousin just graduated, and we traded stories back and forth about that magical summer between high school and college, where your plans were laid out for you, and for once you didn't worry about resumes or applications or grades, and there was total freedom.

I worked at a movie theater that summer after graduation, and was allowed to bring friends to see any movie at any theater in my district. That was the summer of lounging around all day, and then packing up picnic dinners and driving a packed car to the drive-in movie theater every weekend. I knew I'd be moving to Boston come September, and there was this amazing feeling hanging over me of freedom and limitless potential and excitement. So very much excitement. When I see Josh's cousin these days, he has that glint in his eye.

The game ended and as we were driving home, we passed an old-fashioned ice cream parlor packed to the gills with people enjoying the perfect summer night. With just a glance at each other, Josh did a u-turn and we threw caution to the wind. So what if it was the baby's bedtime? So what if Josh had to work in the morning? I had my first sundae in years. YEARS. Complete with sliced bananas, hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry. Josh had a sinfully rich sundae with malt balls, malt powder, french vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry. Gabe had peas with brown rice, but thankfully, he doesn't know the difference.

I bounced Gabe on my knee as Josh and I chatted over our ice creams, and I couldn't help but wonder how we got so lucky. We were close to our home, and after a quick change of clothes and diaper, Gabe was settled into bed for the night, just an hour after his regular bedtime. Of course, as retribution for a late bedtime, he woke up in the wee hours of the morning looking for an early breakfast and some snuggles. Still, I think last night will be one of my favorite nights of this summer, sleep or no sleep.

I definitely hope it isn't my last sundae of the summer.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

busy busy bees

Every day I glance longingly at the computer, and then I glance down at my scooting-around-the-room baby, and I sit on the floor with him instead of blogging. And then you know how it is, you feel embarrassed because you haven't written, so you don't write, and then you feel even more guilty and embarrassed, so you still don't write, and then it's been ages and you can't even remember what it was like to write regularly, and why did people read what you wrote anyway? But the truth is that I love looking back on my past posts and recalling what my life was like during that period of time. Plus, I love hearing from all of you. Therefore, I'd better find a way to get back into the swing of things.

The truth is, I am loving my life so much these days, it is hard to take the time to sit down and write about it.

Gabe is fabulous, wonderful, glorious, and so much fun. He is smiling and laughing and trying to crawl. He gets up on all fours, rocks back and forth, and then launches himself in the direction of whatever he'd like to reach. It is all cute, of course, until I turn around to find him chewing on the power strip. Or when I was chatting with a friend at lunch and he'd swallowed half of a paper napkin, and then spent the next hour spitting up chewed up chunks of napkin (I felt like a fabulous mother that day, for sure). His favorite target is the dogs, of course. He adores those darn dogs. He saves up his best smiles for them, and waits anxiously every morning until he hears the click clack of their little nails, and then he busts into this absolutely scrumptious grin and bounces in place. He still dances all the time, but now he occasionally waves bye-bye and "gives us five" too. The day before yesterday, he learned how to close a book, and now he'd much prefer to close the book every time I turn the page than read the actual pages. He sleeps through the night most of the time (except last night, of course), and waking up to that sweet smile is the best wake up I've ever had.

I couldn't be prouder, honestly. I also couldn't possibly love him more. Until tomorrow. Somehow, tomorrow I always love him more.

Things have been crazy around here, as usual. My mom was visiting for the last month, and we went to Montreal and Quebec City for 5 days a few weeks ago. Then Josh turned 30 and I threw him a surprise birthday party, which is surprisingly difficult to coordinate with a 6 month old in the house and a nosy husband. Then Josh's aunt offered us her beach house for a weekend, so we were away for that, then we went to the Berkshires to visit my inlaws for a weekend, and now we're back to regular chaotic life.

I have loads of pictures to share with you. Wait until you get a load of these thighs (Gabe's, not mine). He is a whopping 19+ pounds of delicious rolls and dimples. I keep hoping that the crawling won't thin them out, because I really do enjoy munching on them.