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Category: Mama Blog

back around the lake

I went for a run/walk around the lake today. Not because I desperately needed to get out of the house. And not because I couldn’t think of another way to get Z to take a nap. But because it was a beautiful day and I wanted to. So I strapped Z into his sweet jogging stroller (courtesy of Aunt Sarah and Uncle Jeff) and I headed out.

It has been a LONG time since I tried to run. I could barely squeeze into my sports bra and every muscle in my body felt squishy and weak (except for my left bicep – rock solid from toting around 17 pounds of baby all day). I stopped and rested a lot. But I felt positively, enthusiastically in control. Zeke had already taken one (albeit short) nap in the morning. I knew that he wasn’t likely to start screaming bloody murder while we ran/walked and that if he started to fuss I could relatively easily distract him. I knew that when we got back, he would eat some lunch and take another (albeit short) nap. I knew that I could shower and clean up a little while he took that nap. And I knew that for the rest of the day we would find some way of entertaining ourselves.

Granted, I always feel a little more confident on the weekends when Dave is around to help out, but overall, this run/walk around the lake felt like a jumping off point to a future that is a little calmer, a little easier, and just a little more like the life I had before this crazy kid came along.

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bodily pride

Many updates on little Z are forthcoming, but right now, he’s sleeping and I’m up late watching Grey’s Anatomy on DVR. Dave has given me a nice break this weekend (like every weekend) – taking over the diaper changes and playing and putting down for naps so I have some time to myself. So today I ate a leisurely breakfast, and read some and worked some and vacuumed some. And at 4 pm, I went to San Francisco to see a play and have dinner with some girlfriends. Pure luxury.

Back in July and August, I pumped everyday to make sure I had a good supply of milk so I could go out for nights like this and have the freedom and flexibility to leave Z with Dave or someone else. I built up a large stock – close to 30 4-ounce bags. Only I so rarely go out, and I didn’t want that milk to go to waste, so I stopped pumping. I stopped seeing daily proof that my body is producing this sustenance for my boy.

Five months later, that frozen supply is finally dwindling. So tonight, when I got home from my date, I decided to pump for the first time in a long time. I rarely get engorged anymore, even if I miss a feeding. So I didn’t need to pump. I mostly just wanted to see how much I would get. Production is usually lowest at night, and since I don’t know how much he gets during the day, and I’m still constantly nagged with the lingering insecurity “is he getting enough?” I was curious.

I pumped 8 ounces of rich, white milk. Amazing! Z and I have had so many struggles these first 8 months. So few things have fallen neatly into place for us, but this thing, this one amazing thing, has been good. Really good. And while I can’t say I enjoy pumping (I much prefer the closeness and intimacy of breastfeeding) it felt so good to have this visual reminder of what my body can do for my son. I know so many moms who struggle with breastfeeding, so many moms who make themselves crazy trying to keep up their supply. And I am so thankful that this one thing has gone well for us – that we have found this balance of supply and demand. I know that one day I’ll reach a point when I want to wean, when I’ll want my body for myself alone. But for now, I’m so proud of what I can do for Zeke, and I have no desire to stop.

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8 months

He sits. He stands. He giggles. He SCREAMS. (I could do without the screaming.) He loves Cheerios and sweet potatoes. He grabs and inspects and checks in with me and inspects some more. He holds onto me with a tight little grip. I think he learning to give kisses, but so far it’s very much like getting slimed – mouth wide open, tongue out.

Our 8-month-old boy is amazing, still challenging, and changing so fast. It seems like he’s grown out of his clothes overnight, and while he’s still small compared to other kids his age, he’s definitely getting so much bigger. (We haven’t weighed him in a while, but he must be hovering around 18 pounds since he’s just about outgrown his size 2 diapers.) I attribute this growth spurt to his finally figuring out how to eat solids. Without going into too much detail, this was a huge challenge for us. (Shocking, I know.)

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boy meets bagel

It’s our first time back east since Z started eating solids and we’ve discovered that the boy loves bagels. What a good jew. We’ll have to import them to the bay area. They’re just not the same out west.

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7 months – we’re gonna be okay

Yes – we’ve had a tough few weeks. But today is Z’s 7 month birthday and right now, I’ve got nothing but love for the little guy. Granted, it’s after midnight and he’s been asleep since 7:30 pm – no crying yet. I’ve got a burrito in my belly and I finished all the work I had to do this weekend. Z actually ate a few spoonfuls each time Dave tried to feed him today – a major accomplishment. And we got through the day with a minimal amount of fussing.

We’ll see how things go tomorrow when Dave is back at work, but I’m going to tentatively say that we’ve weathered this most recent storm. I don’t think we’re in the clear yet, but I’m ready to shake off the past few weeks and start afresh with my sweet, smiley, adorable 7 month old boy. It’s awfully hard to stay upset when he’s so ridiculously cute.

Plus, he laughs when I try to juggle. Somehow this makes everything okay.

PS: The things I do for this kid… jeez.

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the saddest baby

Z will be 7 months next week and while it seems like every other baby I know is settling in to a regular and relatively happy routine, my little boy is sadder and more unsettled than ever. I really have no idea what’s up with him. Maybe it’s teething (at least 3 weeks of all the teething signs but no teeth yet). Maybe it’s the cold he’s had for the past two weeks. Or maybe it’s the onset of some kind of separation anxiety. Maybe it’s his skin, maybe he’s overtired, maybe his belly hurts, maybe I’m the worst mother in the world.

I’m not really prone to this kind of self-deprecation anymore, but it’s really hard to keep my confidence up when he spends so much of every day so upset.

I can’t put him down for two seconds without him crying – REALLY crying. He cried through my entire shower this morning – even though he was sitting right outside the shower door and I sang and played peek-a-boo with him the entire time. Yesterday, I put him in his exersaucer and walked away for a moment and he cried projectile tears. (When I went back to pick him up, a tear actually hit me in the face.) He can sit up by himself now, but if I don’t sit and play with him, he throws himself onto his back and just screams. And even when I am interacting with him directly, he’s still fussy and hard to please. The only time he’s really happy is in the carrier, facing out, walking around outside.

I know some babies are just fussy, but this seems like too much, and for too long. I feel like I must be doing something wrong for him to be so upset for so much of every day. OR, there’s something really wrong with him – like he’s sick or in pain. Dave called the doctor today and explained how he’s been behaving. She said it seemed unusual for him to cry so much, but she didn’t have any specific advice other than to make sure he’s sleeping enough and to call her in a few days if he doesn’t get better. Great.

So for the third or fourth or tenth day in a row, I’m going to bed determined that tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow I will try to be more patient and more loving and better able to read his signals. I will feed him before he cries in hunger, put him down for a nap before he cries in exhaustion, pick him up before he cries in lonliness or fear of separation. I will wait to shower and check email and eat breakfast until he is napping. I will give him my undivided attention. And after an hour or two of this, I will be completely exhausted. He’ll go back to being miserable, I’ll go back to being miserable, and we’ll repeat the pattern again and again.

On the positive side, my friend Sara reminded me today that it’s a good thing Zekey feels things so passionately – a little like his mom. Great.

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skin troubles

Little Z is generally a very healthy guy, but he’s got some serious skin troubles. His scalp and forehead are dry and crusty, his cheeks and lips are often chapped. His ankles and backs of his knees are cracked, he neck is always red and shiny, and he is often covered from head to toe with dry, bumpy red patches. Nice, eh? (How can he possibly still be so cute?)

We’ve tried all kinds of things to cure him – hydrocortisone cream, clotrimazole antifungal cream, three different kinds of moisturizers, two different kinds of soap, baths with no soap, and finally olive oil rubdowns. The oil works for a short time – especially on his head. (And it makes him smell deliciously edible.) The various creams work occassionally, but I don’t feel good about covering him in steroids every night. I’ve recently tried cutting dairy out of my diet in case he’s having a bad reaction to lactose through my breastmilk. But I’m having a hard time sticking to a dairy-free diet, partly because I keep forgetting, party because the idea of giving up cheese and ice cream is just too sad, and partly because I don’t believe it will actually help anything.

Zeke’s nanny Andrea (more about her another post) studies Chinese medicine and says Zeke has too much heat. She recommended I stop eating spicy foods – another thing I’ve been unable to stick with. I’m not sure how I feel about Chinese medicine when it comes to my son. On the one hand, I don’t feel comfortable introducing herbs I know nothing about into my or his diet. But I do believe the concept that Western medicine deals with the symptoms and Chinese medicine deals with the root cause.

Andrea believes that the root of Zeke’s skin problem is in his intestines, and that by adjusting my/our diet, we can cure him of these and any future food/allergy/skin-related problems. She gave me the name of a nutritionist who specializes in things like this, and I figure it can’t hurt to see what she has to say. We also have a pediatrician appointment on Monday… so maybe we can compare notes. East vs. West. Who can turn my baby’s skin from lizard to… well… baby.


PS: I should mention that Z doesn’t seem overly bothered by these skin issues. He does scratch himself sometimes, but it doesn’t seem related to how bad his skin is at the time. It’s almost like he scratches for fun, not relief. Another question in the east vs. west showdown.

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sleep deprivation

It’s now been just over 6 months (minus one day 🙂 without a full night’s sleep, and I’m totally fascinated by the body/mind’s ability to function on limited rest. The amazing thing is that I don’t generally feel sleepy. I can stay awake to read in bed most nights, and I’ve kept up my bad habit of staying up past midnight just to have some extra time to myself. Sleep deprivation is affecting me in entirely unexpected ways.

  1. I am clumsy.
  2. I can’t remember anything. If I don’t write it down immediately, it’s gone. (Seriously, if I said I would call you back and you didn’t hear from me, or I promised I’d do something and didn’t do it, please don’t take it personally.)
  3. I constantly lose my train of thought.
  4. What was I saying?
  5. My sense of humor is lacking sophistication.
  6. I don’t finish my sentences. Dave is especially affected by this since I’ll start telling him something, get distracted, and just walk away. It sounds bizarre, but
  7. I don’t get sarcasm. Really, I just take everything at face value – can’t look deeper than that. (This one is challenging since I know a lot of really sarcastic/subtle people.)
  8. I can’t do math. (Yes – I am going to blame this on sleep deprivation. Once I’m well rested again I’ll figure out another excuse.)
  9. I lost my sense of direction. (heehee – just kidding)
  10. I have to double check really basic things – do I have my keys, do I have the baby with me, am I wearing pants.

Oh yeah, and I must be somewhat emotionally stunted because somewhere in the last month Amelia almost died and I barely reacted. I was worried, but I definitely didn’t get as upset as I should have when Dave called me in NY and told me he had to rush Amelia to the emergency vet. And I got really annoyed when I had to give Amelia antibiotics twice a day for two weeks. AND, I rather enjoyed the fact that she was so quiet and didn’t poop all over the house when she was sick in her cage. But she’s healthy again and back with a vengeance so I’m paying for all these terrible thoughts.

Finally, I’m losing my ability to write entertaining blog posts.

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he did it! (part II)

Not sleep this time, but just now, for the first time ever, he rolled from his back to his tummy. YAY! Of course he immediately rolled onto his back again, but it was a full 360. And he repeated it three times.

It’s amazing that something so small can be so exciting in this baby raising world. I’m so proud of our little guy.

PS: No, he did not sleep through the night last night, but it’s okay. I’m still living off the extra sleep from two nights ago 🙂

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