Friday, March 19, 2010

Moving on out

I have decided (read: been forced) to change my blog from Blogger to Wordpress. So just wanted to warn my faithful readers that if things look screwy in the next couple of days, it's not you, it's me.

In the meantime, enjoy a picture of Maeve, looking like a queen on her throne. Jack is apparently trying to get her interested in The Wiggles by showing her an actual DVD.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When Irish eyes (aren't) smiling

Nine years ago today, I saw a cute guy with a glowing Miller Lite shamrock button across the bar. I wanted the button, he wanted my digits and the rest is history. So, if it wasn't for beer, these three little leprechauns wouldn't exist.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone from me and my little pots of gold. And a happy meetiversary to Josh, the best thing that ever happened to me. Well, besides finding my new Hunter boots. Let's not be ridiculous.


Could they ever all smile at the same time again? Just once?

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Rolling like a river

Yesterday Maeve rolled from front to back for the first time.

I put her down on a blanket on her tummy for a minute, walked into the kitchen to grab Jack's backpack, turned to look at something and saw her gracefully go right over. I yelled for Josh and clapped for her.

Then a feeling of dread came over me. What the hell is she doing? She's not allowed to move around, she's my baby! And if she's moving around, then that means I need to pay more attention. And move small 4-year-old and 2-year-old toy pieces out of reach. And now I can't leave her on the changing table while I turn around and wash my hands.

Why yes, I have managed to make one of her milestones all about me.

I tried to convince her to do it again for the camera, but she was having none of that.

If I was her, I would figure out how to do it with regularity so Jack and Emmie stop turning her over while yelling, "Roll! Maeve, roll!" Apparently they saw me "helping" her practice a few days ago and now want to be equally as involved.

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Maeve: Three months

Dear Maeve,

Here we are the three-month mark and that's the same amount of time most stores list as their return policy. Lucky for you, you're cute and we love you, so we're going to keep you.



This last month was pretty much the same as your second month, but with more alertness. You still sleep a lot and eat a lot and generally hang out with us wherever we force you to go. And as the third kid, we force you to go a lot of places. That's the funny difference between first kids and later kids: with the first, parents are crazy about the schedule, OH MY GOD THE SCHEDULE. With later kids, the parents are all, oh, she needs a nap? Just stick her in the stroller, she can sleep while we're out.

But you are starting to get yourself on a little schedule, despite being dragged all over creation every day. I usually have to wake you up to take Jack to school at 8:30 and you stay awake for about an hour before you go down for a three-hour nap. Up for an hour after that, then down for another two- or three-hour nap. Repeat again after that, then you're usually down for the night around 8 p.m. That doesn't mean you sleep through the night -- hahahahahahaha, good one -- but you sleep for a decent stretch of four or five hours before you need to eat again.



The sleep is still coming mostly in the swing, with your arms swaddled up tight. But I can get you to sleep in the bassinet for the first stretch almost every night, and the rest of the night is usually spent next to me in my bed. It's easier for me that way, because I can just nurse you on and off all night without having to get up out of bed. And we all know it's all about the maximization of sleep for everyone in this house.

The nursing has also settled into a nice little pattern, with you eating every three or four hours. But you've hit that cute stage where you like to pull off and flash a huge grin at me. Which is cute the first time you do it, but less so when you keep doing that instead of eating and I am sitting there with my boob hanging out waiting for you to get back on track.

The smiles were bigger and more frequent this month. You love to get your diaper changed, kicking and waving your arms and smiling up a storm on the changing table. I am pretty sure you would lie there all day if we let you, but that would probably take a pretty big chunk out of my day, so we won't be doing that anytime soon. But a baby can dream, can't she?



Another thing you love, which I do let you indulge in as much as you like (see: third child) is the bouncy seat. This is your refuge from Jack and Emmie and the only place I can reliably put you so no one can injure you in any way. I set the bouncy seat on top of the kitchen island, away from little hands, and you just kick your little butt off. You talk to the spinning fish and watch the bubbles intently. After a while, you tire of this and start to fuss, which is the signal to take you out and put you to bed. You're pretty easy to read.

The bouncy seat is probably the only time you don't have either Jack or Emmie right up in your face. They love you. Seriously, they can't get enough of you. Emmie in particular is so excited to see you sometimes that she jumps up and down. They both want to hold you and and show you toys and make you smile. Emmie runs over to where you are and yells, "Hi baby! Hi Maeve!" and giggles and grabs your hands and kisses your head and then my heart literally melts. You often reciprocate with a stare as if to say, "What the hell is going on and why are you so excited to see me?" I think you'll be a lot more excited in a few months when you can actually interact with them on their levels.



Just today you started showing signs of interest in tummy time, which means instead of screaming your head off when I put you on your stomach, you actually pushed yourself up on your arms and looked around a few times, then laid back down and sucked your fist for a while. You also were able to kind of almost sort of roll over once I put you on your side. I'm hoping by getting you into position, you'll get the hang of it and want to do it. But you know, it's a lot easier to put you down and have you remain in one place, so I am in no hurry to have you rolling all over the place.



I'm actually not in a hurry for you to do most things. I want to savor this little baby time. And it's slipping away so quickly. A minute ago you were newborn and I was bringing you home from the hospital and putting you in teeny little newborn onesies. And now you have outgrown all the newborn clothes and love to look around at the world and can hold yourself up when I carry you around. Next thing you know you'll be driving yourself to the mall.

But then I see you sleeping face and I realize you are still my baby. You smell like a baby and sigh like a baby and cry like a baby. There times I put you to sleep in your swing and I will check on you a few minutes later only to find you wide-eyed, just looking around. I always wonder what you're thinking. Do you recognize the things around you? Are you mad I left you on your own? Do you know I am coming back?



And then you lock eyes with me and I know you know the answer to the last question. Of course I will come back. I will always come back. No matter if you're sleeping or 50 feet away at the playground or at college. I will always, always be there for you. Being there for you brings me joy and I hope you realize how much I love you. With every night feeding and every diaper change and every bunch of kisses on your cheek, I am happier. I hope you are too.

Love,
Mommy

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jack v2.0

You think she looks like her brother a little?


Maeve, almost three months


Jack, three months

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nighttime is the new naptime

Yesterday, I put Maeve down after her customary hour of awake time at 5:15 p.m., expecting her to wake up refreshed and invigorated about two hours later. I left for a meeting at Jack's school with a bottle of freshly thawed milk in the fridge and figured I would just pump when I got back.

Except when I got home, she hadn't woken up. And she continued to sleep until 9:15 p.m. when I woke her up after deciding via text with a friend that she would be up all night if I let it go much longer.

Apparently she was as exhausted by Operation Bassinet as I was because she woke up, ate and went right back to sleep. In the swing. Sigh. I couldn't take another zombie day like yesterday and decided unless there is someone else here with me during the day, I just can't function on such little sleep.

So swaddled up like a burrito in the swing, she slept until 4:45 a.m., ate, went back in the swing and slept until 7:15 a.m. Effectively, she slept just shy of 12 hours with three feedings.

She also woke up snotty-nosed and sneezing. Guess who caught Emmie's cold? Fun times with the snot sucker ensued.

Again tonight she went down at 5:15 and she's just now making her intentions to wake up known. At least it's only 7:40 p.m. though.

In short, Operation Bassinet is going to be some half-assed military action where the dictator remains in power because I can't follow up on intelligence leads.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Non-sleeping beauty

I have several things to share with all of you, but unfortunately, I can't sit down for more than 10 minutes because I picked this past weekend to launch Operation Get Maeve In The Bassinet.

When you have three kids, you learn some sleep tricks. My favoriye is that there is nothing wrong with a baby sleeping in a swing next to your bed. And sleep in that swing she did, going six hours at a stretch.

And that was fine until I realized I would like her to sleep in her own room sometime soon. If she won't sleep in her bassinet, I can't imagine she would be grooving on her crib. And I'm sure as hell not running down the hall every 15 seconds to replace that damn pacifier when I can just do that at the end of the bed for now.

The first night was fine -- she slept in three-hour chunks and did awesome. The next night was horrid. She wouldn't sleep more than 15 minutes at a time and I broke down and put her in the swing at 1 a.m.

Tonight, I had high hopes after a solid first hour and now we're back to every 15 minutes.

In the time it took to type this, I had to stop three times. As Academomia said last week, these are special, special childhood times. Perhaps I should scrapbook this milestone. It would contain pictures of the pacifier lying next to Maeve's screaming head because she spits it out and then cries. And little stickers of eyes with bags under them.

So if you'll excuse me, I will now commence with the non-sleeping portion of my night.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Be mine

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone out there. I realize it's a day late and $15 dollars short (damn that inflation), but as you can tell from the expressions on all their faces, it was one of those days.



And yes, that was the best shot of the bunch.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Maeve: Two months

Dear Maeve,

It's been two months since you joined our family and it's like you've been with us for two decades with how easy the transition has been. Sure, you like to get up twice a night to eat, and you aren't such a fan of being put down and come to think of it, you're pretty high-maintenance in the napping department, but other than that, you're quite easy to manage.



This last month went by so fast I'm not even sure what happened. Daddy started traveling for work four days a week at the beginning of your second month of life and since then, I have kind of lived in a haze of sleep deprivation and have tried to make sure you and your brother and sister are all fed, clothed and alive at the end of the day. So far, so good.



You've started smiling a lot more this month and you're so much more aware of your surroundings. You look around, stare at the banister (your favorite object in the house, even more than the boobs) and try to watch Jack and Emmie when they are running around like lunatics. You tolerate their frequent close encounters, which mostly consist of Emmie poking you in the face or trying to shove a pacifier in your mouth and Jack rubbing your head and kissing you. They really do love you and love it when you are awake and smiling. We'll see how much they love it when you start shoving their toys in your mouth in a few months, but for now, it works.



For the most part, your sleep patterns are still pretty awesome. You sleep a stretch of five or six hours overnight, mostly in the swing, but occasionally next to me in my bed, and still nap most of the day in short spurts. You love being wrapped like a little burrito in your Miracle Blanket and immediately start to calm down when we wrap you up. You also love being carried on my chest in the Moby Wrap. You love it so much you will nap several hours in it every afternoon when we pick Jack up from school and if I could find a way to legally drive with you in it, I would never take it off. That might be weird in the shower, but if it meant you would sleep, I would sacrifice. But if you're not strapped to my chest or being held, you're becoming less of a great napper. So wrap you up I will.



I also took my first trip away from you this month, going on a snowboarding trip with Daddy. You went to Grandma and Grandpa's house for the weekend and lived it up with bottles of pumped milk. When I came home, you stared at me for a minute like you couldn't believe it was me, and then you promptly started nursing and fell asleep. Welcome home, indeed.



You weighed 9 pounds and were in the 90th percentile for height at the beginning of this month and I estimate you've gained at least a pound and even more length since then. Your newborn jammies have been relegated to the "outgrown" bin and you fill the 3-month size out rather nicely. Clearly the breastmilk does a body good. And we were finally in a great place with the nursing until the thrush struck this week, making breastfeeding hurt just as bad as it did in the first few days of your life. Hopefully the gentian violet will do the trick without turning your face purple, but rest assured if it does, I will have the camera at the ready.



As the third child, you would think you'd be getting the least of our attention, but that's not the case. I love the time we have together every night after the big kids go to bed. You usually have about an hour of alert time every night and we hang out, me trying to get you to smile and you trying to talk to me. We play with your toys and read a few books and I smother you with kisses. It's great to have one-on-one time with you and get to know you and figure out what makes you happy. Plus, if you're not in the swing, you're pretty much glued to my body the rest of the time, so I kind of have to give you attention. Maybe as a third kid, that's your way of assuring I pay attention to you. But you don't need to worry, as the baby you'll always have a special place in my heart.

Love,
Mommy

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Eight is great

So I had this baby eight weeks ago, but I never post pictures of her because I am always too busy holding her to pick up the camera. She started smiling about three weeks ago, but of course she never does it on cue and we always end up with these hilariously awful pictures of her with her mouth wide open and her eyes all wild.

Exhibit A:


However, this is what I was able to capture today. No true smiles, but she was cooing up a storm during this shoot at her favorite conversationalist, the banister in the living room. She has more serious talks with that thing than she ever does with me. Whatever.



It's hard to remain annoyed with that little chubby face. I just want to eat her up.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Pump up the jam

Josh and I waited until Jack was five months old to go away for the first time. We went to Vegas and while I missed him, I realized it made me a better mom to get away for a few days and recharge. With Emmie, I went away for my sister-in-law's bachelorette party when she was three months old. Again, slightly sad, but came back revitalized. With Maeve, I'm surprised we didn't drop her off on the way home from the hospital and hit the airport. Instead, I waited until this past weekend, when she was eight weeks old, to head out for a snowboarding trip in Lake Tahoe.

While I totally shredded it on the mountain, I was also attached to my breastpump 24-7. After Maeve was born, I knew from past experience to start pumping right away to build up a freezer supply of milk. Because she was only eating 2-3 ounces at a time during the early weeks, I could stash another 3-4 ounces away. By the time we left last Friday, I had over 125 ounces -- a five-day supply.

But it's not like I could leave my boobs at home when I went boarding, so my pump made the trip. And it got quite a workout, considering I had to drain the boobs every four hours. The "kachunk, kachunk, kachunk, kachunk" sound it makes was the soundtrack of my trip. Wanna know where I pumped this weekend, in addition to the privacy of my hotel room? An airplane seat, an airport bathroom, a lovely airport nursery at SFO, the car and a hotel common area. All I can say is thank you nursing cover, because a woman pumping is probably one of the most frightening sights out there. Is it a cow? Is it a robot? And what in the hell is she doing squeezing her boobs like that? It's all kinds of sexy.

There's also no sleeping in when you breastfeed, even if your baby is 1,400 miles away. Without fail, my boobs wake me up after five hours. They're all, "Duuuude, it's time to get up." And I'm all, "No, I want to sleep more." And they're all, "Get up now." And I'm all, "Five more minutes." And then they mutiny, turn rock hard and I wake up in a pool of milk. Needless to say, I like to avoid that experience, so I just sigh and get up and pump at 5 a.m. and try to go back to sleep.

We're very lucky in that Josh and I are able to go away for short trips a couple times a year because we have parents who love to spend time with their grandchildren. But now that we've popped out a third child, the logistics are a little trickier. Three is really too much for anyone, well except for their mother and no one cares if I go insane, so we split them up. My parents took Maeve on her own, since she wakes up overnight and requires more intensive care, and Josh's parents took Jack and Emmie together, since they require more of a referee and chauffeur and less nocturnal visits.

We talked to the big kids on the phone every night because someone, who's name rhymes with yosh, loaded a stupid new server something or other on his laptop and for reasons I can't understand, it won't use wireless and a webcam at the same time. So we were forced to rock it old school on a cell phone, which disappointed Jack to the point of tears. Someday, I will tell him all about being forced to use a rotary phone with a cord attached to the wall and pay this crazy shit called "long-distance" to talk to people far away.

As I write this, I am sitting on a plane eagerly awaiting our touchdown in Chicago. While I had a great weekend, the best part of going away is coming home. Seeing Jack and Emmie's little faces light up when we walk in the door makes the early-morning airport craziness all worthwhile. Maeve will probably be nonplussed to see my face, but the sight of my boobs will make her day. She takes after her father that way.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Maeve: One month

Dear Maeve,

In the year before you were born, a lot of people followed an exercise plan called the "30-Day Shred." I am proud to report that your first month did not almost kill me like the exercise plan does most people. Instead, it was an awesome month spent getting to know you, the newest member of our family.

You came out on your own terms, a day before you were set to be evicted, and have continued to set the pace since then. You sleep well and eat well and generally go with the flow.



Your favorite thing is to be held. If someone is holding you, whoa boy, the sleep records you can set. You came home from the hospital sleeping six hours overnight and for that, Mommy is so thankful. You don't do it every night, but enough to make me not want to tell anyone about it, lest the karma bite me in the butt. Your personal best record was seven straight hours, but you did it sleeping on my chest, so I'm not sure if that really counts because I slept fitfully in mostly 15-minute increments. Since you sleep so well when you're held, we tend to hold you, well, all the time. Hence the reason you sleep approximately 22 hours per day.

If you're not sleeping, you usually have a boob in your face. The breastfeeding got off to a rocky start when you decided you weren't going to latch on properly and instead wanted to do it your own way. The way that caused massive pain, cracking and bleeding for Mommy. You'd think being my third baby, my boobs should be totally conditioned and a little latch problem wouldn't make a difference. You would be wrong. So we enlisted the help of a pro-fesh-ional lactation consultant, who gave me permission to use a nipple shield, pump and give you bottles for a few days and prescribed the magic Jack Newman's nipple cream. The cream worked it's mojo, you didn't starve or need formula and the nipple shield stuck around for about three weeks.



We're finally to the point where I don't wince and dig my fingernails into the nearest hard object when you latch on, so hopefully the breastfeeding will be smooth sailing from here on out.

Your first month was a little bit of a learning curve for everybody in the family. Mommy was figuring out how to get enough sleep and feeding you through the pain, while Daddy was trying to get to know you and spend time with Jack and Emmie while generally playing the role of Mr. Mom. Speaking of your big brother and big sister, they have adjusted pretty well to your entrance into the world.



Emmie is so curious about everything you do. When she hears me get up in the morning, she runs to the bottom of the stairs and yells, "Baby? Baby!" She loves to watch you eat and constantly gives you kisses. She runs around looking for blankets for you and at the slightest peep, she runs to me and wants me to come and pick you up. She also loves to hold you on her lap and calls you "Mafe."




Jack is so gentle and loving with you, it's hard to believe he's the same kid who can turn around and whack Emmie 10 seconds after he kisses you on the head. You are the first person he asks about when he comes in the door from school and he loves to crawl up next to me while you are eating and gently stroke your head. Tonight, when Grandma asked him if he is gentle with you, he replied, "Grandma, I do not hit Maeve, just Emmie." All right then. Guess you have an ally for life.

Your first month also found you opening Christmas presents and ringing in the New Year. Your Daddy is really excited to finally have a December baby and thanks you for the tax implications. It was weird to have such a little baby at the holidays, and it made Mommy a little crazy because it's also the germiest time of the year and I didn't want anyone touching you and contaminating you, so I kept you safely ensconced in the sling at every gathering.



Now that you are here, I can't imagine how we ever got by without you. Your sweet little face, your huge dark eyes, your little snort when you are really pissed off and hungry, your long skinny legs and penchant for sleeping with your hand next to your cheek -- everything about you is perfect. I had no idea what you would look like, act like or even what sex you would be, but you have exceeded every expectation I had. You are my sweet second daughter, my littlest girl, my Miss Maeve.

Love,
Mommy

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Nothing says 2010 quite like Trader Joe's truffle brownies, so I whipped up a batch on Wednesday. And then Josh took them to a party. A party I did not go to. Instead I stayed home with a baby on my boob for three straight hours. Seriously.

Since he thefted my precious chocolaty goodness, the same chocolaty goodness I promised my babysitting-on-New-Years-Eve-out-of-the-goodness-of-their-hearts parents, I made him go buy another box of mix on Thursday so I could whip up a batch for the new year. Oh who am I kidding -- those were going to be gone before 2009 was.

I let the kids help make the second batch. They loved it.


Sorry, daddy gets to lick the spoon.


OK, that was a lie, Mommy is licking the spoon.


But I want to lick the spoon! Damn it, I am sick of breastmilk.

Then we had a little countdown with the kids before their bedtime, complete with noisemakers and party hats. Jack loved counting down and Emmie was fascinated by the noisemakers. Maeve was pissed it held up her dinner hour by a few minutes. Also, she was not a fan of her hat. But it was jaunty! A jaunty New Year's hat for our 2009 baby!


OMFG get this hat off me.


5, 4, 3, 2, 1...


Happy New Year at 7:05 p.m.!


Let's see how many times I can blow this and annoy the shit out of Mommy.


Even Daddy was excited to ring in 2010.

Happy New Years to all! I am resolving to try and not kill or injure anyone in my family in 2010. Not sure how doable that is, considering Josh is leaving me alone with three kids all week every week, but in the immortal words of Jack, "I can just try."

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Exponential fun

On several occasions this fall, Emmie spent a few days by herself at one of the grandparents' houses. Not because I like outsourcing her care, but because it was easier for everyone when I was unable to lift her or when we didn't want her to contract the Swine Flu of death. And hell, it was nice to only be responsible for one kid who is gone six hours per day and can take a shower on his own.

Jack was promised his own visits with the Grandmas when he had school vacation, and this week, he cashed in on one of those promises. He was spoiled rotten while Emmie and Maeve had sister time with mommy and daddy. Emmie was pissed and missed her brother dearly, so she was pleased as punch when he returned home this afternoon.

You would think that the addition of the third child would only raise the level of craziness in the house by a third, but you would be severely underestimating that. I am pretty sure that Jack's homecoming ratcheted up the crazy by at least 150 percent.

There was screaming and laughing and crying and tantrums within the first hour, and that was just mommy. The kids were even more insane.

Poor Maeve had just gotten used to the slightly quieter atmosphere -- I say slightly because Emmie can throw a tantrum with the best of 'em -- and now it's pandemonium again.

I am too tired to come up with a witty wrap up to this post, so we'll just abruptly end there. Sort of like my sleep schedule these days.

Now if you'll excuse me, I am currently trying to recover from bathing two children while the third one screamed bloody murder. The screamer is paying me back with a non-stop nurseathon going on three hours. And yes, I typed this entire post with one hand. Anything for you my readers, anything.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Mr. Sandman, paging Mr. Sandman

Why didn't anyone remind me about the lack of uninterrupted sleep when you have a newborn?

I mean I remembered that newborns sleep like 20 hours a day and I remembered that they eat like 10 times a day and I remembered that they do these two things at completely random and unscheduled times. But what I didn't remember was waking out of a sound sleep at least twice each night, sometimes more, and having to sit up and stick a boob in the baby's face. And then you have to sit there. And wait for the baby to take her sweet time eating. Do you know a newborn can take an hour to eat? At 3 a.m.? So you're awake from 3-4 a.m. feeding because the baby is too little to lie down and latch on all by herself while you go back to sleep?

Add in the 15 minutes it takes to get her settled back to sleep, three or four times before it really takes hold, and you're awake for two hours in the middle of the night. I can tell you, the ABC overnight news team is on overnight for a reason. They also show the same loop of news over and over and over. Also, I might want a new ab workout machine. It seemed like a great idea at 4:10 a.m. the other night during the infomercial.

So while I might shock you all by announcing I slept until noon today, it doesn't really count because I was up until 1 a.m. and then again for 90 minutes at 3:30 a.m. and again at 8 a.m. for 20 minutes to pump and hand Maeve off to Daddy for a bottle.

It's not the lack of sleep that's killing me, it's the interruption of sleep. I always get pissed when woken up -- ask Josh -- and tend not to make sense. It's even more fun when it happens multiple times over multiple nights over multiple weeks. For now, I get extra sleep in the mornings while Josh handles Jack and Emmie. But in a few weeks when he goes back to work I am going to be screwed.

That would be Jan. 11, when he starts a project in Washington D.C. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Right. Josh will be gone four days a week, leaving me home alone with three kids under the age of 4. One of whom wakes up multiple times a night and another who wakes up each day at 5:30 a.m. I told him I hope his company is ready for its health insurance premiums to increase because HIS WIFE IS GOING TO HAVE A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN.

The project only runs through the end of April. I mean, the first three months with a newborn aren't that hard, are they? (That sound you just heard was the sound of my soul being sucked from my body.) I am SO HAPPY about this development. The development I learned about three days before I gave birth. You can imagine my reaction to this wonderful news in such a hormonal state.

He can totally watch the kids via Skype when I need a few minutes to myself after dinner, right?

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I am normally not one for sappy holiday musings, but we really did get the greatest gift of all this year. Of course, I am talking about our newest tax deduction.

May you and yours be the recipients of great gifts, good cheer and easy travels.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Here, mostly

Just wanted to update the masses that the reports of my untimely demise are totally false. The children may have taken over the house, but Josh and I are still in charge. Kind of.

The grandparents packed up and went home on Saturday morning, leaving us alone with the natives for the first time. Everyone has survived thus far.

Jack is being an exemplary big brother, curious about the breastfeeding and eager to help out in any way with Maeve. Emmie is an awesome big sister, excited to give kisses and gentle touches and always on alert for crying, and she will inform us when Maeve needs our immediate attention.

Maeve has been sleeping like a champ, routinely snoozing in six-hour stretches overnight. I have now jinxed it by saying it on the Internet and she will probably wake up every hour on the hour for the rest of my life to spite me. But she is also the gassiest baby I have ever met. I think she is going to melt the polar ice caps with all the gas she is releasing every day. Poor kid.

I am sleeping like a new mom, although Josh and the grandparents have made sure I get enough rest. I get up with Gassy Girl when she needs to be fed around the clock, but I also sleep in with her in the mornings. So that works out well.

Of course, I am in no way ready for Christmas, but I figure people are lucky I even got them a gift with a two-week-old in my house, if I don't wrap the gift, too bad.

So I wanted to get a post out there to show we are all accounted for. And yes, I have a picture of Miss Maeve, the two-week-old. I know that's why you all came here anyway.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Pictionary

I have been working on a post since Friday night but can't seem to find the time to, you know, finish writing it. Something about a newborn on the boob and sleep-deprivation. Dunno, but man, it's hard to find the time to write right now.

Let me distract you with some pictures!



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Thursday, December 10, 2009

She didn't even buy me dinner

This afternoon, a woman I had never met before came into my bedroom and asked to see my breasts. Within 20 minutes she was squeezing them and it wasn't objectionable at all. In fact, I paid her to do so.

Oh the Lactation Consultant, she has changed my life. You would think after three kids, I could just throw a baby on the boob and be done with it. But then, you haven't met Maeve. Oh no, my third baby is out to make things as difficult on me as possible (see: worst two hours of my life in labor) and decided she was going to throw a wrench into the process.

It started off innocently enough in the labor and delivery room. Maeve latched right on and seemed to enjoy her first snack on the boob. As the hours went by, she was happy to oblige me when I stuck her on the breast. But there was a familiar little twinge, one I had with both Jack and Emmie. But I wasn't worried -- for me, breastfeeding usually starts with soreness at the initial latch for about two or three weeks, and then goes away.

I even asked the lactation consultant at the hospital if she thought there was a tongue-tie issue (where her tongue can't come far enough out of her mouth) and she said there wasn't, she just needed a deeper latch and better positioning.

By the time we got home Tuesday night, the pain was still there, but manageable. By Wednesday night, I was bawling because it hurt intensely throughout the entire feeding, on both sides, no matter what position or latch depth I used. I was crying because it hurt, but I was also crying because I was scared to feed my own child. Hormonal much?

Looking at my cracked, blistered and bleeding nipples (isn't that an awesome picture in your head?) and after using the jaws of life to disengage her from said nipple, I decided to pump for a few feedings to give myself a break. But how to get her the milk? I dreaded nipple confusion and didn't want to do anything to compromise her ability to breastfeed. If there's one thing I am good at in this motherhood thing, it's breastfeeding. Not to mention that a third baby doesn't have any other options -- there aren't enough hands to go around and certainly not a free one to hold a bottle while the other balances baby. So we gave her the milk in syringe. Just squirted it right into her little mouth and she was happy with that.

Now pumping is not pain-free either, but I control the level of suction as well as the duration. Imagine my surprise and delight when I looked down and saw the pump pulling straight blood out of my nipple and depositing it in the precious, precious breastmilk. Strangely, it didn't deter me from continuing. Failure is not an option.

However, this made me realize it was time to pull out the big guns and call in a specialist. I needed help.

Enter Judy, the Lactation Consultant from on high. She made a house call this morning and assessed the situation. And no, I'm not talking about that guy nicknamed "The Situation" on MTV's The Jersey Shore. She got right down to business and told me I had a bad case of cracked bleeding nipples brought on by a problem with Maeve's latch.

Turns out, my dear sweet girl with the tiny face has several strikes against her in the nursing column. First, she has a short tongue. Second, she likes to suck on her own tongue. Third, she has a receding chin. Fourth, she has a high, arched palate. Those aren't dealbreakers, but instead make the whole thing infinitely more difficult when it comes to getting the nipple correctly positioned as far back and high in her mouth as possible.

From the outside, her latch looks great. On the inside, it feels like a barracuda has gotten hold of my nipple and wants to make me its lunch. It's awesome. You'll have to trust me on that.

To correct these issues, she gave me some instructions. First and foremost, I am to to discontinue using the Lansinoh cream they gave me at the hospital and get a prescription for Dr. Jack Newman's All-Purpose Nipple Cream. She was so emphatic, I was scared to deviate from the plan. Second, I should feed Maeve from the breast only every other feeding, pumping the other feedings to give my nipples a break. Third, I should try using a nipple shield (a thin, flexible piece of silicone that prevents baby from having direct contact with your skin). And fourth, I should give it some time.

After helping me get her appropriately latched on for about 15 minutes, she concluded that things would start looking up as soon as my cracked, bloody nipples healed. Probably in a few days. Yay?

This evening, I fed Maeve from the boob tap and after struggling slightly for a few minutes to get her latched on, she settled in for a painful feeding. Not painful like yesterday, but still sore. Then I tried the nipple shield and it rocked my world. Sore, but no pain. Alle-freaking-luia.

Afterward I applied the new nipple cream and I am pretty sure the sky opened up and brought me to a new level of consciousness because the improvement in just two hours was like night and day. I want to make out with you, Dr. Newman. Call me. Love you.

Maeve wasn't bothered by the silicone sheath on her food source, so maybe we're on to something. I have very high hopes. In the meantime, I have new respect for pumping moms. Holy shit is that annoying -- you spend 15 minutes pumping, then 15 minutes feeding, then you have to go clean everything and put it all away and store the milk and an hour later at 4 a.m., you can finally go back to sleep. Or, you can stay up with the baby sleeping on your chest while you watch the dudes on This Old House install a new bathroom fan on the roof of a house in 10 minutes flat. If you are in need of such a project, I feel confident I can do it for you. At cost.

And sorry for anyone who came here looking for pictures of my new baby and instead found themselves armed with more knowledge of my nipples than they ever dreamed possible.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The whole fam-damily

Jack and Emmie met Maeve today. They were so excited they could barely contain themselves.



Maeve was the gracious newcomer, not interrupting or talking too much about herself. Emmie greeted her with inquisitiveness about her background, where she grew up and tried to shove a hat on her head after politely shaking her foot rather than her hand. Jack wholeheartedly welcomed her with kisses and handshakes before showing her who was boss with a few ill-timed, mostly harmless whacks. He blamed her for his unfortunate incarceration in his room.

There were sibling gifts exchanged, which always breaks the ice, and everyone wondered how Maeve knew Jack liked Diego and Emmie liked babies. Maeve was pleased to receive her rattle and lovey, and asked how they could have known she needed both.

We're a five-family now. Let the fun begin.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Introducing Maeven Anne

Snarky Daddy kept you all abreast of the situation yesterday, but we wanted to formally introduce you all to Maeven Anne. She didn't want to wait, busting into the world after four hours of labor and no pushing in all her 7-pound-9-ounce, 20-inch glory.

We're all doing fine and can't wait for Maeve to meet her big brother and sister tomorrow at home. She's breastfeeding like a champ and sleeping in long stretches.

Our family is complete and we couldn't be more proud!


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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Round Three

And we meet again... you may remember me from such famous blog posts as the Live-Blog of Baby #2 or Weekend Alone with the Kids... or maybe as SnarkyDaddy. So here you go... the final installment of the live-blog birth extravaganza...

3:00pm - Amy arrives home from picking up her parents at the train station to inform me her water has broke. She dropped a gallon or so on the sidewalk in front of our place. It is probably frozen by now, so be careful if you're walking past our place. If you slip and fall, you can probably sue her ass. I know a good attorney.

3:10 - I'm pretty sure Amy decided to break her water today because it's Sunday and I'm watching football. So now I’m left with the ultimate of moral dilemmas – who needs my support more today – my wife who is about to give birth, or my fantasy football team. I explain to Amy that she's going to have to wait a little bit - the Saints-Redskins game is in the fourth quarter and the undefeated Saints are losing and it's really important that I see what happens. I was somewhat expecting a quick slap in the face, but forgot who I'm dealing with. Water breaking to Amy does not signal jump in the car and head to the hospital, it's simply an indication it’s time to take a shower, put on a little make-up, do up the hair – not like throw it in a pony tail – we’re talking full blow drying and flat iron. One might think she was about to get married, not delivering a baby.

3:30 - So the big question for me is whether I should just put Amy in a cab or drop her off at the hospital myself? I mean, I'm certainly not going to go to the hospital for this one. Her birthing a child is a pretty regular occurrence now. And it’s not like I go along with Amy when she gets her haircut... or her nails done... or her teeth cleaned. Those are all regular occurrences, which birthing children we can now categorize as a regular occurrence as well. So, I'm thinking taxi over driving her - I mean, first of all, its cold outside, so why should I have to deal with that? Or I guess I could compromise and drop her off at the El. That way I'm putting forth a little more effort than the cab by driving her three blocks. I will probably score some major points with her that way. Plus the El is totally environmentally friendly. So if she even thinks about complaining about it, I can just bring up global warming and what can she really say then?

3:35 - Apparently Amy doesn't even care about global warming - She wants me to drive her all the way to the hospital. Who is this person I married? I don't even know her anymore. Well, when the cute little baby Polar Bears go extinct, we all know who to blame - SnarkyMommy.

3:40 – Amy still has to flat iron her hair and she is having contractions every five minutes. I tell her to forget her hair and let’s hit the road, but she insists. At this rate, I won’t be missing any football… I’ll be delivering the baby in the living room.

4:00 - We’re finally in the car… and the contractions are getting painful. We haul ass to the hospital and as we pull up I notice the free parking spot right in front – 30 feet from the front door. That spot is never open! Never in the history of the hospital! Clearly Amy isn’t going to expect me to pay $20 to park when there is a perfectly beautiful free parking spot steps from the hospital doors. “I take it you still want to valet” I say. “YES!” Amy screams. The contractions are coming on a little quicker and more painfully than they were supposed to according to the Amy play book. But when we pull up to the hospital doors, there isn’t a valet in sight. “what do you want me to do, just leave the car parked here?” I ask. “Just park it quick” I help her from the car, put the car in reverse back down the ramp to secure the best parking spot at the hospital. Looking back on this day, I’m not sure what I’ll be happier about… the birth of our third child or parking spot I snagged.

I’m thinking the parking spot. I mean, I’ve had two babies before this… but I’ve never had a rock star parking spot like this.

4:10 - So here we are back at Illinois Masonic. If you recall the last live blog, this place has got itself a little bit of a hand washing issue, but I'll get to that in a little bit. First I have to point out that since our daughter was born Northwestern opened up itself a brand spankin new maternity hospital that is more of a five star resort than it is a baby birthing facility. Despite the fact that the hospital rooms have 24 hour room service with a big fat menu, in-room spa services, and high definition flat screen TV's with a video game system in each room, SnarkyMommy elected for this place that was last updated in 1962. A hospital room there feels more like you're staying in a room at the W hotel... except with no real privacy as people keep barging in your room every 5 minutes. Oh, and except for babies popping out all over the place.

I mean if we were there I could be playing Modern Warfare II on Xbox 360 right now and protecting the world from terrorists. Then I wouldn't have to be involved in the birthing process at all. I mean... what's more important... dropping out a kid or saving the world from terrorists? Yeah, I thought so...

4:15 – We arrive in Triage and the contractions are coming on quick and painful. She looks at me and says “I don’t know if I can do this” as she moans. I ask if there is anything as I can do and she tells me there isn’t. So I figure I need to get to blogging, so I open the laptop only to have the nurse come in and say “maybe you could talk to your wife instead of being on the computer.” This nurse clearly knows us too well already - Amy asks me the same question every day. But right now Amy actually wants me on the computer. I turn to Amy and say “do you want me to talk to you?” Amy gives me an emphatic “No!” So let’s recap… the nurse already hates me, Amy apparently doesn’t want me around… must mean it’s time to check my fantasy football scores.

4:40 – Amy is writhing in pain. The contractions are every minute and last a minute. Amy is screaming to the nurse “please, just get me the epidural”. She responds “We will, we just need to fill out some forms, do your IV, take some blood, send the blood to the lab, wait for it to get back to make sure your platelet counts are alright for anesthesia.” Amy looks at me and cries “I don’t think I’m going to make it.” The nurse immediately then turns to me and says “this is totally normal, she’s going to be fine.” I asked Amy for the hundredth time if there was anything I could do for her. She says “get me the upstairs to Delivery so I can get the epidural” At this point Amy’s screaming in pain every other minute has got everyone scurrying to get her upstairs. I do the only thing I can think of - I believe it’s the universal sign of empathy when standing next to someone in pain - I grabbed Amy’s hand so she could squeeze it.

Now I know what you’re thinking readers. You want to know how I was handling all this. And, considering I didn’t even know the score of the Cowboys-Giants game, I think I was holding up pretty well. But I have to tell you… she squeezed my hand awfully hard. It has a little throbbing in it as I type this right now. Maybe they should give me the epidural.

4:55 – We’re on our way to Delivery. The nurses push Amy and the gurney on the elevator and push the button to go up. Nothing. She pushes it again… nothing. Amy is screaming in pain. I am giving the nurses evil looks. The nurse screams out to another nurse for some special key to allow us to get to the right floor. The elevator finally moves… down instead of up.

5:15 – The anesthesiologist is in the delivery room within 10 minutes. For something that at one point seemed like might take another hour, comes surprisingly quickly. Amy has continued to scream in pain every time a contraction comes… which is like every other minute. They ask me to leave so the epidural procedure can be performed. They didn’t have to twist my arm too much… I leave for the calmness of the waiting room.

5:45 – I return to the room and Amy is a new woman. She is relaxed and joking. Oh, Mr. Epidural, how we love you so!

6:00 – So the epidural appears to have relaxed Amy a little too much… 30 minutes ago she was screaming in pain and now she is lying to the doctors and nurses. She is filling out some paperwork to donate here cord blood and came to the questions "Have you traded goods, services, or cash for sex in the past five years?" She had the audacity to answer "no". Apparently she is in some serious denial. Last year there was this expensive pair of shoes she really wanted and she asked me if I would buy them for her. I told her sure, if she did something for me first.... yada, yada, yada... she had herself the shoes.

And yes, I did yada the best part.

If that wasn't goods for sex transaction, I don't know what is.

6:30 – So not anything exciting to report. The epidural is doing its thing. Amy is reading a book. The contractions continue every minute or two. They haven’t checked her dilation since we were in Triage when she was 4 centimeters.

So to get back to this hospital and its hand washing - they not only have themselves a serious hand washing issue here but they have chosen to share that with the world. To set this up, here is what I happened during the birthing of baby #2 two years ago:

"Get this. While I was waiting in the hall there is this bulletin board with a chart titled “Hand washing Hygiene” and this hospital is at a whopping 40% with a goal of 60%. Three thoughts come to mind after seeing this: 1) There are some people with some dirty-ass hands at this hospital 2)Their goal was 60% - what 70% would have been asking too much?. 3) They chose to make this information public? 4) How do they collect this information - are there hidden cameras in the bathroom? Ok, so 4 thoughts come to mind, not 3... I got a little aggressive."

And so here I am - I have returned to the scene of the crime. So the burning question in everybody's mind has to be... did they do it? Did they wise up and remove these embarrassing stats from the hallway?

6:45 – Amy’s hair was not forgotten before we left the house, but our camera and video camera were. As I leave the delivery room to meet my Mom in the waiting room to get the cameras, I stop in the hall to see if there is an update to the hand washing saga. Sure enough, it’s up in the hall for everyone to enjoy.

And good news, they are up to 75%! That is quite an improvement over 40%.

Last time I was kind of hoping the baby would miss the doctor’s hands and fall to the floor – as the floor was almost certain to be cleaner than the doctor’s hands. But this time – the odds are in my favor – there is a decent shot his hands will be clean.

7:15 – Amy is feeling some pressure and tells the nurse she feels like it’s time and the nurse doesn’t believer her. Amy informs the nurse she had better get the doctor. The doctor on call comes in to inform Amy that her regular doctor is on her way from home to deliver the baby, and Amy shouldn’t push until she is there. Amy says “It feels like the baby is there, you’d better check”. Sure enough, we have ourselves a head. Furthermore, without Amy pushing at all the baby is making its way out. The nurse and doctor scramble to get everything ready.

7:22 - Five minutes later, without a single push from Amy, out pops Maeven Anne. She’ll go by Maeve. Weighing in at 7 lbs. 9 oz. and 20 inches long. I have to tell you, she’s a gorgeous baby and she was worth every ounce of pain I went through to get her out. And worth the pain Amy went through as well I’d, although it is difficult to really know which of us had a more grueling time.

Well there you have it folks. In all honesty, this proves once again that my wife is absolutely AMAZING. After witnessing the pain that Amy was going through, all I know is if it was me pushing out babies we would have exactly ZERO children… I could never have dealt with pain like that. I could barely deal with her having pain like that. And I have to say, Amy retains her MILF status after baby #3. The best friend a guy could have for a wife and now three beautiful kids… I am officially the luckiest guy in the world.

Maeve, as Jack and Emmie can attest, you have a superstar for a Mom. You are in great hands. Now, if only your Dad can get his act together.

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