One down, 31 more to go. Lyra looks perfectly happy, but this poor baby has been completely miserable. The craziest part of teething is that you are never sure it is why life is turned upside down until they actually pop and then it's over. So we get to blame everything on teeth for the next 2 years.
After 4 kids, I'm still collecting remedies. Here is the list so far:
Teething tablets- do they really work? I've never tried them.
Help a tired sister and cranky baby out. Tell us your soothing tips in the comments.
Dentist Schmentist. Is there a way to avoid the drama of the dentist chair? Especially for those kids who feel violated by just having to say "ah" let alone sit still for the drill? Here's a handy article about how to help kids understand the value of the dental hygiene and timely visits to regular doctors, too.
When You Give a Girl a Camera. Looking for something creative to do with that growing girl of yours? Whether she's five or fifteen, you'll be delighted to see what she sees when you look through the lens of her heart.
What Do Babies Really Need? In all the angst that mother's suffer over whether to continue breastfeeding when problems arise, it's good to keep in mind these bits about baby bonding that have so much more to do with hands on tenderness than whether or not baby gets a bottle.
We took a special trip to the pediatrician on Saturday. Because with a newborn, can you ever really go to the doctor enough? This time was for thrush but I got a little extra when the baby didn't weigh what he was supposed to weigh.
Here we go again.
Breastfeeding is an investment. Sometimes it's cheap. It's like those writers who require merely a pen and pad a paper to draft The Great American Novel. Then there are those writers who would write absolutely nothing if it not for the combination of getting the typing award in high school and getting a fancy schmancy laptop that will one day inspire them to write The Great American Blog Post.
Nathan was my pad and paper. I think he actually crawled up my belly looking for some food. A glance at his frame will let you know that he hasn't stopped eating, even after weaning. He just moved on to food that was a lot more fun.
Ethan? He was one of these and a master's in journalism at Columbia when it came to the investment of breastfeeding. Minimal weight gain, every other day at the pediatrician's office, painful latch, supplementing with pumping while trying to avoid nipple confusion. The lactation consultant finally threw her arms up in the air and said, "I have NO idea what is going on with this baby." Ten weeks later, he started to nurse "properly" and all was right with the world. That, my friends, gave new meaning to breastfeeding as an investment. Everything was then a piece of cake and I got what I signed up for: 5 minute meals and NO CLEANING OR PREPARING BOTTLES. Oh, I'm lazy.
So then I had this new baby who was recently referred to as the "Happy Starver" at the pediatrician's office. I was advised to pump or to supplement with formula in order to get his weight back up to his birth weight, which was 9 pounds, 3 ounces. When I did not look properly concerned, I was scolded. Jaundice, thrush and now suggestions of "failure to thrive?"
I'll admit that I contemplated the formula route to get the big, bad doctors off my back. I was having post-traumatic stress disorder flashbacks to the hours and days and weeks I spent trying to "fix" Ethan's breastfeeding problems. A little formula wouldn't hurt.... A week of supplementing wouldn't make him less smarter than his brothers, would it?
Then I read "The Case Against Breastfeeding" by Hanna Rosen, and I'll admit it resonated with me slightly (ducking to avoid having things thrown at me by my fellow Supersisters Jen and Patience).
According to Rosen,
The IQ studies run into the central problem of breast-feeding research: it is impossible to separate a mother's decision to breast-feed--and everything that goes along with it--from the breast-feeding itself. Even sibling studies can't get around this problem. With her first child, for instance, a mother may be extra cautious, keeping the neighbor's germy brats away and slapping the nurse who gives out the free formula sample. By her third child, she may no longer breast-feed--giving researchers the sibling comparison that they crave--but many other things may have changed as well. Maybe she is now using day care, exposing the baby to more illnesses. Surely she is not noticing that kid No.2 has the baby's pacifier in his mouth, or that the cat is sleeping in the crib (trust me on this one). She is also not staring lovingly into the baby's eyes all day, singing songs, reading book after infant book, because she has to make sure that the other two kids are not drowning each other in the tub. On paper, the three siblings are equivalent, but their experiences are not.
In the end, Rosen really isn't necessarily making a case against breastfeeding. She's just making the case that it might not be as life and death a decision for parents as we have made it out to be. Will I be throwing in the towel for breastfeeding just yet, because I have to take a break to get the older two off the top of the fridge? No. Maybe this baby will be my
little pink netbook and I'm willing to hang in there. But if it comes down to it, I might just be buying that formula next week to stave off the big, mean doctors. I'm just saying.
After the birth of Mason, all Kristen wanted was a big juicy cheeseburger from Five Guys. Lyra had no interest in her minutes old cousin, she was all about the cheeseburger. She tracked it with her eyes as Kris lifted it to her mouth. All meals are torturous for Lyra. She is sure that all table food was meant for her. I've had 3, count them, 3 accidents at restaurants due to a quick hand and a tired mother. Two drinks and an entire cup of soup in my lap.
While my other kids took forever to have any interest in food, I guessed it would be different with the foodie girl. I decided to start with the ever loving rice cereal about 2 weeks ago. Her whole body shook with excitement. She downed it in about 5 minutes flat, soon we were on to bananas, pears, apples and sweet potatoes. I know I introduced way too many things too soon but this kid is out of her mind in love with food. Really, who can blame her?
Although I've resisted giving her a cheeseburger yet, the picture above was snapped after Jorge offered her a saltine, pure bliss.
Did you have any baby foodies at your house? Were they eating cheeseburgers by 8 months?
Our conversation over the pictures of Kristen's new baby, Mason Gray:
Lucy- Who is that?
Me- It's Baby Mason, Cook's (Kristen's aunt name) baby and your new cousin!
Lucy- That's Hook's baby?! Oh, that's wonderful! Can we go to Hook's house and see Mason? Can we, can we? You have to be very gentle with the baby mom. No pinching, just petting, okay?
Me- Oh, okay. I'll be very gentle, no pinching.
Is it totally obvious we had a baby and got a dog in the last six months? Do you have any good baby and sibling first meeting stories? Tell "Hook" in the comments.
Born yesterday morning
Mason Gray, 9 pounds, 3 ounces, 22 inches long, and yes, boys and girls, his mama pushed that big ole boy out in under 20 minutes flat!
Kris is at home and doing well. More pictures to follow...
Just the other day someone asked me how Nathan was doing about the imminent arrival of his baby brother Mason.
The blank look on my face? Um, that would be the window into my soul. The thing is, I haven't really thought about it that much. Sure Derek and I have occasionally discussed how everyone will be feeling when we go from four to five, but other than that, we haven't really discussed it.
Things were different when we went from three to four. We worried that somehow Ethan would be forever traumatized by not being the center of our world anymore. The new baby came and it took Ethan nine whole months to realize what had happened. He decided to be annoyed then but that ship had sailed. He was fine, everyone was fine and now he has a wickedly fun partner-in-crime.
So as the newest (and last baby) is set to descend upon us, I haven't really thought too long or too hard about how Nate will survive this disruption in his life. Maybe it is because he is a completely different child. Not as sensitive or melodramatic as his brother, his frustration and anger management appears to be the "flash-in-the-pan-over-as-soon-as-it-starts" variety. Maybe it's because I too am a middle child and in the grand scheme of things, it is just one of life's many changes.
Whatever his reaction, his mom, dad and big brother love him very much. And I have a good feeling that his brand new baby brother will too.
I'm not sure how it happened, but I live in a family where everyone is functioning with a heart on a sleeve. Not an unusual place to find my heart, I somehow thought that there would be at least one of us who would take everything in stride and not be easily flustered. No such luck. Take this weekend, for instance.
I managed to throw my back out the other night. I was lying on the couch and I guess the girth of 37 weeks worth of pregnancy was something that made my back cranky. My back is such a baby. There I was stuck on the couch yelling for help and all my men came running. Nathan was first on the scene.
Nate: (gripping my face in his chubby little hands) Mommymommymommymommy. No be sad, Mommy. Is okay, Mommy, is okay.
Ethan: DAD, Mom is hurt. Mom, you are gonna be okay. What's wrong, Mom? What's wrong? DAD, HELP MOM!!!
The Dog: (whining)
Kristen: I'm FINE. I'll be FINE. Dad will help me.
Which he did. It's amazing what can be fixed by just standing up. My heart swelled with pride that everyone was worried about me. I also realized that I'll have to be faking all this pain and childbirth thing for the next few weeks unless I want to do Tender Heart Preservation. I just love these kids.
K: There is probably something I should tell you.
My husband always gives me the exact same look when I say these words. It's a combination of "oh no, what now" and "how do you get yourself into these messes."
K: I may have told PBS that they could name our Baby #3.
D: What are you talking about? Please tell me you aren't serious.
K: What's wrong with that? They just want me to talk to Laura Wattenberg from Baby Name Wizard.
D: You told PBS that they could name the baby.
K: Stadiums do it all the time.
D: So you are saying you would name the baby "Citibank" if they paid you enough.
K: AbsoLUTEly. If Citibank offered me $5 million to name the baby, that baby's name would be First Name Citi, Middle Name Bank.
D: That is wrong.
K: Since when do I call our children by the names on their birth certificates? Try never.
D: Wait. Laura Wattenberg? From Baby Name Wizard?
Sometimes my husband pulls things out that never cease to amaze me. It's not that Laura isn't wildly popular and wildly well-known. It's just that my husband is constantly living under a rock.
K: Yeah. Do you know her?
D: She does excellent data analysis. She's linked on Freakonomics.
Laura, you have absolutely no idea what a big deal it is that Dr. Snotty Economist thinks you do excellent data analysis. I mean, I thought your stuff was cool but this is high praise indeed from my husband.
So I called Laura and we talked for about a half hour about baby names. Laura was adamant that she was not in the BABY NAMING BUSINESS and that she just provided the tools to help other people come to a natural conclusion for a name that best fits their baby. She said that people often second-guess their chosen baby name after birth when the baby doesn't look like the baby they thought they would have. I let her off the hook and told her that I already knew my baby's name. We decided to chat some more before I told her, just to see what she would find when she plugged my requirements into the baby name wizard.
I told Laura that we were leaning toward a name that ended in "N," if only to confuse ourselves more when we yelled at our children in public. I told her about how our sons have the middle names Lewis and Clark and how my husband was so disappointed that he wasn't going to get his little baby girl with the middle name "Sacagawea" because we were having a boy (like that EVER would have happened). I told her that we were such suckers for historic names that we were probably the only people to confess that they picked their new baby's middle name "Gray" by googling American Explorers. That's right. Google picked our baby's middle name.
Laura ran a search and guess what happened? Her "best match" for our baby name was the very same as our own...
Actually, number 1 on the list was Aaron, but with the whole historical importance in a name in our family, she said, and I quote, "Aaron Burr might be a tough one for your family to get past." LOL
I'm happy to say that the NameMapper feature made me feel better about not worrying about living on the same block as 17 Masons (which really doesn't matter since you've named your firstborn "Ethan").
So I guess what I am trying to say is that Baby #3 is going to have the name Mason Gray. There has been some concern that he will be mocked for being named so closely to Macy Gray but I maintain that anyone making that connection will be opening himself up to having that mockery returned for knowing who Macy Gray is.
Already we have gotten a little backlash from people we've told, but people are funny about baby names. It's our choice and everyone else has to have their own kids (or dogs or cats) to live out their fantasy naming. Know what I mean?
***Derek doesn't think I told you enough about what the website offers. According to him, "It has great dynamic data analysis. You type in a name and as you type it shows you the historical usage of all of the names starting with those letters."
***Snooze. Me: It's cool. Just check it out by typing in your name.***
***Disclosure: PBS never offered me money to name the baby. But I would have totally taken it if they had***
It's been a week of babies around here. Two separate friends welcomed tiny people into their families and lives. Jorge and I went to deliver a meal and chat with the new parents. The mom looked so tired and little wrecked. I had this wave of compassion come over me.
How is she doing it? It's so hard in the beginning. You are so exhausted, you did such a big thing and now you are keeping someone else alive.
I had similar feelings when I went on a getaway with a friend who has two under two. Then I saw my very pregnant sister this weekend and wondered how she managed to pull a birthday party off so close to the end. I was in awe and had total respect for each of these women.
I'm not sure why but I was so struck by my observation. The funny part is, I have done this myself, like four months ago. It barely occurred to me I have stood in those places before. When you are there, you just press on because that's what we do as parents. We keep going, loving, living. You have no idea how remarkable it truly is until there is some distance. I sometimes scoff at the idea that parenting is the hardest job in the world but in the world but in many ways it is. So pull out the old baby pictures or look at the one you are holding today, remind yourself how amazing you both are.
What do you remember about the early days of parenting? Tell me in the comments.