The funniest thing about babies is that a baby's specific size is just a comparison to something else. Yesterday I walked past a woman with a baby that looked to be a couple of weeks younger than Mason. The baby girl's head was proportionate to her body, not like Mason. She was a little baby and her head seemed so little. Her mother commented to someone else that the baby had grown so much. All I kept thinking was that Mason was never that little.
Then someone commented about how little Mason was. The woman asked what he weighed when he was born. "9 lbs, 3 oz." I replied. She was shocked. I then heard the familiar refrain. "What a big baby. I guess I had forgotten how little babies are when they are born."
My oldest is only four, but it seems that this never ends.
"He's so tall for his age."
"He's so skinny for his age."
And don't even get me started about comparisons WITHIN the family. Even I am slightly guilty of this (as in, "your brother could hike a mile when he was your age. Why do I have to carry you after 40 feet?").
My boys are who they are. I don't think they will be 30 years old, talking about how tall they were when they were 4. Maybe they will. I don't know. But sometimes I wonder if all the comparison conversation isn't just a waste of time. They grow up so fast. Maybe we should talk about it less and enjoy them more. What do you think?
Everything they told me is true. If I thought I was losing my mind with two boys, this third one has officially done me in. The preschool teacher, mother of four girls, asked me how I was doing. She said it was the third one that brought the chaos. She thought it would get crazier with her fourth, but she said that it was just the same. She said that she could have had 10 kids and it wouldn't have made a difference. That all sense of sanity was gone at three. Once gone, you can't lose any more.
To be fair, my third one is a dream. Look at that precious face. He isn't the one driving me crazy these days. It is just that I only have two arms and now I have three boys. There was an incident yesterday involving a window and a toddler and a preschooler. It ended okay. Dad nailed the windows shut and we are back to square one.
One foot in front of the other. One day at a time.
I know it's developmentally appropriate for a two-year-old to enjoy pouring things and sorting things, but frankly, I'm over it. Wherever he goes, Nathan is pouring. Pouring water from sink to sink. Pouring powdered sports drink mix into his cheerios and then back into the drink mix container. Pouring chocolate chips into the popcorn (which is actually inspiring, yet highly inappropriate for a 7:30 a.m. breakfast). Pouring water over the side of the bathtub.
My mother was here last week and she let him do the dishes in the sink as I slept on the couch. Or should I say, I was totally and completely passed out on the couch from sheer exhaustion. Apparently he poured water from one sink to the other for an hour and twenty minutes. I'm not sure but I think that is equivalent to about a million years in the world of two-year-olds. He was delirious. That's the great thing about grandmothers: they don't mind cleaning up the huge puddles on the floor or changing the outfit three times because the boy was just too wet for his own comfort.
Marmie is gone now and I have resorted to removing all the chairs from the first floor of my house. No chair in front of the computer. No stools in the kitchen. No chairs around the dining room table. It sounds extreme, right? I'll put it in perspective for you. Today I found Nathan trying to reach the counter. He had found a box of pasta and was using it to get just a little bit more height. Now my removal of the chairs doesn't seem so ridiculous, right? He was desperate to get to the sink but I had just spent an hour cleaning the kitchen. I decided to give in and take the kids outside.
One hour, two shovels and a pile of dirt. It wasn't the same as pouring water onto the floor but it will have to do. I think he was happy.
This weekend I worked at a craft show. Since I have a three week old baby, he had to work the show too. I didn't think to ask him if he wanted to work. Maybe I should have. Either way, the entire weekend I had about a hundred people ask if they could buy the baby. It's funny how babies are such a crowd stopper. He was a champ but it took lots of juggling to be Suzy Sales AND feed a baby that has some nursing issues. Nursing issues such as a complete and utter lack of a desire to latch, which leads to lower weight gain and general baby drama.
I had to laugh because people kept asking if he was a good baby. As opposed to a bad baby? What makes a "bad" baby? Mason is certainly an easy baby if you get over that whole problem of trying to figure out how to sell shirts and pump milk every two hours. Maybe some people would think that makes him a "bad" baby. He was relatively easy to please and didn't cry too much. In fact, we were able to put him down in a crate of baby clothes for a few minutes and he slept. Well, he slept like a baby. After all the questions, I wished we could just refer to babies as "easy" or "not-so-easy" rather than bad or good. Because with faces like this, how could you ever think he was bad?
When Nathan was a newborn and would cry, his older brother would always burst into song. Usually it was the "ABC" song and he would do his sing-songy best to bring his brother's mood right back up. I remember very early on hearing Nathan try to sing along. Sure he was only months old, but he would make these grunting sounds to the rhythm of "ABC." No one believed us until we had him put on his show. It was odd.
Since then, Nate has continued to show his love for music. He bursts into song rather randomly. It was only recently when Mason was born that we started to wonder if he had some abstract memory of Ethan singing to him because he started to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" when his brother Mason started to cry. No one else had thought to sing yet because we were all just panicked that the new baby was crying. Not Nathan. He stood with his hands at his sides and sang as loud as he could. Okay, so it didn't make Mason feel any better and I'll admit I thought we were all going to need new ear drums from the volume coming out of his little body, but Nathan's heart was pure. He truly believed that his singing would make his baby brother stop crying. If nothing else, it made us laugh. And what more could a musical two-year-old ask for?
Have you heard about the PBS special Coming Home? Join Queen Latifah, John Mayer, Elmo and others, as they examine the extraordinary courage of families coping with the combat injuries suffered by a service member. Be inspired by their strength and help children cope with change. Wednesday, April 1, at 8:00 p.m. You should check it out!
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.
My aunt asked how it was going, having this new baby and all. I told her that the incessant fighting over who gets to hold Baby Mason was endearing, yet on my last nerve. I think I forgot to tell her how the manhandling was annoying too. And Dad's brilliant idea to stave off tears by sticking a finger in the baby's mouth? Great because we know Dad's hands are clean, but Nathan's? Not so much. And speaking of Nathan....
It's funny as mothers how we just know things about our children. People look at us like we are crazy, but we just know. Like how I knew that Nathan's manic behavior was probably due to the fact that he wasn't on his schedule. Oh, if you knew how it pained me to say those words. "His Schedule." I mock the schedule mothers. I do. It's not nice, but I do. Those women who have never had lunch out because that is right in the middle of nap time? "Come on" I say.
Then I got my own scheduled child. One that has scheduled himself. He's fine, as long as he sleeps in his own bed and he makes his nap time every day at roughly the same time. This he did for himself, which I am sure makes it even worse. He, as a tender little two-year-old, had to make his own schedule. People looked at me like I was crazy as I attempted to explain away his behavior as needing sleep. I think everyone wanted to blame his craziness on getting pushed out of the loop by another baby. Someone suggested that maybe napping was a thing of the past for this child. I knew better. He knew better.
So in the midst of welcoming Baby #3 to our family, I realized that what my Baby #2 needed from me what right in front of me: the opportunity for a good night's rest. This will apparently allude the rest of us now that we have a hungry and crying baby to love in the middle of the night, but Nate's a whole new boy. Thank heavens for that.
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.
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***