Monday, June 28, 2010

Down Time and a Genius Child

It seems like we've been running ourselves ragged lately with all of these trips to my parents' houses.  Father's Day weekend turned into a longer than expected trip, but it was well worth it.  Last weekend we went to a baseball game and went out to visit my stepmom and brothers.  But this week Sylvain has meetings all week for work, so Sylvia and I have the whole glorious week to ourselves.  Ahhhh, special snuggle time with the wee Nugget. 

I was going to save this for her three month letter, but I'm too excited about it not to share, and besides, I have plenty of other good things to write about in her upcoming letter.  (She'll be three months old next week!  Can you believe that?!  I am the mother of a THREE MONTH OLD BABY!!  Weird.)

Anyway, we went out to eat last night and after dinner we thought we'd go rent a movie (who do we think we are, right?).  While Sylvain was in the movie store, Sylvia and I waited in the car.  I turned around in my seat to play with her and her boyfriend, the duck.  I was pulling the cord down, wrapping her little hand around it, and letting go while her hand took a ride up to the duck as it vibrated, which, to a 3 month old, is a TOTAL PARTY!  She was shrieking with delight every time I let go and her little legs would start to kick furiously as if to say, "Again!  Again!"  By the time Sylvain came out to the car, she and I were both cracking up laughing.  Alas, all good things must come to an end, so as she let go of the pull cord I turned around to face forward and buckled my seatbelt.  We started driving back home and I was in the middle of explaining what was making her laugh so hard when we heard it...

click click click BUUUZZZZZ!!!!

We both snapped a drop-jawed look at each other, implying, "Oh my god, did I just hear what I think I heard?"  Then I turned around to see her little fist all wrapped around that blue pull cord.  Shock and awe, people, shock - and - awe!  I looked back at Sylvain and screamed...


And she is.  This is what happens when you let your daughter fall in love with a duck.  We basked in the glow of first-time parentdom all the way home!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our Extended Holiday Weekend

What a glorious Father's Day Weekend we had as a family this year!  So glorious, in fact, that it's 9:27pm on Tuesday and I'm just now starting to feel like our long weekend has come to a close.  Phew!  It was a doozy.  Here are the highlights.

We went to visit the grandparents for the weekend to celebrate all the wonderful dads in our lives.  We arrived on Saturday afternoon and had dinner with Ann and Andy, who are expecting their first baby (a girl!!) in November.  I haven't seen Ann since shortly after she found out she was pregnant, and I am happy to report that she has an adorable baby bump and she's doing well.  Andy was brewing beer, so Sylvain started his Father's Day festivities as "assistant brewer."  An excellent start to the weekend.

On Sunday, Mom and I got up early and took The Nugget to church while Sylvain and Jay slept in.  When we got back, Mom made a HUGE breakfast, which we enjoyed with Jordan and Grandma Neltner.  We handed out presents for Sylvain and Jay, and we even had one for good old Uncle Jordan (a cute picture of him and the baby)!  Sylvain decided to share his gift with Sylvia...

 She's holding that cigar right in front of her new "I Love Daddy" onesie!  If she isn't present enough for Father's Day, I don't know what is!

Next we headed out to my Dad's house for a wonderful dinner with his family.  When we arrived everyone passed around the baby...

But she ended up sitting for a long time in the head honcho's lap, watching motorcycle races on tv...

That's my Dad and he's the best!  Doesn't he look like the happiest Grandpa you ever did see?  And she was so cozy and content there in the crook of his arm.  I have to say, spending time with him and Sylvain on Father's Day was...well, it was more than my heart could take.  I was so filled up with love (and baby cuteness) all day long, that my heart was nearly about to burst every time I turned around.  It was a great day.

Since we were already up north, we decided to go to King's Island on Monday with John and Evan.  Some people (mainly my mother) thought we were crazy to take a baby up there "in that heat!"  But we decided to stick to our plan and see what would happen.  We drove separately from my brothers just in case we had to leave early, which I thought we would certainly do.  The first two hours of the day were pretty darn hot, so we found ways to stay cool...

There was plenty of shade and plenty of air conditioned places where Sylvia and I could hang out while the boys rode their rides and had their fun.  Then it stormed and WOAH, BUDDY, LOOK OUT!!  Everyone in the park swarmed to the large, air conditioned hall to take refuge.  Luckily, we got there before the crowd and found a seat, had some lunch, and played with the baby until the storm passed. 

I remember saying to my brothers, "What would we do without this baby?  We'd be totally bored!"  After about an hour, the storm cleared and the temperature was nice and cool.  Thank you, Mother Nature! 

Sylvia was such a trooper!  She sat in her stroller and smiled at her duck/boyfriend ALL DAY LONG.  She fell asleep a couple of times and I fed her when she was hungry, but she never, ever fussed and never seemed uncomfortable.  I thought she and I would have left early, but we stayed with the boys all afternoon and into the evening.  By the time we finally left (waaaayyyy past her bedtime) she was pooped, so we decided to stay at Mom's for an extra night instead of driving home.  I'm so glad we did, because that meant that today we could go relax at my Aunt Dar's pool before heading home...

  "Somebody get me a beer!"

Now we're home and it feels like we've been gone for a week.  I'm looking forward to some quiet family time in our little house - lots of snuggles and smooches so we can celebrate Father's Day every day.  Here's to a wonderful Daddy and a sweet, sweet baby.  I could not be more blessed!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dr. Abrams

Okay, every parent I've talked to in the last year says they loooove their pediatrician, so I know that all pediatricians are good.  I assume that, as a mother, anyone in a lab coat who tells me my baby is healthy and happy would be great in my book.  We loved the pediatrician at the hospital (Dr. French! How weird is that?) and we loved the doctor who gave us a tour of the office when we were looking around at different groups.  Given all of this evidence, I should just say that I love pediatricians in general but...BUT...


Yes, I'm sure your pediatrician is nice and I'm sure you love him or her, but you don't love your doctor as much as I love our doctor - I promise!  Dr. Abrams is the sweetest, nicest, most reasonable person I've ever met, and for a neurotic worry-wart mother like me, she is a gift from heaven!  We took Sylvia for her two month appointment today and I had a gigantic list of questions to ask her that I've been saving up for the last eight weeks.  Side note - my list was hanging on the fridge this whole time and yesterday I passed by and did a double take at when I realized that Sylvain added question number 8, "What can you tell us about the ten million dollar buy-out option?"  Oh, I laughed and laughed.  He's good for that.

Anyway, my first few questions were answered right away - yes, she weighs enough.  Yes, she's long enough.  Yes, her head is big enough and her soft spots are totally normal.  All of her stats put her in the "average" category for size and I was very happy with that.  Yes, we can take her in a pool or a lake.  Yes, we can put baby sunscreen or baby bug spray on her.  No, it's not weird for a breastfed baby to go three days without pooping.  But any doctor could have told me all of that.  What I love about Dr. Abrams is her sincerity. 

I love the way she said "How did it go with the spitting up?" as soon as she walked in the door, just to follow up on that situation I called in about six weeks ago.  I love the way she held Sylvia still and said, "Let's look at those pretty blue eyes," while she waved her little light stick in her face.  I love the way she asked me, "How's the breastfeeding going?" and the way she said, "Oh good!" when I told her it was going well.  And when I told her how Sylvia is sleeping at night (anywhere from 3 - 6 hour stretches over about 12 hours) she said very matter-of-factly, "And that'll get even longer as she grows.  You'll get more sleep."  Oh, hallelujah, the words "more sleep" made me want to reach over and kiss her!  She rolled Sylvia onto her tummy and watched her hold her head up, then she screamed "Yea!!!" and clapped her hands for MY daughter!  How many babies does she see every day?  And she gets this excited about MINE?!  What a wonderful doctor.

What I'm trying to say is - our doctor rocks and yours is just so-so.  No doctor is as great as Dr. Abrams.

Now on a more somber note - that crazy lady who comes in after the doctor and pokes my kid with three huge needles?  She's not my favorite person.  She was very nice and sweet, until she pulled out a sword and held it up to the light so we could all watch it gleaming.  She grabbed Sylvia's legs in a death grip and stabbed her with that giant sword, then two more giant swords, and left my daughter screaming for her life.  I thought I've heard this kid cry, but it turns out all that fussing she did at my house was NOTHING compared to getting stabbed.  She was M-A-D mad, and if she could cuss that lady out, I bet she would have.  I picked her up and she grabbed onto me for dear life, the poor little thing.  I fought back my own tears while I bounced her up and down and said, "It's's okay...." over and over again.  Needless to say, she's been a bit groggy today and will hopefully be back to her bright and chipper self tomorrow.  And if she's not, I'm calling Dr. Abrams - the lady who makes everyone feel better (especially me)!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Her First Love

Well, I knew it wouldn't take long for any daughter of mine to fall in love.  Sylvia has a mad crush on Mr. Quack.  Her face lights up the minute she sees him and oh buddy, when you pull on his string and make his tummy vibrate...well, it's a total party.  We keep him strapped to her play mat or to her carrier when we're on the road.  This morning I was hustling around the house grabbing burp cloths and pacifiers and shoving them into the diaper bag, when I turned around to catch the two of them practically making out.  Lucky for me, I had my trusty camera at the ready!  Just call me Mama Paparazzi!

You can tell she's waving her arms, but also - that blanket is totally airborne from the kicking!  Just scandalous, outrageous shrieks of joy coming out of this child.

And look at the love in her eyes!  Mr. Quack, if you ever hurt her I'll yank that pull string right out of  know. 

I guess we should go buy some more of these because no other toy in this house is nearly as beloved.  Every time she lays eyes on him it's love at first sight - and it probably is love at first sight again and again because I don't think she's old enough to remember him from one day to the next.  I don't know what she sees in him, but whatever she's looking for in a toy - he's got it!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Busy Summer Day!

That's right, folks.  You're looking at the one and only Jordan Humbert, hard at work!  Sylvia and I went to visit him at his *new* office downtown today.  For those of you that know him (and those of you that don't), he is now part owner of Two Cap Studios, a stellar graphic design and software company!  We are soooo proud of him, and we're really stoked that his office is right around the corner from downtown's most happening street, great for weekday lunches and summertime visits from his favorite neice!  Jordan now designs websites and applications for businesses in our area, or any area, for that matter, so if you or anyone you know are in need of a fresh, hip and user-friendly website, he's your go-to guy.  I have to say, I think he's a creative genius, and that's my professional (not biased big sister) opinion!  

I love his office.  When he showed me the sketch for this bookshelf, I was skeptical, but once he created and installed it, I was convinced of his brilliance.  Isn't it totally cool?  I think we need one for our house, but he's a little busy running a new business and I'm not chopping down any trees myself!

So, after sleeping through her visit with Uncle Jordan, Sylvia came home and decided it was time for an afternoon dip...

Maybe you can't tell from this picture, but she's totally smiling!  We found this adorable hippo baby pool for super cheap, and since she had so much fun on Memorial Day at Aunt Dar's house, we decided she needed her own pool for the backyard.  We both slapped on our bathing suits, slathered ourselves in sunscreen, and hit the water for a lovely ten minutes.

Then we laid out (in the shade) and chatted for a while to dry off...

 This girl loves to be outside and she looooves to be in water.  Bath time at our house is all giggles and kicks.  I think we'll get lots of use out of that little pool, even if I do have to hold her in it all summer because she can't sit up yet.  And I know she'll have a blast at Norris Lake this year and at the annual Humbert camp out this fall.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Two Months

Dear Sylvia,

Today you are exactly two months old and all I can say is....

you're alseep.

Halleluiah, praise the Lord, you are ASLEEEEEEPPPP!!!!!

Daddy and I have been working very hard to put you to bed every night this month and it appears that we may have finally figured out what you need.  Unfortunately, what you need is very difficult for me, because you've made it clear that you need to be left alone to cry.  Oh my god, I have to let you CRY and it kills me.  Here's your usual bedtime routine: bath, pajamas, book, prayers, lullaby.  Somewhere in there you get your last meal of the day, usually between pajamas and reading a book.  Sometimes you fall asleep long before we finish the bedtime routine, but for the last couple weeks, you have started to cry when we lay you down in bed.  This usually leads to Daddy and I taking turns going into your room, sitting next to your bed and shushing you or giving you a pacifier, or patting you, or singing to you, or pleading with you by shouting, "Dear God, child, just go to SLEEP!" and then storming out of your room, instructing the other one that it's their turn.  You are one tough nighttime cookie.

So, last night, after lots of help and advice from other parents with babies, we decided to let you "cry it out."  We went through the routine, then I laid you down in bed and you started your usual shreiking.  I had to walk away from you, which was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life.  It was harder than giving birth to you.  It was harder than Sister Anita Marie's calculus class in high school.  It was harder than driving through Taos, New Mexico in a stick shift in the pouring down rain.  It was HARD and I cried when I left your room.  I went outside to sit with Daddy and some friends, and after about a half hour, we all went inside to discover that you were asleep.  What a relief!

This morning I rushed into your room as soon as I heard you cry.  I fed you, unswaddled you and brought into bed with me and Daddy so we could all snuggle together as a family.  I want you to know that no matter how hard you cry at night, no matter how lonely you might get in the big crib in that dark room, Daddy and I will ALWAYS be there in the morning to pick you up and shower you with hugs and kisses.  Tonight, we tried the same thing again.  We went through our routine and I laid you down in bed.  You cried, I cried, but before I could even get to the back door to sit outside with stopped.  You were alseep.  It was so quick and so easy for you.  I was so proud of you and I suddenly realized that this is what you've needed all along.  You just need us to LEAVE YOU THE HECK ALONE!  If you could talk last week, I bet you would have said, "Stop picking me up and bouncing me, Mommy!  Enough with the shushing and the singing and the touching!  I'm almost asleep, just leave me alone!"  You're so independent like that.  What a good girl.

Other than going to sleep like a crazy person, your second month has been filled with adorable smiles and stunning glances.  Sometimes you turn your head and smile at me sideways which just melts my heart all to pieces.  You love to be outside and you love to watch the sunshine music player on your play mat.  But the toy you are totally into right now?  Your vibrating yellow duckie.  Daddy and I call him Mr. Quack Cocaine because we have never seen anyone so addicted to an object.  I don't know what it is about that duck, but when you see him, your face lights up like you just won a million dollars and you know exactly what you're going to do with it. (Buy your parents a boat?  Think about it.)

You've made lots of new friends this month; mostly strangers in public who come up to us and say something like, "Excuse me, but I just have to tell you, that has got to be the cutest baby I've ever seen!"  And I'm all, "Way to go, buddy, you're giving my kid such an ego!"  But it's okay because it's true.  You are the cutest baby on the planet and we might as well be going out to dinner with a celebrity - a big one.  You also get lots of visitors around here, especially Uncle Jordan, who has agreed to be your Godfather.  This means he has to buy you lots of presents and show up for every birthday party, which is kind of a big deal.  I hope you don't have any birthday parties on the same nights as his shows, because he's going to have to choose and I'd hate for him to fail miserably as a Godfather or a musician.  Tough call, little one.  We'll see how it goes; we have plenty of backup Godfathers just in case, but I think he'll work out just fine.

Nugget, we love you.  You light up our life and bring such joy into this family, even when you're being a turd at bedtime.  Now that we're starting to figure things out, I hope you continue to fall asleep well so you can go on being the happiest, most darling baby in the world. 


Sunday, June 6, 2010

You down with PPD?

In the middle of all this happy fun baby time, I decided to write a bit of a downer post, just to warn you.  I need to write it for two reasons - first of all, not nearly enough people talk about the dark side of having a baby, and second of all, sometimes I need to write to make myself feel better.  Given these two reasons, it would be best for me to write about post partum and then post it on the ol' blogeroo.

I'm not depressed in the dictionary sense of the word, but after reading all I can about post partum depression I've learned that it doesn't always mean you're down and out after having a baby.  I haven't reached the point where I don't want to take care of myself or my child, and I'm not losing a whole lot of sleep over it, but still, it's there.  Mine has not taken the form of sadness, but rather anxiety.

At first I thought I was just being my usual, worrisome self.  I come from a family of worry warts and that's sort of "our thing."  Everyone worries about everyone else.  I knew that I'd worry about my kids and I was kind of looking forward to it.  But lately, this monster of anxiety has multiplied exponentially into a giant weight.  It feels like anxiety has pitched a tent on my shoulders and is eating nothing but whoppers and milk shakes so that every day he's heavier and heavier.  I worry about Sylvia ALL THE TIME!  The usual worries - is she eating enough?  Is she sleeping enough?  Am I doing this right?  Am I scarring her for life?  Then there are the irrational worries.  What if I forget about her and leave her in the car?  What if she's choking in her sleep?  What if Sylvain doesn't come back from the grocery store and leaves me with this baby all by myself?  What if I slip and fall and slice her head open on the corner of the coffee table?  What if she drowns in the lake when we go on vacation?  What if, what if, what if, what if, WHAT IF?????

Usually I can talk myself out of this irrational worrying.  I just tell myself, "Don't be silly.  That is so silly!  She is fine.  You are fine."  Then I remind myself, "Just have a little faith, for heaven's sake.  You're not the only one in charge of her.  There's a bigger force at work in her life and He has big plans for her.  Your job is just to love her.  Just love her the best you can."  And when that doesn't work, I scold myself, "What is your problem?!  Get it together!  Don't be ridiculous."  And usually, after one or all of these inner monologues followed by plenty of prayer, I feel much better. 

I also have the added bonus of living with a husband I can talk to.  He is a very rational person to begin with, but he's also accustomed to my worrysome ways.  He always puts my anxieties in perspective and can help me see the bigger picture.  I'll tell him one of my worries and explain how I know it's silly.  Sometimes he laughs at me, which is all I need to feel better.  But sometimes he engages in a serious converstaion about exactly what we would do if - fill in the blank.  And, as hard as some of those conversations are, I always feel better when they're over.

I decided to post this today because last night all of these irrational fears and worries finally seeped into my dreams.  I had three absolutely terrifying nightmares that all involved losing Sylvia or Sylvain or both of them.  At one point, I sat up in bed, looked at the clock, and decided to just wait for Sylvia to wake up instead of going back to sleep.  Sylvain asked me what was wrong, so I laid back down and told him I was having really bad dreams and I didn't want to talk about it.  He scootched over to me, wrapped me up in his arms, snuggled his head into my neck and fell asleep.  In a matter of minutes I was asleep, too, until Sylvia woke me up with her "Feed me!" cry.  I gladly hopped out of bed to go hold my baby girl and once she was in my arms, there was no more fear or worry.  When I'm holding her, I know that those moments don't last forever.  I naturally understand that this is not a time for worrying, it's a time for savoring.  If I could bottle up that feeling, that sense of urgency in the here and now, that rocking back and forth and holding on tight, well then, I wouldn't need to write about anxiety to feel better anymore.