Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fun With Bea and Pea

While I hate to wish away any minute with Alex, the more interactive he becomes, the more I ache to find out what he'll do next. He reacts to so many things now and has really started to develop a personality that extends beyond the stubborn and willful behaviors (inherited from his mother, apparently) that he has exhibited for sometime. He has always been focused and studious, but he has started to become more deliberate in his actions. In the mornings, he usually spends some waketime playing in his bouncer, which has a bee and a panda rattle (which we've named Bea and Pea, respectively) attached to the sides. When I put him in it, I usually take his hands and make him feel the toys, hoping that he'll eventually make the connection between his hands and his sense of touch. The last couple of mornings, he has started to reach for them on his own and seems to be exploring the different textures. At least that's my interpretation. I caught a bit on video so that I can better evaluate his true intentions:

He's also very active when he's in his swing, only he can't touch the toys so he just smiles and laughs at them. Sometimes he puts his arm up as if to reach for them, but that could be purely coincidence. I don't think so, but you be the judge...

Despite these new discoveries, Alex is still quite taken with random, seemingly unremarkable things like unmoving ceiling fans and blank walls. Go figure...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Hole in One

Thanks so much to my thoughtful commenters for the words of encouragement after yesterday's entry. I knew I could count on y'all for some good advice and I really do feel better today. Being at home all day everyday has focused my attention on how cyclical this stage of childrearing is and how motherhood really is 24-7-365-forever, which really can be quite overwhelming. But to be fair, it has gotten better. Sometimes you've just gotta vent, and fortunately for me (maybe unfortunately for you) this blog has proven to be very cathartic.

On a lighter note, I think Alex peed into his own mouth last night. Yeah, you heard me. When he started to wake up from his evening nap, I whisked him upstairs to get him ready for bed before he could completely wake up. However, as soon as I laid him down on the changing table, he awoke in a fuss and a hissyfit ensued. I quickly stripped off his onesie and started to change his diaper before his fit could escalate any further. The washcloth/pee-pee shield that I use to cover his boy parts was in place, and I attempted to slip it out at the same time that I folded the diaper up to secure it. In that split second of exposure, a heavy stream shot through the air in an arc that seemed bound for Alex's widely agape mouth. It must've hit its mark, because suddenly Alex's squinted eyes shot open and he began making these awful choking sounds. I panicked and quickly sat him up before I realized what had happened, then tried to apologize to my poor baby between fits of laughter.

I composed myself long enough to finish dressing him, feed him, and put him in his bed before heading downstairs to relate the hilarious story to Timothy. Typically, he starts to fuss around five minutes after I leave his room, then I go back into comfort him. Five minutes passed. Then ten. Then fifteen. Not a peep. He rarely goes down to bed that easy, especially for the first time, especially in his own bed.

Long story short, I am thinking about adding a splash of urine to his bottle every night. Hey, whatever works, right?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Does This Thing Come With Instructions?

Whoever said that parenting would be easy is a big fat liar.

Okay, nobody said parenting would be easy. In fact, everyone said it would be really hard, but I guess I just wasn't listening.

I think one of the hardest parts is having no point of reference for what is quote-unquote normal. For example, Alex is completely opposed to the whole notion of sleeping. And being tired is irrelevant. Although he exhibits every sign of fatigue, he will fight off sleeping with every bone in his body. He still gnaws and roots when he gets sleepy, but even on the rare occasion that I allow him to nurse to sleep, he wakes up the second I pull away. He will eventually go to sleep if he is being held and rocked or held and bounced or held and walked, but as soon as you go to put him down, he wakes up in a huff and the process starts over. On a rare occasion, he will accidentally fall asleep in his swing, but as soon as he startles and realizes that he has fallen asleep, he seems completely annoyed that he allowed himself to do so and proceeds to fuss until we can rock or bounce or walk him to sleep again. And that's just naps - forget about nighttime! I could rock him until until he is dead to the world, then the second I lay him in his crib he is wide awake and looking at me like, "Who said we could stop rocking? Get back to it, woman." Are all babies this resistant to sleeping or is it just my precious little angel?

At this point, I have completely tossed every self-imposed rule and preconceived notion that I once had out the window and am guilty of just about every thing that I swore I wouldn't do. I have found that you do what you gotta do to keep the baby and yourself sane, laying any convictions aside for the time being. And everyone says, "It'll get better." Great. Just tell me when so I can mark that date on my calendar and start crossing off the days.

I hate to wish away any moment I have with him now, but it is hard to enjoy every minute when I am frustrated and sleep deprived. I am afraid that my expectations for Alex are way too high for his age, and I find myself trying to reason with a seven week old instead of accepting the fact that he is a baby and that he will cry and fuss and that's okay. I have spent many hours on the internet, seeking answers to my many questions, but have found very little info about dealing with babies under three months. Is that because no one knows what to do before that? Even the experts are like, "Check back at three months. 'Till then, you're on your own."

I don't want to give the impression that it is all bad, because that certainly isn't the case. For the most part, parenthood is wonderful and exhilarating and such a precious gift that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. (Of course, that can be difficult to keep that in mind when it is three in the morning and the baby will only sleep if Mom is wide awake and rocking him.) Aside from sleeping (or not sleeping) issues, Alex has the sweetest disposition and is so much fun to play with. He isn't super interactive just yet, but he's getting there, and his smiling and laughing and cooing is enough to keep all three of us entertained for a while. And when he actually is asleep, I can't help but stare at him and tell him how sweet and loved he is, often sacrificing my own precious naptime to do so. Oh well, totally worth it...

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Alex is smiling and laughing pretty regularly these days and it is quite a trip. He is especially responsive to voices (i.e. being talked to/at), and he loves when we kiss him or put our fingers anywhere near his mouth - not really surprising considering his whole wanting-to-nurse-all-the-time thing. We can't get enough of it and we're sure you won't be able to either, so I've posted two clips to tide you over. Be warned - I took these videos vertically before I realized that YouTube is only able to post them in a horizontal format, which means you'll have to either lie on your side in front of your computer or turn your laptop sideways to watch them. Really annoying, but totally worth it...

Friday, August 24, 2007

This Little Piggy

Like a lot of nursing moms, I have been neurotic about whether I am producing enough milk for my bouncing baby boy, especially since he is a skinny little thing. (Although, to be fair, only his arms and legs are skinny. He's sporting a round, bulging belly, kind of like those malnourished Ethiopian children...wait a minute, that doesn't support my case...) We started giving him a bottle now and then to better monitor how much he is getting and try to determine whether he was getting enough. I had been feeding him 2 ounces of breastmilk (as was instructed by the pediatrician) whenever a bottle has been involved. He would slurp down the whole thing and seemed to be content with that amount, but then as soon as he started to get sleepy, he would root around and gnaw on his hands.

We started experimenting with formula last week, giving him 2 ounces at bedtime as a cue to go to sleep for the night. Again, he gulped down every last drop, and I think if he could have licked down the insides of the bottle, he would have. We started increasing the amounts of milk and formula that we were giving him, first to 2.5 ounces, then finally to 3 when that still didn't seem to be enough. I'm assuming that he is hitting a growth spurt or that he has his mom and dad's habit of eating whatever is in front of them, hungry or not. Either way, I am confident that he will exceed his weight gain goals by his 2 month visit...

He still roots and whines (and growls and screams, etc.) as soon as his eyelids start drooping, so unless we need to bump his feedings up to 4 ounces (which is completely ridiculous for a baby his size - the suggested amount for his 8.5lbs is 2.65 ounces!), I think we'll just have to deal with his desire to nurse 24-7. I had my 6 week checkup yesterday and everything is A-OK. But I did mention this issue to Mari, to which she said, "Girl, you don't need to be doing that. You can't have a baby hanging off you all day long." I was glad to hear her say that and assured her that I was doing my best to prevent that from happening, which hasn't been easy. She suggested trying a pacifier, and I explained to her that A knows the difference and gets even fussier when I patronize him by offering a fake version of the real thing. Dang, I knew having a smart baby would complicate things, I just didn't think it would happen so soon...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nudey Booty

Alex and I were hanging out yesterday and we decided that it was time for his second photo shoot. We're hoping Auntie Rach (the professional) will come soon and do a real one, but for now we'll have to settle. Although I do have to pat my own back and toot my own horn because I think they turned pretty good considering I am an amateur photog at best. Or it could just be that I think my baby is the cutest one on earth and that even pictures of him puking or peeing (see below) are adorable...

I suggested we take some pics of him frolicking through a field, or maybe posing in front of some Fayetteville landmarks, but he told me that those concepts were a little too innocent and "babyish" for his taste and insisted we do boudoir shots instead. I was going to just post a few of the best ones and put the rest on Flickr, but I couldn't decide which ones to post, so you're gonna get 'em all. Bear with me...

The black and white are always my favorite - somehow they look so swanky when you take the color out of 'em. But I've got some color ones that I think are pretty decent too. Voila...

You forget how disproportionate a baby's head is to its body until you see pics like this. No wonder being able to hold that thing up is such a celebrated achievement...

If you look closely at the first picture, you'll see why Alex has a "relieved" expression on his face. It's funny how having a baby makes you care less about petty things, like getting pee all over your expensive white blanket.

Oh yeah, and spit up too. Nope, don't care. Cute, huh? I only hope he will forgive me when he's thirteen and these pictures surface...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Party Boy

The last few days have been quite busy, what with all the partying we've been doing. Thursday night was the annual law school cookout to kick off the semester, so Alex made the rounds to meet all of Timothy's schoolmates, including his good friend and fellow member of "The Crew", Matt Panach.

The next night, Alex made an appearance at the law review party (not pictured), although he couldn't be bothered with it and slept soundly through the whole thing. I think he was saving his energy for his next party Saturday morning. His buddy Hudson was having his one year birthday party and it would be the first time our whole community group would be together since all the babies had arrived. It was quite the babyfest, since every member of the group now has one. It was great to finally be able to exchange stories and advice with the other new mommies (and the old ones).

After the party, we went home where we waited for the Evans clan to come up from Eldo. It had been three weeks since they had seen Alex, which is entirely too long. We had a good time playing games, and Alex got to know his family a little better. He's not so sure about Cousin Ashley and Auntie L (aka Trashy Ashey and HonoLuLu). He thinks they are kind of weird, but he's stuck with them so he'll have to get used to their antics.

Before they left, he even got a ride on Grammy and Papa's hawg. He's officially a biker baby now, although we have yet to find black leather chaps that will fit him...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gone Fishin'

I'm afraid that poor little Alex has inherited the sensitive stomach gene that both his father and I possess, and that much of his bellyachin' is a result of, well, bellyaches. Timothy discovered that this particular position - which our friend Bryan has deemed the "Large-mouthed Bass Hold" has a pretty good success rate when it comes to calming him down. I guess that being tummy down works wonders on his G.I. issues, while the thumb-in-mouth satisfies his oral fixation. Hey, whatever works, right?

Friday, August 17, 2007


I had put Alex in his crib and he was having some good (aka unfussy) waketime, so I decided to put some of his toys in there to see if he would look at them and/or play with them. He noticed them right away and started to flail his arms around, which I interpreted to mean, "Yay, I like toys!" I hollered for Timothy to come watch him and got the camera out in case he did something filmworthy.

Again, any actions that he takes at this point might be more accurately attributed to instincts rather than brainpower, but I like to think that my child is a genius in the making and that each and every move he makes is deliberate and not at all coincidental. That said, take a look at my brilliant five week old interacting with his toys:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Small Screen Debut

Guess what folks...we have video!!

My brilliant husband figured out how to embed video clips into our blog. Now, in addition to still pics, you can enjoy the Alex Evans Experience through live action shots!

His debut performance took place on our bed in the (early morning), where we had propped him on his Boppy so he could work on his head raising skills. It is hardly Oscar worthy, but it is the only one we have uploaded as of yet. Nevertheless, we give it two thumbs up!!

p.s. Please disregard his unruly hairdo and pajamas - he got into a spat with his stylist right before the shoot and she refused to work with him (he's such a diva).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

No Sleep for the Fussy

Alex had his weight check at the pediatric clinic this morning and man, what a fatty he has become!! Okay, not really. But he is up to 8lbs. 5.5ozs. and is 22 inches long, which means he has been averaging a 3/4oz. weight gain per day (as compared to the average of 1oz. a day). The doctor was cool with that amount and gave us his blessing to continue our current feeding regiment. We mentioned the issues we have been having with him wanting to nurse all of the time and asked for any advice he might have. His response: "Yeah, that stinks. He'll probably get over it." Thanks doc.

We have attempted various things to calm Alex when he is fussing at naptime, including rocking him, singing to him (when I do it, he seems to get even fussier), whispering sweet nothings, giving him a warm bath, continuously looping classical music CD's courtesy of the good folks of Baby Einstein, etc. I am always worried that he is too cold to be comfortable, particularly since Timothy prefers to keep the house around negative twelve degrees, so I made sure he was adequately prepared for the sub-zero temperatures by dressing him in thick socks and a stocking cap.

Of course Daddy saw this as an opportunity to dress him up like a true O.G... Holla!!

I also spent a fortune on a fancy sling at a swank baby boutique in KC (although I think I could've bought the same exact thing at Target for much less...but don't tell Timothy), hoping that I could soothe him to sleep while getting some housework done. He loves it or hates it, depending on his mood.

When we finally persuade him to sleep, often after many minutes of "fussing", he has often tired himself out so that he sleeps pretty hard and for quite a while. When he woke up from a long nap this morning, he had a pretty severe case of "bed head" that we had to share...

Big Boy Bed

Saturday was our first night at home with just the four of us (Murphy included) and it was wonderful. Alex slept in his crib for the first time and was great! We were so anxious to get him in his bed and try to establish some kind of a routine since we've been pretty haphazard up to this point. When he was sleeping with me at the hotel, he was waking up every four hours during the night, which meant I only had to get up two times. I wasn't sure we would be able to duplicate that once we put him in his own bed. At least not at first.

I fed him at 9:00 and he fell right to sleep, so we laid him in his crib and sat in our bedroom with the monitor pressed to our ears. I though for sure he would fuss when he realized that he was alone (and not nursing), but nothing!! He woke at 12:30, so I fed him again and put him back to bed. He cooed and whined a tiny bit so I went in to pat his belly and give him a pacifier and out he went. It seemed too good to be true! He woke again at 3:30 and again he ate and went right back to sleep. Finally, he woke up this morning at 6:30 so I fed him and let him have some awake time before putting him back down. He wasn't quite as sleepy since he had been awake, but only required a little extra persuasion to get him back to sleep for his early morning nap. I was hoping that this routine would stick and that Alex wouldn't decide to throw a curveball at us. Over the past month, I've learned that one key to surviving early parenthood is trial and error (sometimes just error) and that what works one time might not work the next. Bummer when you think you have something figured out and the baby's like, "Psych!!"

As a matter of fact, that is exactly what happened. As it turns out, A has been really agreeable at night time but is still totally out of wack during the day. We are trying to follow the eat-waketime-sleep system, using the parent-directed feeding (PDF) methods from On Becoming Babywise as general guidelines for establishing a flexible routine. That means that after he eats during the day, he gets some playtime and when he gets fussy, we put him down for a nap. At night, there is no waketime and he should go right back to sleep after eating.

I guess we forgot to tell Alex the plan. He is fine with the night time routine because he prefers to nurse to sleep. Problem is, he still wants to do the same during the day. Ain't gonna happen! This has amounted to a lot of crying (by me and Alex). I feel terrible and guilty about forcing him to self-soothe, but we really think it will be better in the long run. I just wish he could understood that...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

One Month Young

Alex turned one month old on Friday!! I can't believe it has been a month since we were at the hospital. It seems like forever and yet no time at all...

He is really amazing. It has been so much fun to watch him grow. He coos quite a bit now and smiles when you kiss him on the face and neck, so we have spent many hours doing just that. He follows things with his eyes and often has a heavily furrowed brow as if he is thinking really hard about what he is seeing. He seems so alert and interested in everything going on, which has been the case since the minute he was born.

He has held his head up for as long as thirty seconds at a time, and when he is on his back, he tries his hardest to roll over by flinging his arms and legs around. He gets frustrated when he tries so hard and doesn't seem to get anywhere, so I'll give him the tiniest boost and over he goes. He's not sure about being on his tummy and immediately tries to roll back over by pushing off the floor with his foot. Usually he can't get enough traction to flip himself and ends up scooting himself across the room. I am always afraid that he will get rug burns on his pretty little face, so I end up giving him a nudge until he is back on his side again. One of these days he will be able to do it on his own...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

KC or Bust

Whatta week! After some sad goodbyes, we left from Peoria on Monday morning and left for Kansas City. We've spent the last week in KC, where Timothy was finishing out his clerkship with Blackwell Sanders. The company was generous enough to put us up in a nice hotel for the week, so Alex and I got to spend some quality time together while Timothy was at the office.

I was really looking forward to the one-on-one time I would finally get with him, and I think it's safe to say that Alex was thrilled to spend so much time hanging out with Mama. Awww, that sounds so sweet, doesn't it...? Well, to Alex, "hanging out with Mama" means "I'd like to eat, then when I'm done eating I'd like to nurse some more, then I'd like to fall asleep nursing. I'd like to continue nursing until I wake up and it's time to eat again, and if you try to lay me down, I will remind you that I'd rather be nursing and will scream my bloody head off until you nurse me again." I wonder if they make a onesie that says "I'd rather be nursing", and if not, I should have one made. Like Grandma B would say, that's a million dollar idea!

Anyway, I'm sure it's just a phase - hopefully one he will quickly outgrow. Besides nursing, Alex has done a couple of other things this week. When we got here on Monday night, we decided to go to the grocery store to get a few things for the week. It was around 10:00pm at the time, so we figured that the store wouldn't be crowded enough for cooties to be an issue. Plus, we were specifically warned against the dangers of Walmart shopping before six weeks, and this was the Price Chopper - totally different. Thus, Alex had his first grocery shopping experience, albeit a short and harried one. And I didn't take any pictures! Bad mommy!

When we got back to the hotel, we decided that it was time to bite the bullet and give him his first bottle. I was surprisingly emotional about the whole thing, but I was a brave girl and did the thang. He took to it right away - kind of chomped on it a bit at first (like he used to do with me) - then figured out how it worked. Despite my reservations, I was very proud of my smart little guy (although I should probably attribute his success to instincts rather than brainpower, but whatever).

He slept really well the first night and spent the whole night in his bassinet - a rarity these days. The second night was not as smooth, so he ended up in the bed with me. Murphy joined us as well, so poor Timothy was all alone on the fold out bed in the living area (ahh, the sacrifices one makes for the family. At least it wasn't the floor, right?). He found us cuddled up before he left for work and decided to take a picture of his sweet family sleeping. Although I would normally hesitate to post a not-so-flattering picture of me sleeping, this particular scenario was special enough to overlook it. Props to Dad for taking advantage of this special photo op...

Tuesday night we went to a reception hosted by one of the partners at Timothy's firm. All of the clerks were very excited to meet Alex as they had all heard so much about him. He even got his very own name tag so that no one would confuse him with any of the associates or partners. Dinner was being served outside in a tent where it was about a hundred degrees, so they were nice enough to give A his own fan so that he would stay cool. It was a really good time, and as you can see, Alex was the life of the party.

On Wednesday, Alex and I shopped a little and spent a lot of time in the room just playing and napping. It is so hard to get anything done because even when he is sleeping I just want to sit and watch him so as not to miss a single minute. Ahhh, babies.

The Primms came up on Thursday night to hang out with us and we ended up going to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner that night.

Saturday we walked the boys around the plaza all day, despite the ninety degree temperatures and heat advisories. Although Alex's stroller has two shading mechanisms that seem to keep all the sun out, I was a little afraid that I was cooking him like a baked potato inside of there. But honest to gosh, the kid does not like air conditioning and would much rather be outside in the steamy heat. He could be screaming his fool head off and the second that warm air hits him, he shuts right up and goes to sleep. He's definitely a boy after his mother's (and grandmother's) heart.

We stopped at California Pizza Kitchen for lunch, which was delicious but pretty crowded and probably chock full of germiness. I was a little paranoid about Alex being exposed to whatever might've been floating around, so this is how he spent the lunch hour:

After we ate, I changed a wicked nasty diaper in the bathroom and then passed Alex off to Joy while I used the facilities myself. He was a bit fussy after the diaper change, so I mentioned to Joy that there was a bottle in the diaper bag should he continue to make a scene. Which he did. So she was feeding him when I came back, at which point I realized that Joy is the only one that has fed him besides me. Not even Timothy or the Grandmas had fed him yet! Luckily Timothy was unconcerned and said that of all people, Auntie Joy was worthy to be the second one to feed him.

We gave the Primms an abbreviated tour of the Blackwell offices and the city Friday evening, then grabbed some Cold Stone Creamery before heading back on Saturday. We really had an awesome time, but we were more than ready to get back and start a normal life at home sweet home...

p.s. Today is our six year wedding anniversary! We celebrated by eating at the Chinese buffet and going to bed early. See, romance is not dead...