Saturday, January 28, 2012

More firsts for me

This has been a week of more firsts:

First week of successful daily dog walks with Nolan in the moby wrap: Arnie is a much happier camper, and Nolan takes a nap in the moby (for about 2 1/2 hours) and I get some things done around the apartment.

Getting suited up for our Arnie + Nolan walk. 

First outing to the dr. office on my own, (translation: first time driving with a crying Nolan in the backseat without another adult to tell me he's not dying back there).

First grocery store trip with Nolan: after the dr. visit, we stopped at Whole Foods because he was asleep in the car seat, and we were direly low on certain staples.  It was mostly a win-win situation, other than the fact that I came home with more than I went in for, and didn't necessarily remember the certain staples I was planning on getting.  But with or without a baby, that is what usually happens to me at Whole Foods.

First time making dinner with Nolan in the moby and in my left arm, football carry style.  I am getting more comfortable doing things with him on me/ in my arms, and it feels great to be able to make dinner so Nick doesn't have to as soon as he walks in the door.

First time getting a week of daily showers: we have a sort of routine each night now, after Nick gets home, Arnie gets a quick walk, dinner happens, Nick has daddy time with Nolan and I get a long, hot, shower.  I even put on lotion and clean clothes, it's luxurious, and necessary for my whole self.

And the most exciting bit of firsts, first two nights in a row of decent sleep.  It's not one thing or another that seems to work with Nolan, though the consistent thing is that he sleeps best with us (either curled up  next to me, or in the co sleeper when he knows we are in the room).  And swaddling is iffy too (I was definitely premature in my swaddling love).  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  Two nights in a row we got 2, 4+ hour stretches, with feeding in between.  It was amazing, I feel like a person.

And a little bit embarrassing: first time eating practically a whole package of Oreo's by myself.  I have to say, the nursing is going really well, Nolan is clearly thriving, but my sugar cravings are out of control.  I was reading a little about nursing cravings online, and it makes sense that sugar is quick carbohydrate energy, and since I've not been getting the best sleep, I do need quick energy here and there, but really, I could be snacking on cookies all day and not be satisfied.  I've also been wanting coffee a lot, and for the first time in my life, I've made pot of decaf every morning this week and it's been delicious.  Even though I know I'm not getting much caffeine, there's something really nice about a hot cup of coffee each morning, that now I am really looking forward to.

Weight/ length/ head size update: our boy is growing!  At 5 weeks he is 11 pounds, 7 ounces!  He has gained exactly 2 pounds since birth, and is 22 and 3/4 inches long.  For the record, he wore a 6 month outfit last night (though I am sure it shrank in the wash), and it was the right length.  He nursing right now as I am typing this, and just had 2 big poops!, somebody needs a new diaper!

Here are some photos of Nolan's fifth week of life:

Nolan is hanging in one of his buzz bassinets.  Today he swatted at the little hanging rattle! 

I caught a little smile sneaking out!

"Whoa Mom, did you hear what Dad said? He's so crazy..."

Here is our ever faithful protector, don't cross him. 

Check out the state of affairs in our living room.  Typical day in the life shot... 

Nolan responds to belly tickling! We thought we'd squeeze him into this (adorable, from our registry, thanks Matt and Maggie) onesie, since he won't be fitting into newborn clothes much longer.  The crotch snaps were nearly impossible! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

baby rants

First Target outing  (alone)
Well the post baby, return to the world of the shopping, interacting and general living has begun.  Last weekend I successfully went to a friends baby shower, and this past Saturday I made an errand run to Target (sans baby).  Sarah's baby shower was great, it felt so nice to get out of the house and visit with friends, I didn't forget how to drive a stick shift Subaru, and Nolan did just fine without me.  Target on the other hand was almost a complete failure.  I wandered around aimlessly, despite the explicit list in my pocket.  The clothing section, which was my main goal (nursing friendly clothes are needed) was entirely overwhelming, and I could not focus on anything, it didn't seem to matter, trying on clothes at a store felt trivial and silly when I can do online shopping with baby in arms.  The one thing I really enjoyed about the Target run was the decaf fancy Starbucks drink I treated myself to as soon as I walked in the door.  It was enough just to walk around with a coffee in hand, it made me feel like I'd returned to pleasant society, at least for a little while.

Nap and Nurse
My dear friend Kristina introduced me to the term "nap and nurse" the other day when her family was visiting, and it is such an accurate description of what Nolan and I do all day at home.  He is a boy comforted most quickly by the boob, (like many others I suppose:), and when we are home without Nick, that is where he wants to be.  If he could sleep all day while nursing, he would.  I am the one who breaks his reverie to do people things like go to the bathroom and heat up something for lunch.  We are thrilled that he is thriving, and that he is such a big fan of eating, but we sincerely need to work on the other parts of life like napping alone and sleeping at night.  Speaking of sleeping at night, my swaddling love was premature.  For Nolan, the trick is swaddling him when he's already in a deep sleep: he fights it so vigorously when he's even mildly awake, and then gets so revved up that sleep, though it's what he needs most, is the last thing on his little adrenaline filled mind.  And then it works until he frees his arms, which cause him to wake up right away, and can be anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours (our record).  It's just so unpredictable, if he's really out (limp limb signs and slack face) he can sleep in the bed with us and be ok for about 2 hours, but if we put him in the co-sleeper, even when he's deeply sleeping, he always wakes within a few minutes.  What worked for one night seems to be impossible the next, and the only constants are marathon nursing before finally falling asleep for a little while, and my sleep deprivation that I have acclimated to, to a degree... suggestions welcome!

Here's a pic of Kristina and Paul's baby Gus, and Nolan meeting for the first time! Instant BFF. (thanks for the picture Paul!)

Baby clothes story
Before Nolan was born, it's fair to say that I was a complete novice and had no idea what we really needed in terms of baby clothes.  Nick is a member of the camp of "we don't need anything, he can wear the same thing all the time, and don't buy any clothes," which for newborn stuff was a fairly good approach because of all the hand me downs we got from friends and the shower and otherwise gifts we received.  I did buy 1 pack of newborn onesies because I thought it was a good idea to have extra.  He has worn the onesies (the crotch snapping, long sleeve shirt kind) all of one time.  And now they're too small.  So Nick has prevailed in this arena so far.  The clothes we've used the most of are the sleeper outfits, with or without feet, he goes through about 3 of them a day with spit up and explosive pooping and peeing, and getting in and out of onesies is so time consuming and frustrating for him.  We stick to comfy outfits that he can wear during the day and at night.   But the whole reason for this paragraph is that now, we are at a point where we will be retiring his newborn outfits.  He has grown too long! He can't straighten his legs in some of them, my boy is growing!  This must mean that he is getting some good nourishment, which makes me feel not so bad about letting him nurse all the time.  Anyhow, over the course of the last month, I have discovered a favorite for baby clothes.  We have 2 Kicky Pants outfits (thank you Kim and Jim and Kristina and Paul!) and they are our favorites.  They are made from bamboo, are soft, and wick moisture away (which is great when you have a heater of a boy).  And this morning, I made my first, post birth, baby clothes purchase on Amazon.  I got more Kicky Pants for Nolan!  I can't wait for them to come in the mail.

Of course, the baby is on my lap doing the napping part of nap and nurse, so I'll get some pictures up here a little later today!  (pics added!)

This would be a new dance move: left arm up, legs folded: sporting the Kicky Pants outfit.

I caught the beginnings of a smile on camera!  His eyes look happy to me. 

And here is the best laundry basket inhabitant ever.  He didn't think it was too funny, but he let me take a picture before reminding me he wasn't amused.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Grutz says, "Babies have a lot of 'firsts', apparently." or "Step right up! Step right up and try your luck with Nolan!"

Scrubbing the night away....

Nary did I expect I'd be biding my time for my son to lose his belly-button.  But here we found ourselves weeks after the little squirt joined us, his dried former umbilical lingering a bit longer than we anticipated. But finally, finally it fell off.  Kind of.  At least enough to bath him!  BABY'S FIRST BATH!!!!
Dad prepping Nolan before his first bath.  "Ok son, just go out there and try your best.  You're ready for this.  However  it goes, just know your mother and I are very, very proud of you.  Go get'em, tiger.  Oh, and don't eat the soap."
Mom washing up Nolan.  The little guy enjoyed his first bath and did NOT eat any soap.  We're so proud, indeed.

Arnie and the Boy.  I smell made-for-tv movie.... (and some weird formatting that I couldn't fix before Nolan woke up!)

Not too long ago Carleen and I were stumbling through the ins and outs of keeping a house with a dog.  Now we're stumbling through the ins and outs of keeping a house AND a 1 month old baby.  Arnie is a great dog.  Who, sometimes, likes to remind us that he has the capacity to be a needy dog, just a reminder.  We were concerned about Arnie and the baby and all the changes we'd encounter.  And, like mentioned above, Arnie has been great.  And he's reminded us that he can be a total shit, too.  Mind you, this is the first winter we've had with him so I think he's getting a little cabin fever.  We don't go on the long walks as often.  Carleen really can't walk him yet and I'm at work 8 plus hours a day.  Oh, and did I mention he's not getting the attention like he used to prior to December 19th?  Yeah, that whole thing, too.  So he's had a minor slip-up.  Poor, poor stuffed lizard toy.  We hardly knew you.
Who knew Arnie like the taste of wool stuffing?  Let the record show the gruesome act, wool, savagely dangling from Arnie's mouth.  Oh, the humanity.

Let not this little smudge on Arnie's character sour your opinion.  He has been delightful.  A needy delight.  He and I go to the beach on the weekends and we have a blast, damn the snow and ice!  Our friends Paul and Kristina visited with their son, Gus.  I was at work, but Paul really bonded with Arnie (big surprise as Arnie doesn't really like guests, especially guys) and he even walked the pooch.

BF4E!!  Paul and Arnie hanging in the 'hood.  Arnie, what's up?  Now you sorta like people.  Weird.  But good!  Don't get me wrong.
Nolan likes to be licked by Arnie (I think).  Carleen does not.  Arnie does understand to be gentle with the boy and I can't wait until Nolan's big enough to play with the mutt.  Today I was taking a photo of the boy and Arnie just couldn't help himself.  Oh, Arnie, you're so sweet.

Our exalted leader posing for the masses.  Oh, wait.  Who's this coming along........
Arnie, "Hey Dad, can Nolan play fetch?!?!"  Nolan, "Yeah, Dad! Can I?!  I won't tell Mom, I swear!"
Dad, "Boy, you know your mother would hide me.  (whispers)  Just wait 'til she runs some errands." (Wink)
Not one but TWO Nolan sanctioned competitions!!

Game #1
Nolan came in weighing a whopping 9 lbs 7 oz.  He's due for a check up on Wednesday, January 25th.  How much will he weigh?  Make your guess.  Closest wins.

Game #2
Write a caption to the following photo.  100 word limit.  What is Nolan thinking?  What is Nick smiling at?  What's going through Arnie's brain?  Funny.  Serious.  Weird.  Anything goes.  Carleen will pick the winner (she does have the English degree).

What's at stake?  Signed authentic Nolan body art prints.  Yup.  That's not a typo.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grutz says, "The reign of Nolan must come to an end!" or "You know, there's a lot in this world NOT related to Nolan."

WARNING- This post has very little Nolan info.  Go ahead, I'll wait while you go to your favorite site.
This is NOT Nolan.  This is a harpy eagle.  No. 1 harpy eagles are from South America, Nolan is from Chicago.  No. 2 harpy eagles are birds, Nolan is a boy.

Body Catch-up.

My life in the Cult of Nolan, though blissful and joyous, has not been without its challenges.  Primarily sleep related (though it must be said Carleen endures much, much, MUCH less sleep than I) and its negative effect on work.  Work, in turn, wears me out also.  Couple that with an exhausting (mental/emotional) visit back to Iowa to see my ailing Dad, and BOOM!! I'm sick.  So I've holed myself up in the spare room recouping.  And not leave anything for the All Mighty Nolan to catch, which in turn, would incur the wrath of his High Priestess Carleen.  She can, with effort, be that kind of High Priestess.

Hangin' with Mr. Grutz.

I've been teaching 3rd grade now for a couple of weeks at a charter school.  The combination of longer day (8-4 with the kids vs 9-3 at public school), beginning in the middle of the year, a +1 year of NOT working (sigh), and new baby has made this transition into a new teaching role a little less smooth than I'd like or expect, knowing my skill and experience.  It has been a wonderful opportunity and it is nice to get back into the classroom.  Again, I'm faced with that age-old dilemma: Never being satisfied.  Struggling to be patient in the process.  The students are HERE.  I want them THERE.  It's a process, I know.

Wisconsin 2012 - Recall is a b!tch.

As I've pointed out in the past, the crazy hi-jinx of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin would land him in some scalding water.  And it has.  I'm still amazed at his handlers and aides.  Does he know the state and labor history of Wisconsin?  Or the demographics.  If there's one thing about upper-midwest democrats and liberals, it's that they're industrious.  The weather of the midwest does not lend itself to leisure and lying about.  It's about doing (or surviving, winters in Wisconsin are tough*).  Take this work ethic and apply it to a ethical platform and you get things done.  Would this have happened in California?  No.  The weather is too nice.

Continuing with politics....Iowa 2012 - Caucus of the Damned!

Whew, I'm so glad the caucus is over.  And I don't even live there!  The constant (half-baked) coverage and the terrible national take on the the state or the much sited piece from Stephen Bloom (mostly truthful, a bit harsh).  Enough.  Well, I'm sure you've seen the Iowa Nice video.  It really sums up a lot of what I've been going on and on and on about for ages (sorry to all you people that put up with my Iowa homerism.  I am the Patron Saint of Iowa Pride, St. Nicholas of the Tall Corn.)  If you haven't, sit down punk.  (BTW, some cussin' in this here video, don't play it at work or in front of the wee ones, unless they're Iowans because they totally get it.)
Thanks Paul D. Benedict and Scott Siepker for your lovely take on the great Hawkeye State.

I'm out.

And I have a hunch Nolan will be back in the blog shortly.

*Wisconsin is cold.  But this is worse.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Nolan is 1 month!

Yesterday at my friend Sarah's baby shower, I was talking to a few moms who were such swaddling proponents- the tight, straightjacket kind of swaddling, that I decided to give it another try.  In my few attempts in his first week of life, Nolan batted his arms and legs around so much that he escaped the swaddle and screamed through the whole process.  It felt a little torturous, so we let it go for a while.  Since yesterday, I have somewhat reluctantly (it's so tight, and he still screams at first) re-invested myself in the swaddle and today is day 2 of real naps, alone in the co-sleeper: yesterday he slept for 3 hours straight in the middle of the afternoon!  And we had a great night last night as well.  Today it's been 10 minutes so far, and he's tightly swaddled, peaceful, and making breathing sounds so that I know he's still alive (I'm still in the check to see if he's breathing stage...).  I am officially a believer in the swaddle, and it's amazing to have a few minutes or hours to myself to do things like update the blog with his big boy, 1 month photos. 

Big yawn!  Nolan is doing lots of cute things with his face these days.  We've gotten big smiles, little laughs, and generally hilarious old man caricature faces. 

Chubby cheeks and content baby. 

We've discovered that Nolan loves this weird buzz chair.  It was a hand me down from Nick's sister, and it has proved priceless to calm him down and give us a few minutes hands free. 

Arnie is the ever faithful watch dog.  He usually is pointed towards the door ready to fend off any undesirables. 

Nolan is getting more cuddly by the day.  He likes wedge his head in the crook of my shoulder and  be close.  I love it. 

Cuddly and curious!  He is holding his head up so much, following lights and faces around the room and is looking everywhere.  It's almost like we can see his brain growing and changing. 

Arnie is also feeling a little rejected, poor guy, he's not the top of the attention pyramid anymore.  We have to be careful to give him love or he gets really jealous and throws his kong at Nolan's basket...