Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Four Months

Bowen :: Four Months Old

Weight: 15 lbs 13 oz, 55th percentile. Healthy healthy baby! I swear he went from wearing 0-3’s to literally outgrowing them in one weekend and needing to move into the 3-6’s. I got a little misty eyed packing up all his little short sleeved onesies that he’s spent most of the fall in so far.

Eats: We switched from 5 oz 6 times a day to 6 oz 5 times a day. He starts the day at 5 am (yawn!), but fortunately goes back down right after he eats and then eats about every 3 to 3.5 hours after that, ending with his last bottle at 6:30.

Sleeps: This kid really loves to sleep. That doesn’t necessarily mean he always does – just that he is a much happier baby when he gets a lot of sleep. I really try hard to make sure we are home to get about 3 good naps in at home because he just doesn’t sleep as soundly in the car seat or in the Ergo anymore. At the beginning of this week, I attempted the crib switch again and lo and behold, we have a crib sleeper!! I’m going to devote a whole post to the swing to crib transition (exciting stuff, I know) because it was A Really Big Deal around these parts. But it makes me happy to turn the monitor on and see my little guy completely zonked out in his crib, one arm thrown across his forehead. He sleeps from 7:00-5:00 and then 5:30-7:00ish. His daytime naps are between an hour to two long. Usually one in the crib and two in the swing. We dropped the swaddle this month too, and it wasn’t nearly as big a deal as I expected it to be. Once he started sucking on his hand all the time, I left one hand out… then eventually the other hand… and then one day I just forgot to swaddle him at all, and it didn’t affect his sleep one bit. I still occasionally use a sleep sack with the swaddle wings and wrap his body up if he’s fussy, but often I just use a regular sleep sack. This has been a big month in terms of changes in the sleep department for little Bo! (Now for real, can someone tell me how to get my DOG to sleep through the night?)

Hair: Still blonde and has grown in a little more.

Eyes: Still very very blue! His eyes follow me and Matt as we walk across rooms, and this month he started noticing Buddy. (Watch out Spuds, your quiet and calm days are numbered!) His expressions change from second to second – Matt describes it as a lifetime of emotions in 60 seconds.

Nicknames: Bo, Bowie, Biscuit, Shrimp Biscuit

Milestones: Rolling over! He isn’t doing it a lot, but every now and then during tummy time he’ll flip from tummy to back. The first time he did it, he completely surprised himself and the look on his face was a mixture of shock and pride. He can grab a toy and bring it to his mouth – and now everything goes straight to his mouth. He dropped his paci on his own once he discovered his hands and has never looked back. (Poor wubbas – your reign was brief.) He loves to stand up on our laps and stomp his feet. He’ll giggle when he gets going with his wiggles and discovered that he can growl. (It’s a bit like having a baby dinosaur in your house. Rawrr.)

Firsts: First rolling over. First Thanksgiving. First successful night in the crib.

This has been a really fun month. Bo’s personality is really starting to emerge – he is generous with his smiles, loves the sound of his own voice (especially his “growl”) and has developed quite an affinity for his dear friend Sophie the giraffe. Life is still a little unpredictable as far as a schedule, but I’m either becoming more comfortable with the unpredictability or there is a semblance of routine emerging. Probably both. He is happy to be held by anyone, but wants to up up up – standing on laps, stomping and wiggling his whole body. He is a joyful little baby, but he is quick to get frustrated when he doesn’t get what he wants – such as the end of tummy time, out of the bath (a new development – hating the bath?) or a toy just barely out of reach. When he’s tired, he wraps an arm around my neck and lays his head on my shoulder – the only time he is really snuggly these days – and I inhale the sweet scent of Johnson’s Baby shampoo on his perfect blonde head. Every day, he delights us, befuddles us and amazes us.

Happy four month birthday, sweet boy. We love you so!






Monday, November 26, 2012

The Screamies

I had started and left in draft a blog post the other day about a recent episode of a serious case of The Screamies that Bo seemed to have come down with. It wasn't a particularly whiny post and served more as a commentary on my general constant state of befuddlement when it comes to this whole baby raising thing, but for some reason after I wrote it I was reluctant to publish it.

















I don't think there's anything wrong with using my blog to talk about bad days. In fact, I don’t think it serves anyone to slap rose colored glasses on when blogging, especially about the realities of newborn wrangling. Even so, something kept me from hitting publish on it.

Later, when I was feeding Bo in the wee hours of the morning and was gazing down at his beautiful eyelashes in the soft glow of the iPhone light as I surfed Pinterest (sorry baby), I came across one of those little platitude printables that are a dime a dozen on the ol' Pinterest these days. I paused it on for a second and it spoke to me, so I repinned it. The words replayed themselves in my head for the next few days.










Then it hit me today. I was walking around Walmart with a fussy baby in the Ergo, spit-up on both of our shirts (happened in the parking lot - of course), bouncing and shushing and trying to grab a can of Enfamil, some command hooks and a new eyeliner before the imminent meltdown hit. To anyone's eyes, I might have looked at a little frazzled, a little sleep deprived and maybe a little stressed. (Then again, I was at Walmart... I probably looked pretty darn put together for that particular outing. Spit up on my shirt and all.) Despite all that I realized, there in the 20 item or less check out line, that I was the most content I have ever been. And that I was actually really, really lucky.

Sure, there are some ugly days. There are are screaming fits, nap rebellions, quadruple outfit changes in one day, constant worry and never, ever, ever enough sleep. There is all that. But there is a healthy, beautiful and generally happy baby. There are gummy smiles that crack my heart open. There are two of us who love him and love each other. There is enough money in the bank account to buy said Enfamil (and command hooks and eyeliner.) That is enough.

And that's why, at least today, I am deleting the long post about The Screamies. I’m reminding myself, even in the midst of the meltdown, that these moments are fleeting and I will indeed look back at them with rose colored glasses. And that right now, in the middle of it all, I will try not to take our messy, sleep deprived, laundry filled, sweet life for granted.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Morning Person

He wakes up happy every morning, a big gummy smile that greets me when I walk in his room. After a bottle (and a good burp), he lays on the floor and wiggles. And wiggles and wiggles and wiggles. It’s my very favorite time of the day.






Friday, November 23, 2012


We celebrated Thanksgiving at my sister’s house in Charlotte with my parents, my sister + her husband and my brother. Unfortunately, the schedule gods had Matt working this holiday – but off on Christmas, so we’ll take it. He stayed in Winston and held down the fort, and Zac + Jamie kindly took him for some turkey and stuffing on Thursday. Bo basked in the cuddles and extra attention, and loved getting bedtime lullabies played on the piano for him by his Aunt Katie. I tried to give him a little taste of squash and mashed potatoes but he doesn’t quite have the tongue thrust reflex out of the way yet. I overslept for our turkey trot and ate myself silly, so all in all it was a successful Thanksgiving. I only wish Matt could have been there with us.

It goes without saying that we have so much to be thankful for this year. Our sweet little boy is healthy and (generally) happy and he is so, so loved by his family. I am so thankful for this season in our life.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How Sweet It Is




Someone loves Aunt Katie. And I happen to think the feeling might be mutual.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Catholics and Baptists

Well now, that sounds like the start of a really inappropriate joke. Good news though, it's just the description of the football game we attended. Though some could argue, that was a bit of a joke as well.
We traveled down to South Bend for the game on Saturday, knowing what the likely outcome would be. Part of the fun for me was just to experience ND's campus - I had a lot of friends growing up who were big ND football fans. I never really understood why but just recently someone on Facebook asked a mutual friend who is a ND fan why so many people from Rochester love them. His explanation was simple enough: "Irish Catholic connection." That does make sense - my hometown has a very large Catholic population and a pretty robust Catholic high school system. I just never made the connection. But the allure of ND had always been so built up for me and I was just curious to get to experience the school and a football game there.
It was pretty neat to walk around the campus, especially since we were with two friends who were alum. Matt's college roommate Jason had attended law school there and his fiancé, Ting, had gone there for both undergrad and law school. I always like visiting other people's colleges - it's such a little bubble of life experiences and I always find myself imagining how my life would be different had I experienced those formative years in this bubble versus my own.
We stopped at all the important sites - the shiny gold dome, the basilica, the grotto and of course, Touchdown Jesus. I'm not sure he was taking Demon Deacon prayers that day.
Even though we got absolutely womped on the field, it was still a pretty cool experience. (Embarrassingly womped. Painfully womped.) It was an interesting seeing a game that was just so deeply entrenched in tradition. And, as a double bonus, the weather gods were kind to us still. It was cold but I was prepared to be miserably cold. With all my cold weather gear on and my hot hands in my mittens, it was tolerable. Which is more than I can say for our football team.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

We Went to Chicago

We went to Chicago last weekend!

We packed up our warmest winter gear and a jumbo pack of "hand hotties" and headed up to the Windy City with the Glenns. Our reason for going was to see the Wake Forest vs Notre Dame game on Saturday (despite the inevitable outcome), but we gave ourselves a few extra days to explore Chicago first.

We loved it. And we really, really, really loved that unseasonably warm weather. (I saw a few guys in shorts - it was not that warm. But it was warm enough that I only used 2 of my 8 packs of hand hotties.)

We arrived Thursday morning and set about exploring. We wandered from our hotel down to the Michigan Ave area and had lunch at a Chinese / Thai restaurant called Big Bowl. Our meal was delicious - just the beginning of us eating our way through the city.

After lunch, we went up to the Signature Lounge in the Hancock Tower to get a bird's eye view of the city. The view was really breathtaking - and a little dizzying. We had a drink, rationalizing the overpriced beverages beat paying a fee for the observation deck one floor up, then snapped a few pictures and headed back down to solid ground below.

After our jaunt around Michigan Ave, we headed back to the hotel to figure out dinner plans. After consulting a few emails from Jamie who had been in Chicago literally one weekend before us, we settled on an Italian place called Topo Gigio. Holy moly. I'll be perfectly honest - I don't generally like Italian. But the few times I've had really good homemade Italian, I've considered calling a truce with my pasta grudge. This was one of those cases. (I said the exact same thing when we went to a little Italian joint in San Fran. Maybe Winston just needs an alternative to the ol' Garden of Olives.) After dinner, we decided to see if we could catch a show last minute at Second City comedy club and we were able to get in to see a local improv show. It did not disappoint and I am quite certain I laughed hard enough to burn a few of the thousand calories I took in at dinner.

Friday we basically did two things: walked and ate. (Thank goodness for the former.) Breakfast at Yolk, lunch at Gino's East and dinner at XOCO.

No, really. We walked. And walked and walked.

And we ate. And ate and ate.

We wrapped up Friday evening pretty early since we had an early wake up call to head down to South Bend. We really loved our visit to Chicago. It was an easy city to get around and we barely made a dent in our recommendations of restaurants and things to do. I think it'll definitely be on our return list. However, we probably won't tempt the weather gods twice... next time we'll hedge our bets and go in the spring!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Matt!

Matt turned 31 yesterday and he celebrated by taking an 8-hour long test.

Not fun.

Fortunately, we had a fun evening planned for when he got home. Dinner plans that involved about a pound of melted butter, to be exact.

We had friends Anne + Locke and Kate + Charlie over to be our guinea pigs for a surf and turf. Matt's first time cooking lobster - yes, he cooked his own birthday meal! - and it was a resounding success.

We had a great meal with friends and toasted to many things, including both Matt and Kate celebrating their birthdays and Matt and Locke completing their boards. No more standardized tests for another decade! Now that is prosecco worthy!

I am so thankful for this guy. He's my best bud, an awesome doctor, a doting daddy and now ... we can add lobster chef to his resume. I am so lucky to celebrate another birthday with him and toast to another great year ahead! Happy Birthday, hubs!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

At 15 Weeks.

He has a voice now and he is very proud of it. He loves to test out different syllables and one of my favorite parts of the day is when Matt gets home from work and Bo fills him in our day.

The sound of his "ahhh-ooooh" and the smile that lights up his face whenever he demonstrates this new skill of his just makes my heart do a somersault. He is obviously quite taken with his ability to be noisy.

He is not the tiniest bit camera shy. We call this the elvis snarl.

He is usually missing one sock.

We love him so very much.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Growing Up

I feel like as soon as Bo hit the 12 week mark, the changes in his personality, awareness and skills have been rapid fire.

Today, while we were waiting for my books to be priced out at a used bookstore I grabbed a book with some bright designs in it. I read to him every night, but he never looks at the book. In fact, I've gotten lazy and often just recite two of the three books I've memorized (Goodnight Moon, the Goodnight Book and Is Your Mama a Llama?) since he's not really paying attention to the book - just listening to the rhythm of my voice. But today! Today, he was intent. Focused and quiet, his little tongue sticking out of his mouth as he stared at the pages of this book.

(I bought it, of course.)

Tonight I also set up his high chair and he joined us at the dinner table. Usually he naps in the evening for an hour, and I use that time to cook and he wakes up right as we are eating. It often ends up one of us is holding him in our lap while we eat. Obviously he's not eating real food yet, but I thought maybe he would fuss less if he could sit up and see us. Sure enough, he sat through all of dinner content to listen to our chatter and look at our faces. (And I'm appreciating this small interval of time before he starts to grab and reach!)

He looked so grown up (although a bit unsure of this new scenario) sitting in his chair. Be still a momma's heart.

The amazing thing about this rapid fire growth is that it somehow seems to make each day, like an otherwise insignificant Thursdays, feel important and noteworthy. My phone archives are already full of pictures marking little moments of each day that I want to remember or things I want to report to Matt when he gets home. It's amazing this process of a little tiny person unfolding before your very eyes and I totally get why every single stranger tells you not to blink or you'll miss it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Babies Are Confusing, Volume I

I figure 3 months of newborn bootcamp makes me a parenting expert, so it’s time to start dispensing advice. (And since there is no font to denote sarcasm yet, let me be clear: nope.) IF I was in a position to offer advice to anyone it would be this:

Newborns require flexibility.

And my second piece of advice?

Newborns require consistency.

So far, if I could sum Bo up in a brief description it would be 14 cuddly, squishy pounds of contradictions. Every day feels like a dance between learning to read cues and be flexible and at the same time, not varying too much from a routine and throwing everything off. I imagine it will get easier with time – so far everything else has – but in the meantime, Bo and I are definitely still learning how to hang out together without it ending in tears. For both of us.

At this point, we’ve got a pretty good routine going. At the suggestions of one of my friends whose baby is just 6 weeks older than Bo (Hi Anna!), I started a bedtime routine for him around 2 months. Not that he’s old enough to appreciate the fine literary works of Sandra Boynton, but I figured it was never too early to start. Around 7 every night, we do his last bottle, take a bath, read a few books, say our prayers and off to bed he goes. There’s something soothing about this routine now for all of us, and I find that whenever we stray from the routine – say, take him out to dinner with us and stay too late – ain’t nobody happy. He wakes up once in the night for a bottle and goes right back to sleep, which is more than I can say about big brother Buddy who still thinks we should get up two to three times in the night. (Unrelated: dog for sale.) He wakes up happy in the morning, and the day takes off from there.

Every three hours, he eats and then we play – tummy time, wiggling on the activity mat, chatting with his owl friends on his mobile, bouncing in the bouncer or jumper, et cetera. He’s grown more independent in the last month, which means I can put him down in the jumper and get dinner started or fold laundry or, gasp, blow dry my hair. (It’s the little things.) His wakeful period is short – usually an hour in the morning and up to 2 hours in the afternoons – before the fussing starts and he needs to go back down for a nap. I’m always amazed at how quickly that hour goes by, and I feel like I’m constantly putting him back down for a nap. (Note: that is not a complaint. I am overjoyed to have a child that naps well. It just surprised me how short babies stay awake for. I had no idea.)

However, while this all sounds like we have our days running on perfect little train tracks… the flexibility requirement comes in when I add in the fact that Bo’s wake up time varies from 6:30 am to 8:00 am. (And thanks to DST, 5:30 am to 7:00 am. Wheee!!). So the 3 hour increments kick off from the time he wakes up, but I never know when that’s going to be. Trying to plan a play date, or a doctor’s appointment or even when I’m going to the grocery store is often a matter of a day by day decision. I’ve sent lots of texts to friends saying “Sorry – we aren’t going to make it today. Still napping.”  (I have woken him up from a nap once and only once, and that was for a doctor’s appointment. To get shots.  If that’s not the meanest thing in the world, I don’t know what is.) So at this point, I’ve learned flexibility is key. Go with the flow. Be okay with cancelled walking dates and keep a handful of frozen pizzas in the freezer.

But while flexibility might seem like the law of the land, consistency – I’ve learned the hard way – is just as important. While we don’t have a schedule, we certainly have a routine. Anytime I try to push that hour in the morning (or two hours in the afternoon), the ugly starts. While he’s a great napper, he’s become pretty dependent on his pre-nap routine – a book, a swaddle, a white noise machine and yes, the swing – and naps on the fly just don’t happen like they did in month one with the exception of a moving car seat nap.  (And that is how sometimes you find yourself sitting in the Trader Joe’s parking lot for 45 minutes because never wake a sleeping baby.)

Just another nap in the parking lot.
This morning was a great reminder of the importance of the routine. I had made tentative plans with my friend Denise yesterday to meet her at a music class at the library at 11 this morning. Once the day got started, I thought it was looking like we could go. I was kind of excited – Bo LOVES when I sing to him (which leads me to believe he must be tone deaf) and he loves looking at other babies, so I thought he’d like the class and I was looking forward to seeing my friend and her sweet boy. It was only 30 minutes long, which is perfect for his attention span.

The class was at 11:00, meaning we’d have to leave the house at 10:40. It was going to be a close call when he woke up from a nap at 9:10, but I thought if he took a catnap in the car going over there we could pull it off. At 9:30, he had a bottle and I plopped him in his boppy with some toys to blow dry my hair and get dressed. 

Crinkly elephant provides hours of entertainment. And by hours, I mean ten minutes.
At 10:10 on the dot, his little face started to squinch up. I swapped out toys for a wubbanub but that only bought me a few minutes. “It’s okay,” I thought, “he’ll sleep in the car and will be fine for the class. And you know what, if not, we’ll just turn around and come home and he’ll get a long car nap.”

By the time I had put pants on him and had the car seat ready, he was in full out meltdown mode. I stared at that little red face and my gut loudly told me to shelf the library idea, get him in a swaddle and put him back down for a nap. One hour awake time in the morning. Consistency is key.

On the way upstairs to his room, he sealed the deal by spitting up all over me. “Oh, were you going to wear that cute shirt in public, Mommy? Sorry about that.”

Spit Happens.

Sure enough, 5 minutes after I put him down he was out. And stayed asleep for another 90 minutes.


It’s a slow work in progress, figuring out this new life of ours. Despite the fact that I thrive on routines, I’m generally okay with any lack of any real predictability of our lives because most days I have the ability to plan my errands – a grocery store run or what have you – around him and make sure he gets the naps he needs. And I know it will get easier to take him out when his wake periods are longer, but when that happens I’ll also be giving up the long nap periods. Each stage comes with its challenges and its blessings.

I do wonder if I should be helping guide him more to a schedule (waking him up at the same time?) or continue to allow him to set the tone for each day. I know if I was going to work each day and he had to go to daycare, we’d wake up at the same time every day and that’d be that. There would certainly be a greater level of predictability to our day if I knew he napped at, say 9:00 and 11:00 and 3:00 and 5:00.  But then I wonder if I’m rushing him towards something he doesn’t need, and since we have the luxury of flexibility do I just continue to let him set the schedule of each day? (Advice welcome.)

Measure what you manage.
These are the questions that bounce around my head and fill up my google search engine. There seems to be no right or wrong answer, like everything else when it comes to rearing babies. I also have a feeling that these are the questions in 3 or 4 months I will look back at and wonder why I worried about them.  But of course that just means by that time there will be something totally new for me to try and figure out.