Communication!

Buttercup has this horrible grunt-yell that she’s done pretty much since she was born, so I hardly notice it as special when she does it. I just tell her that it’s so prim and ladylike and laugh at her.

Meanwhile, I went to a baby sign language mini-class about 5 months ago or so, and occasionally I’ll try to teach her the few signs that I learned. I haven’t been very persistent with it, but there’s one sign that I’ve repeated more than any of the others.

Tonight, Frank was standing near the dog, who was splayed out on the ground. Buttercup was there, too, gently patting the dog on the head (read: using the dog as a drum and a climbing perch). Frank pulled Buttercup off the dog and kind of held her as she stood on her little baby feet. Then she caught sight of me in the kitchen and let out her ladylike grunt. I raised my eyebrows and looked at her and noticed she was clenching and unclenching her fists as she yelled at me. She looked like she really had something to say, so I said, “Is that so?” Again, she yelled, clenching and unclenching her little fists. Then it hit me.

“Buttercup, are you saying ‘milk’? Do you want milk??” The sign for milk is hilarious–you act like you’re milking a cow. And this is something I’ve done sporadically over the last several months. Ask her if she wants milk, act like I’m milking a cow. Repeat. I realized this was what she was doing clenching and releasing her fists. We had laughed a month or so ago when she started doing this, yelling while making little fists (the fist thing was new). We thought it was something to do with teething, which makes her a little crazy.

She looked so excited, grinning hugely and raising her arms in the air.

“Milk? You want milk?” She kept grinning and looking expectantly at me.

I picked her up and offered her the boob. Sure enough, she wanted to eat!

Now I just have to teach her to to that in public.

Niagara of the west

Little Man went to Shoshone Falls.

Little Man at Shoshone Falls

blerg

Hmm. In my new theme (you did notice the new theme, yes?), the link to comment on the post is right under the post title. I’ve never been a fan of this when I see it on other blogs, because that means I have to read the post then scroll back up if I want to comment. I’d rather just have the link right at the end.

How do y’all feel about it?

burrito baby and the cat in the hat

frank reads to buttercup
Frank reading to Buttercup at our hotel in Utah on the way home from Thanksgiving in TX. Buttercup was 2 months old. Frank was 31.

seasons

I lived in Fort Worth until I was just about to turn 27, and my opinion on seasons was this: Fall rules them all, winter is great, too, as long as I can stay inside, spring is okay but muggy and buggy, and summer is the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone anywhere.

I moved to Amarillo and found that I wasn’t really opposed to any of the seasons; even summer was tolerable, because it’s a dry heat.

Then I moved to Florida, where it is summer from March until December and fall-ish from January to February and unbearably humid all year round. In Florida, I hated pretty much everything except February. Well, I could deal with November through March, really, but after March, I just wanted to die rather than have to go outside for anything. And I did love the summer thunderstorms, as long as I was comfortably inside with the air conditioning blasting and the golf course window blinds open so I could watch the beautiful show.

And then I moved to Boise. This morning at my workout, the instructor asked our favorite season. Fall is still my hands-down favorite season, but I was thinking about it, and here in the high desert, they’re all pretty sweet. The fall temperatures are wonderful, and when it’s too cold, we get to bust out the sweatshirts and flannel PJs and warm up with hot soup and cocoa around the fire pit. Plus football and hockey start, so I really can’t think of anything wrong with that brilliant season. Winter here is also great. I grew up without snow–I can seriously remember snow actually sticking to the ground ONE time when I was growing up. The snow was gone and the snowmen were sad sacks by midday. In Boise, we get a pretty decent amount of snow and have an actual good shot at a white Christmas. But we don’t get so much snow that we’re sick of it before January ever arrives. Sure, by the time March rolls around, I’m ready for some warmer temps, but I can deal. Also, no ice storms, at least not like the Metroplex ice storms. It’s pretty grand. Spring in Boise is amazing. My whole life, I kind of nothinged spring, but here, the temperatures are perfect, everything gets so lush and green, and the flowering trees are gorgeous. And while it is a little buggier, it’s not generally muggy (this year excluded). Even summer is tolerable. This summer has been more humid than the last couple, but I know this is the outlier in the bunch, so I’m okay. In Texas, it’s hot in the shade, and in Florida, it’s hot if you’re even inside the house and near a window, but here the shade is actually… well, shady.

I never knew I could actually love all four seasons. While summer is still my least favorite, I no longer dread it or hate it. And man, fall here is everything fall should be.

We picked a great place to live.

little monkey

When I was pregnant, I wore a t-shirt with a monkey on it and “little monkey” written across the belly. Had I but known.

This morning, we went to the park for my workout, and afterwards, I sat and talked to my friend L while we both fed our babies. We talked for a while, and Buttercup, who just learned to crawl properly on Saturday, grabbed her stroller wheel and pulled herself up on it. She’s been pulling up and sitting on her knees for a while and does occasionally pull up onto her feet, but she’s always seemed pretty unsure of herself. So this morning while I was talking, she just stood up with her hands on the stroller wheel (it’s a jogger, so tall wheels), and boy did it seem like the most natural thing in the world. I’m not ready for this!

So later we walked back to our cars and kept talking. For the short walk back, I sat Buttercup in her stroller but didn’t strap her in. Ah, how the laziness teaches us things. I stood chatting for quite a while, and the Cup happily played in her stroller. I wasn’t watching her; she was in front of me, and L was to the side several yards away, and I was looking at her. After a few minutes, I heard a noise that sounded like Buttercup kicking the tray on her stroller.

L said, “Um, Buttercup just scooted out of her stroller.” I looked over, and my child was on the ground, on her butt. I rushed the 2 feet over and picked up my baby, who was still quite happy. I asked L if she fell. Nope, she kind of scooted under the bar and climbed down, landed on her butt on the ground.

I am in so much trouble.

Roku!

Buttercup thinks the Japanese number six is high-larious.

Swingin’

image

Buttercup at 8 months

image

Can you believe my baby girl is 8 months old? I can’t either.

different

I work out on weekday mornings with a group of moms, together with our kids. At the beginning of every class, during warmup, we go around the circle of strollers and introduce ourselves. Name, child’s name, child’s age. And the instructor will ask a kind of getting-to-know-you question, so we each answer it when we introduce ourselves.

It turns out I’m kind of an oddball. I mean, we knew this. You’re all vigorously nodding your agreement. Two examples:

One morning, the question was something like, “Give me one word that describes motherhood.” This was the Mother’s Day class, and there were probably 30 or so moms there. The answers were things like “blessed”, “beautiful”, “joy”, “love”, “amazing”, etc. You get the picture. My answer was “sleep deprivation”, which, yes, is a phrase, but I followed it up with one word: “teething”.

My favorite recent question was, “What magazines do you read?” Hahaha. I stopped taking People and Entertainment Weekly years ago, and, well, we don’t read a lot of magazines. The answers were things like National Geographic, Organic Gardening, People, Conde Nast Traveler… you get the picture. And then it was my turn. “We only get Gun Tests Magazine.” Well, we do.

upgrade: done!

The blog has been upgraded.

hope for the blog!

I’m updating my blog software today, and I already have the Droid WordPress app ready to go… Just wanted to let y’all know I’m trying to find easier ways to blog. If I can blog with my phone while rocking the baby to sleep, I’m much more likely to do it. It’s just hard to get free hands and time for it these days.

cheapskate

I’m turning into one. I mean, I’ve been one for a while, but now I’m turning into a serious one.

I just devoured Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover, and as of May we’re working on the baby steps. Our plan is to be out of debt (including the student loan and my car) in 2 years, then start saving for retirement and college, then start paying off the house.

I was already doing stuff like rinsing out my Ziploc bags and reusing aluminum foil, shopping in the reduced-for-quick-sale section of the meat department, and all that. Now I’m on a mission to cut my grocery budget down by $200 a month. “What, SarahK? Our entire grocery budget is $200 a month! What are you eating, steak every night?” Ha, no. We’re eating gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, hardly anything processed (out of necessity). Pet food is $100 every six weeks, because we have a dog who is allergic to anything cheap and who will scratch herself until she bleeds if we feed her anything but expensive food (read: food without a lot of grain ingredients).

Anyway, other than extreme couponing (which, frankly, takes too much time for me to stick with it), do y’all have any money saving tips for me? I’m focusing on the grocery budget here, because we’ve already ditched our home phone, we’re ditching cable as soon as Idol ends this season, and we’ve cut out other things. Now I need to trim.

I’d love to hear your suggestions!

mama endorsed: nursing products

To complete my journey into full-blown mommy-bloggerhood, I’ve decided to do a post or several posts telling y’all about my favorite baby products. I’ll probably also tell y’all about products that have not impressed me. Hooray, my blog just got even more boring!

Since my child decided to only snack for most of the day and I’m therefore a little uncomfortable, I’ll start by talking about nursing-related products.

First, my breast pump. Hey, fellas, where are y’all going? Is it something I said? Anyway, since I’m home with baby all the time, I’ve never really needed an electric pump, so I just have a manual pump. It’s by Lansinoh, and I love it. I mean, as much as one can love a breast pump. Oh, I also cracked up when Liz Lemon called it a mommy microphone on 30 Rock a few weeks ago. I was like, “Ha! It’s my pump!” I hate myself right now.

Next, my hooter hider, as they’re called. Also known as that apron I use for nursing in public. I really like mine, it’s a Bebe Au Lait (could that brand name be any more obnoxiously cutesy?). I like it because it’s wide enough for full coverage, it has little burp cloths sewn into the inside, and the way it is made, I can watch baby — very handy when we were first working on the whole nursing thing.

Nursing bras are another story. I have yet to find a comfortable nursing bra. The Motherhood Maternity ones are a joke. I have 2 of their joggers, which are a complete waste of the money I spent on them. They’re supposedly made for nursing mamas, but they provide zero support, and when you’re nursing, your boobs are sensitive, especially if your milk ducts are full. You simply cannot have your girls bouncing around the way they would in a Motherhood jog bra. I have another non-jogger, too, from Motherhood. Pretty much the most uncomfortable bra I’ve ever worn. I have a Gilligan & O’Malley nursing bra that I got at Target. It’s okay, I guess, but I’m not inspired to wear it. Most days I end up just wearing a Medela sleep bra and letting ‘em sag. I love these things and have more than one.

I did buy a jog bra when I was first pregnant, and it’s the one I use now so I can work out comfortably. It’s a Champion Maximum Support. I wish it came in a nursing style.

Everyone says to buy the Lansinoh boob cream, and I have some, but I haven’t really used it that much. It feels great, but I just haven’t needed it. Also, I had thrush for about 5 months, so the last thing I wanted to do was keep my boobs moist so the thrush could thrive (you’re welcome for that). One of my mom friends did tell me it works great for chapped lips, too, but I haven’t tried it.

For bottles, we have Dr. Brown’s and then some Playtex Drop-ins. We’ve used the Playtex some, but we can’t store very much milk using that system unless we wanted to really buy a lot of kits, so we don’t use those as much as the Dr. Brown’s bottles. I will say that the supposed “anti-gas” feature of the bottles doesn’t really work. She’s had some amazingly huge burps after we’ve used one of these bottles. I mostly freeze milk in Lansinoh storage bags. Those are great, because they’re thin, and it doesn’t take long to heat milk in a bowl of water in one of those bags.

Breast pads. Oh, breast pads. I’d heard about how great the Lansinoh ones were, and I was not impressed. They never stayed in place and were constantly folding in on themselves. So I switched to Johnson’s. They stay in place beautifully, but get this–they have nipples. I get the concept of having a little pocket on the inside that your nipple goes into–that helps them stay in place. But they have nipples on the outside! One of the reasons for wearing breast pads is to hide your nipples, so to me this is the opposite of helpful. I love them anyway because they stay in place so well.

I’m going to miss my male readers.

baby’s first easter

And baby’s first easter dress…

Can you even stand it? I can’t. She just kills me.
Read more »

so it begins

We were in Seattle this past weekend, and you know what Seattle has that Boise doesn’t? Chipotle. Chipotle Chipotle Chipotle Chipotle. Why, yes, I did eat there twice, why do you ask?

Anyway, the first time we were there, I had a little bit of guacamole that I hadn’t yet mixed into my burrito bol, so I smeared a little on my fingertip and offered it to the Cup-Cup. She didn’t mind it or anything, and when I offered her some more, she took that too.

We’ve been waiting to get back from Seattle before starting solid foods. Mainly because I’ve had this vision of her happily throwing food everywhere, and we were having new laminate floors put in the dining room last week, so I wanted to wait until the easy-to-clean floors were in before the food throwing started. Of course, now I realize that she won’t be feeding herself at six months old, so I didn’t really need to wait. I’m sometimes super-smart.

I think we’ll start with avocado tonight. Why avocado? Well, that’s pretty much the only fruit or vegetable I have on hand, because I seriously need to go grocery shopping.

In other news, we have to start having boring dinners at the dining table so Buttercup understands that’s where normal people eat. When she’s older, we can teach her to eat at TV trays and to pretend when she goes to other kids’ houses that she knows how to properly eat at a dining table.

It should be interesting. Every food she tries will help me adjust how much I love her. I mean, I’d have to love her a little less if she’s a fennel fan.

Baby Day Part 4: Projectile

After the doctor left, my next contraction was bigger. So much bigger. And for some reason, I was no longer wearing the oxygen, and since I’d totally given up on working through anything, I refused when Frank tried to start breathing exercises with me. I just breathed deeply through it, and it wasn’t so bad. Then every contraction seemed to be stronger than the one before, by a lot. But I kept just doing my deep breathing and didn’t accept Frank’s help. I did let him massage my hands, but I did not want to do patterned breathing. I think it’s because in childbirth class, I had a tendency to hyperventilate a little if I tried patterned breathing because I did it too fast, so I resisted the thought of going there.

I tried to focus on listening to the music and breathing. And then this giant contraction hit me, my whole body shook, and I threw up all over myself. I’d like to take this opportunity to again recommend that you not eat anything, and most especially 2nd Degree Burn Doritos, when you’re in early labor. Even when you’re almost 30 hours into labor, this will come back to bite you in the… esophagus.

That’s when I decided I was over it. I gave up on natural childbirth.

The look on Frank’s face was very deer-in-headlights when the projectile vomiting started. He quickly recovered and frantically looked around the room for something. We’d had a nursing shift change at 7, but neither the new nurse (K) nor her trainee (R) was in the room at the time, so he ran out to find them, and they gave him a bowl for me to puke in. I put it to good use.

I started crying. “I want the epidural,” I told him. He didn’t argue, of course. Whatever I wanted was what he wanted me to have. When the nurses came in, I told K that I wanted the drugs.

I didn’t know it at the time, but Frank knew I was in transition. He remembered that projectile vomiting was one of the indicators of transition. Had I realized that’s where I was, I would never have asked for the drugs–just knowing that my cervix was making any kind of progress would have given me new energy and resolve. I assumed I was still sitting at 4 cm, because nothing had changed all day long before the doc broke my water. Frank regrets not telling me that he recognized transition, but he didn’t want to say, “Hey, let’s have the nurses check your cervix, because I think you’re in transition,” and then have me checked only to find out that I’d made no progress. He didn’t want to prolong my pain since he wasn’t sure. Also, he thought he was wrong about it being transition, because K said, “Yeah, there’s no reason to check you, because you haven’t made any progress all day.” He figured they would have recognized it and offered to check me.

Now we know for next time. Something else we know for next time: Epidurals don’t always work.

To be continued…

marital bargaining

I am the World’s Worst Dental Patient. I wish I could blame a dentist for that, but I held the title long before my 4-hour root canal a year and a half ago. I don’t really know how I got to be that way–probably my orthodontist. He had the most awful breath, and he was kinda blind, so he got up close and personal when he was hurting you. I also didn’t grow up having my teeth cleaned regularly; my first time was right before I had my braces put on in 8th grade, and my second time was right after I got my braces off five years later. So in my twenties when I decided I should be more proactive about my dental health, I quickly decided that was a bad idea, because I realized my teeth are just too sensitive for dental hygienists. Even for my friend Patti, who was my first semi-regular hygienist and was wonderful. By the time I was in my late twenties, I dreaded going to the dentist. To illustrate how infrequently I go, I have to get x-rays (which they take every two years) every single time I go in for a cleaning.

And then a year and a half ago, my fear of the dentist cranked up to eleven. My dental insurance was going to end the last day of July, so around the 25th or 26th, I went in. Now, I didn’t go in voluntarily–Frank had the dentist’s office call me to make an appointment. It had been three or four years since I’d been (some people avoid the doctor, I avoid the dentist). And since it’d been so long, I had five cavities and needed a root canal. That day, I had two cavities filled. Two days later, I had another two cavities filled, got Rickrolled in the dentist’s chair, and had the root canal, which, I will repeat, is so much worse than childbirth. Childbirth is like getting a massage compared to a root canal. The fifth cavity has never been filled.

Now. Frank has this thing about drinking water. It’s boring, and he hates it. He drinks black coffee, and he drinks anything sweet–soda, juice, whatever. As long as it has a non-water flavor. I’ve been on him about drinking water for years. He also doesn’t exercise much. He did for a while, but as soon as the baby came and our schedule got all wacky, he stopped, understandably.

So a couple of weeks ago, Frank went to the dentist. While he was checking out, the subject of me came up. He once again asked the office lady to call me. He told me that night that he had done that, but since she hadn’t called that afternoon, I hoped she had forgotten. Then Monday morning he went and got one of his cavities filled. I was sitting in bed in the morning, feeding Buttercup, and my phone rang. It was the dentist’s office. When the woman told me she had forgotten to call last week, but that Frank had just left and she told him again that she would call me, I just responded, “He is in so much trouble.”

Now I have an appointment for next week. She assured me that there will be numbing and nitrous and that they’ll be gentle with me. She also noted that the hygienist who worked on me before “was very good, but she moved to Texas, but we have some other hygienists here who are also very good.” I said, “Oh good. The hygienist who worked on me last time tried to tell me I didn’t feel pain when I did.”

Anyway, Frank came home at lunch that day. I told him I had an appointment with the dentist. He was soooo happy. “Yeah, sorry I have to make you go, but you have to take care of yourself… for your family.”

Oh. He’s gonna regret he said that. Because I looked at him with my angry face and said, “Fine. Then YOU have to take care of YOURself for your family. You have to start drinking water. And exercising.” I think he was surprised that I was as upset about it as I was. He agreed to do it. And I’ve been on him ever since.

This evening he was playing with Buttercup and asked if I’d go fill his water bottle for him. I looked at him. “What???”
“Well, if I don’t drink it, you’ll have an excuse to not go to the dentist.”
“That’s right. 64 ounces a day, dude. And after this appointment, you have to keep drinking your water if you want me to go back in six months.”

Because I’ll be watching. And if he misses one day of drinking his water… well, I’ll happily miss one day at the dentist.

gluten-free beer-battered onion rings

My father-in-law had some onion rings the other night, and as soon as I smelled them, I knew I absolutely MUST have them. I no longer consider eating gluten-free a problem, so there is only one problem with battered things: I also can’t eat eggs. Eggs are easy to replace in baking–I use a flax seed / water combo for breads, crusts, pie filling, etc. I’ve used the flax combo once for frying chicken tenders, and it went okay, but the batter didn’t do the best job of clinging to the chicken once it was in the frying pan. Of course, I’ve never been great at frying things, even gluteny things. Green tomatoes, squash, zucchini, okra, yes. Meats, not so much.

I was going to use an egg recipe and use the flax combo, but I didn’t have any bread crumbs, so I found a beer batter recipe that didn’t require eggs or bread crumbs. Very simple, from allrecipes.com. Then I just adapted it gluten-free.

What you need:

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used GF pantry)
1 cup gluten-free beer (or the allrecipes blurb says you can replace this with sparkling water) (I used Redbridge)
2 onions (or 1–I ended up frying 1 onion and freezing half of the batter for later)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Tony Chachere’s cajun seasoning to taste
your choice of oil for frying (everything tastes better fried in extra-virgin, unrefined coconut oil)

What you do:

Heat the oil in a big frying pan. Slice the onion into rings (I did about 1/2 inch rings). Mix all the dry stuff (flour and seasonings). Add beer and stir until it’s smooth. You might try adding a little extra beer. My problem here is that I couldn’t just dip the onion rings in the batter and then throw them in the oil, because the batter was too thick and almost formed. Maybe I stirred too long? Anyway, I had to basically glob the batter on the rings haphazardly. They didn’t turn out pretty. Anyway, get the batter on, however you’re able to, and fry the onions over medium heat until the onions are soft and the batter is crispy. I usually start with the oil on medium-low to medium heat until whatever I’m frying is soft-ish, and then I turn the heat up to medium to get the batter crispy. I was never really taught how to properly fry anything, because we had a FryDaddy, and I wasn’t allowed to touch it, and we never fried anything in a frying pan other than chicken-fried pork chops, and I only watched. So I’ve just been kind of winging it. So fry your onions until the batter is crispy, then remove the onions and drain on paper towels.

Frank likes fry sauce on his onion rings, so I made him fry sauce using 1 part mayo and 2 parts ketchup. I don’t know if it was any good, because I can’t do mayo right now.

Enjoy. And if you have any tips on frying stuff, please share! These onion rings were ugly but tasted great.

No one told me there would be a growth spurt at 4.5 months

Ay yi yi. Or is it ay ay ay? Anyway, shazam. The baby normally eats for 6 to 9 minutes before going to bed (which probably gets her a good 6 or so ounces, as she’s very efficient, and my boobs are over-productive). And since I wasn’t expecting another growth spurt until she’s 6 months old, I was not prepared for last night.

I was already exhausted, because we’ve had a rough/busy week this week. We even missed our exercise all but one morning, but it’s just been that kind of week. It seems like she’s sleeping fine and napping better, but by yesterday afternoon, I was totally zapped. When we got home last night, we gave her a bath right away, and then I tried to feed her. Not interested.

So Frank started the bedtime ritual (he puts her to bed every night after I feed her), and then, of course, she was staaaaaarving. She ate for 37 minutes! She’s only gone that long two other times, once the night before she slept through the night, and once during a growth spurt. So I was thinking she’d sleep through the night, needing no more food for the belly.

Wrong. I had to feed her 3 more times from the time she went to bed until 7 this morning. This totally feels like a growth spurt. Here’s hoping it lasts only a day or two. Her 3-month growth spurt lasted 4 days, during which I rarely was allowed to be anything other than a dairy cow.

16 pounds!

I only have 16 pounds to go to my goal weight! I weighed in at 136 this morning! Yes, it’s 2 hours later, and I’m still overjoyed about it. I’d been stuck fluctuating between 138 and 141 for a couple of months, so to finally get past that fluctuation is sweet!

So now I’m 17 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. Woo!

When I first met Frank in person, I weighed somewhere around 130. When I won the t-shirt babe contest I was around 125. My immediate goal is 120, though I won’t lie–I have a further goal of 115. But 120 would make me so happy.

Heck, 136 makes me ecstatic. At 120, I’ll give birth to a litter of kittens.

The truth about Kegels

When you’re pregnant, all the books tell you to make sure to do your Kegels every day. They’re the exercises you do to strengthen your pelvic floor. You basically flex and hold the muscles that you use to stop the flow of urine. You do these in sets until you work your way up to three sets of ten Kegels each day, holding ten seconds on each Kegel. Or something, I could be wrong on the frequency. You do them to prepare for childbirth and then after childbirth, you do them for the rest of your life.

Anyway, they tell you that Kegels serve a couple of purposes. First, they strengthen the pelvic floor so you don’t tear, or don’t tear as much, during childbirth. They also help that whole area get back, um, in shape after delivery. And you’re reminded to do them in the months after childbirth, not by books or doctors, but every time you cough and then have to run to the bathroom with your thighs tightly clamped together so you don’t pee on yourself. And they supposedly help ensure that you don’t become incontinent in your old ladyhood. There may be more benefits that the experts cite, I don’t know.

But the real reason Kegels are important isn’t listed in the books. The real reason is that one day you’ll sit down on the couch and start feeding the baby, and at the precise moment that you start feeding her, you’ll realize that you need to pee. And you drink 60 plus ounces of water per day, and you’ve just downed 24. So you’ll hold it while you feed the baby. And then the baby will fall asleep eating, and since she doesn’t nap enough during the day and because she’s unbearably adorable when she sleeps, you won’t want to wake her. And you’ll sit there for two hours while the baby naps for that long for the first time in ages. That’s when your Kegels will come in handy. When you’re trying not to pee on yourself, and you can’t even do the pee-pee dance (clinically proven to keep the pee in!) because the baby sleeps so peacefully on your lap, completely unaware of your dire situation.

4 months!

My baby girl is 4 months old today! I can’t believe it. I seriously do not know how she got to be this old. She had her 4 month checkup today. Now see, at her 2 month checkup, Dr. Superfantastico was a little worried about her weight because she hadn’t gained as much as Dr. S was expecting. So she had her come back in at 3 months for weight and height checks.

Fast forward to last week, when I was at my breastfeeding group and weighed Buttercup. I became a little worried (and worried off and on this past week), because I remembered that she was 12 pounds 1 ounce at her 3 month checkup, and when I weighed her last week, she was 12 pounds 3 ounces. Which meant she gained only 2 ounces in 3 weeks. I had to get major reassurance from the lactation specialist that it’s okay if she doesn’t gain very well every month and that breastfed babies don’t grow at the same rate as formula-fed babies. She’s happy, she pees and poos very well (she’s a champ!), smiles and laughs all the time, rolls from her tummy to her back, and continues to develop new things every week. So I knew I shouldn’t be *too* worried, but she’s also started just snacking during the day. She eats great at night and in the wee hours of the morning and when she first gets up for the day, but she isn’t very interested in food during the day, because she just has better things to do. There are puppies to watch and lights to look at and sounds to follow. So I’m lucky if I get her to eat for 3 minutes during a feeding. She’ll eat every 2 or 3 hours, but she’s mainly just power snacking. Just enough to get by until night time. For reference, though, we’ve weighed her before and after a feeding, and the girl can chow down 3 ounces in 4 minutes. So she’s like me–wolfs her food as fast as she can.

Still, with the erratic eating, I was worried that Dr. S was going to suggest I supplement with or switch to formula–though she’s never even come close to suggesting that before.

So today at her appointment, she was 12 pounds 7 ounces. I felt a little better about that, but not much. 6 ounces in a month isn’t a whole lot of weight gain. Dr. S didn’t say anything about Buttercup’s weight, so as she was finishing up, I asked if she was okay with Buttercup’s weight. And she was *very* happy with it, because she gained 22 ounces in 30 days. “Wait, what?” Yeah, so it turns out that last month she was 11 pounds, 1 ounce. Not 12. So I guess her meal plan is working for her, and I’m just going to stop fretting when she only eats for 2 minutes.

She’s now 23 3/4 inches. She’s a small baby–18th or 19th percentile for length and 25th for weight. But 59th for head size! She has a giant brain, just like her mom.

Man, I just assumed it would be Frank

Because he’s the man. But no. I was the first person to drop the baby.

I should have known that it would be me, since I’m the one with horrible balance and even worse coordination, and the hubby has the balance of a gold medalist curler. But I just thought he’d have to choose one day between saving the iPad and saving the baby, and, well… But nope.

Thankfully, she was in her car seat. I tripped over a curb on the way to my new moms’ group (of course!), and I went down. My arm was hooked under the car seat handle, so she kind of came down on top of me. I think the car seat landed half on my leg or foot and half on the ground, on its side. She grunted a little until I turned her right side up again, then she smiled. She wasn’t hurt. But I was right across the street from the hospital, so I almost walked to the emergency room, just in case. Then I decided that since she wasn’t crying, she was okay. Chicco makes a pretty good car seat, I guess.

I’m fine, too. And really glad that I tripped *out* of the street instead of into it. Also glad that my first instinct was to try to elevate her as much as possible so she wouldn’t hit the ground hard.

But man, I’m bummed I dropped her before Frank did, because now he’ll always have that. “You dropped the baby! I’m the best parent ever!” Oh well. I guess I’ll always have this: “You made the baby pee in her own face! I’m the best parent ever!”

Baby Day Part 3: Meconium

I didn’t do a whole lot after I got confined to bed. Well, when Frank got back with the labor bags, I tweeted, but not much. I tweeted about the oxygen and asked how the Texas Rangers were doing in the playoffs (I didn’t find out until late that night, after I’d had Buttercup).

I switched positions a couple of times, but I was so uncomfortable leaning over the end of the bed and leaning over the head of the bed that I immediately went back to just sitting up in bed. I’d forgotten to tell Frank that I would need to stay in any new position for at least 2 contractions to see if they worked–so I didn’t really give them a shot. If I’d told him that ahead of time, he would have reminded me.

Frank tried to do breathing exercises with me, but I was feeling okay, other than feeling like I had really bad gas. That’s what the big labor contractions felt like to me–the worst gas ever. In fact, any time I have gas now, it makes me think of labor. Since I felt okay, just really uncomfortable every 2 minutes, I didn’t want to do the breathing exercises. I just went straight to deep breathing during contractions. I know I should have done the patterned breathing, but at the time, I felt fine just breathing deeply, especially having that sweet, sweet oxygen on my face.

I would get up to go to the bathroom when I needed it, but any time I sat on the toilet, I would get a huge contraction, always exacerbated by the fact that I had to stare at the lovely huge jacuzzi tub full of the water I couldn’t get into. So I stopped drinking much water. Frank kept offering it, but I would only take ice chips. This would come up later.

Frank gave me hand massages and foot massages while I labored–those were nice. He kept offering to breathe with me, but I waved him off.

I had told M early in the day that I wanted my labor to progress naturally, no inducements if I could avoid them. I’d heard that Pitocin is the worst thing ever EVER (eh, it’s not), so I didn’t want that, and I kind of didn’t want the doctor to break my water unless labor dragged on or got too hard. I told her I’d think about that part, and she said she’d ask me later, when the doctor was done with his patients in the office. She asked around 6 p.m. if I had decided whether I wanted him to break my water. By that point, I was ready for him to do anything to speed things up. My contractions were still spaced the same and hadn’t changed in six and a half hours. So I said yes. He had a couple more patients at the office, and then he’d be over to break the water.

I was dozing when he came in at 6:45. He showed me the little tool that he would use to break the bag–it looked like a little finger condom with a point on the end. I didn’t care what it looked like, I just wanted to know what my cervix looked like. Well, not what it looked like, but how it was progressing. I just *knew* the doctor was going to tell me that I was 8 cm and fully effaced.

“Well? How’s my cervix?”

“Well, you’re still at a 4…” DEFEAT. DEFEAT. DEFEAT. When he said I was at 4 cm, I just felt completely deflated and defeated. “…but you’re paper thin.” Fully effaced. Now, in the back of my mind, I knew this was wonderful news. I’d read several times that most first-timers fully efface before they start dilating at all. I knew this. And I was fully thinned out. But I also knew that not *every* first-timer goes that way, and since I’d been dilating for almost a month, I assumed I was one of the exceptions.

Paper thin just didn’t do it for me mentally. I was tired and thought I’d been making major progress, and I was still 4 cm! A little voice niggled, “Paper thin! This means you’ll start dilating for REAL now!” But the rest of me punched the little voice in the face and told it that I was never ever going to dilate to 10 cm.

The doc broke my water, and I felt the warm gush of fluid. I thanked him, and he told me that there was meconium in the water (for any of you who don’t know, that means Buttercup had her first bowel movement in the womb). I immediately tensed. The only other person I knew who had told me that she had meconium when her water broke had ended up with an emergency C-section, so I was afraid he was going to bring that up. “Okay. So now what?” My doc immediately put me at ease and told me that it just meant that a NICU team would have to be on hand when Buttercup was born to make sure she didn’t aspirate the meconium, because that would be really bad.

He told me he’d see me later that evening and left. Then things got crazy.

Thank you for indulging my obsessions

Someone awesome sent me this. There was no note, so I assume one of my awesome readers or Twitter followers sent it from my wishlist. Whoever you are, thanks so much. Please let me know who you are! I can’t wait to wear it to the midnight premiere of Breaking Dawn!

One thing I never noticed until I saw it in person–there’s a big old hand sitting on top of the Cullen crest. What is that about?

welcome new readers!

Thanks for stopping by–I hope you come back. However, if this is your first time commenting here, and you call me a lazy idiot, your comment will be marked as spam, and it’s fine by me if you don’t come back.

proud of myself

This is the third week in a row that I’ve left the house in my car to go exercise 3 days a week. And I plan to make it 4 this week. See, when we were in Florida, we had a Curves 2 blocks away, and that was too far for me to go to work out. I lasted about 2 months there. I’m just utterly bored by gyms and other such places. I feel overwhelmed by the equipment and weird working out around all the other people and silly because I’m always really slow and jiggly.

Now I actually look forward to my workout, and the half-hour (!) drive doesn’t bother me. Having to leave the house by 9 a.m. is a bit of a killer, but I’m getting used to it. I drive an hour total for an hour’s workout, and I’m loving it. Maybe it’s because I get to take Buttercup, and she’s always with me. I’m working out with other moms and their babies, and I leave sweaty and tired. It’s at a set time every day (so I can’t just keep saying, “Oh, I’ll do it next hour. Oh, I’ll do it this evening.”), and I think that helps.

I think I might actually stick with it!

Baby Day Part 2: My Little Drama Queen

Part 1.

We walked over to the hospital and got checked in. I listened to my music and shifted around to get comfortable while we waited for our room. Then the nurse came and got us, took us to our room (room 6, other Sarah), and gave me my gown. I got dressed and crawled into bed so the nurse (M) could hook me up and check out the baby and my contractions. She wanted to monitor me for 15 minutes before I got out of bed. Before she left the room, she ran my bath water, because that was all I wanted to do. I just wanted to get in the bathtub. They have these super-nice jacuzzi tubs in all the labor and delivery rooms, and I’d been looking forward to it all morning–well, really ever since we’d done the hospital tour.

We gave the nurse my labor plan, and I made sure to tell her that it sounded grouchy but that it didn’t sound grouchy in my head when I wrote it, so please don’t take it that way. M was very nice, looked over the plan, and said she didn’t see any problems. She was on board with natural childbirth, and per my birth plan, she never once asked if I wanted pain meds.

So I was excited. This was it! I was having a baby. While I was hooked up to the monitors, Frank went over to our car, still parked at the doctor’s office, and got the labor bags. iPod speakers, food, reading materials, computers, all that. He came back and hooked the iPod up so I could have my music. Meanwhile, M dimmed the lights and closed the blinds for me. Then she left.

When she came back, I asked when I could get into the tub. She said she didn’t want me to get into the tub yet, because she didn’t like how the baby’s heartbeat looked. She showed me how Buttercup’s heart rate was steady at 150 bpm and explained that even though it’s a good heart rate, they expect the heart rate to fidget and jump around, so it would jump back and forth all around the 150 mark–but Buttercup’s heart wasn’t jumping around, it was just a straight line. She wanted to monitor me for another 15 minutes before I got out of bed.

The next time she came back, I asked about the bathtub, and she said she couldn’t let me out of bed yet. Then she put me on oxygen and told me that she wanted to see how the baby did with oxygen. If baby improved and did well, then she’d try me off oxygen again in hopes that baby would continue to do well off oxygen. Within 5 seconds of oxygen breathing, her heart rate perked right up and started jumping around like it was supposed to. So I continued to breathe deeply, and let me tell you–if I have another baby, I will be asking for oxygen during labor, or maybe I’ll bring my own just in case they say no. That was the best part. The oxygen saturation was so good that I went into a little trance between contractions. It almost felt like I was on laughing gas, except that last time I was on laughing gas, I was enduring much worse torture than labor and childbirth–I was having a 4-hour root canal.

After 15 minutes, M took me off the oxygen, and Buttercup flattened out again. That’s when M told me I couldn’t get in the tub, because I would have to be hooked up to the monitors and oxygen for my entire labor. I could only get out of bed to go to the bathroom.

Sigh.

worse than childbirth

I’ve heard my whole life (not from my mom, but from TV, friends, relatives, other random women) that childbirth is the worst thing a woman can ever go through. I wholeheartedly disagree. I mean, it’s not all cupcakes and rainbows, but I’ve been through many things worse than childbirth. Such as:

*4-hour root canal where the dentist had to use, for the first time ever, his longest picks and had to sand a pulp stone for a good 2 hours. I had that horrible rubber dam across my mouth for 3 hours. And I cried the whole time.
*3 years of near-constant migraines
*toe-stubbings
*teeth cleanings (I am the world’s worst dental patient)
*having my cervix stretched
*round ligament pain
*church split
*divorce
*reading Wuthering Heights
*double dry sockets

Yeah, childbirth hurts. Yeah, there are times when you just want it to be over. But no, it’s not the worst thing ever. A lot of it is beautiful and fantastic. I can’t wait to do it again–and I can’t say that about the root canal.

UPDATE: I forgot gallbladder attacks.

Crazy Baby!

Here’s better video of the baby laughing. Well, better of her. Not better video. I was playing with the light on the phone camera and also discovering where my thumbs are.