Sunday, April 27, 2008

End of an era?

Tonight is my last night of my maternity leave. I had a pretty good weekend, knowing that Monday would be marking the end of a really cool chapter in my life. I took Henry to the City where we rented a GoCar as his birthday surprise and we spent a quality afternoon zipping and zooming through the Presidio, Golden Gate Park, past the Cliff House, down Lombard Street, and everywhere in between in our little yellow open top car. My parents watched Hank and we joined them at the end of the day for naps and dinner. It was a great Saturday. Today I had brunch with two girlfriends -- one of whom is having her first baby in September, and the other one has a three year old. It was fun to talk baby for a morning and pass Hank around, but by the time we got home I was feeling pretty tired and a little anxious about tomorrow. I don't know if it was teething or the heat or just being aware of my anxiety, but Hank was in quite a mood for much of the day. I've been trying really hard to keep a lid on my stress about going back to work, because I don't want it to rub off on him at all. But I'm sure he feels it nonetheless.

It isn't that I don't want to go back to work, because I do. I just wish I could keep him with me all the time still. Hank's become my little sidekick and I can hardly imagine spending so much time away from him during the week. But obviously this day has to come at some point, right? I mean, he can't be seventeen years old and still have me hanging him in the air by his feet and blowing zrrbts on his tummy... right? Separation has to begin somewhere? So I guess that part of growing up starts now? Seems so soon.

Anyway, those are some thoughts for this stuffy Sunday evening. Hopefully this heat will lift and we'll all feel a lot more positive tomorrow. As for now, I'm feeling a little sad about all this change, about my kiddo growing up so fast; and some nostalgia for how little he used to be. Thank goodness I've stored so many pictures of Hank on the internet, so there will be plenty to look at from work.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What the...??

Motherhood has already changed the way I used to react to certain personalities. Where once before I might have let it slide when someone was rude or abrupt with me, now I have to take these people into the context of how they might impact my son. I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately because my maternity leave ends in a week (gasp!!) and I've just begun the process of finding childcare for Hank.

I got a list of names and numbers from a local agency that is sort of a clearinghouse for daycare providers in our area. I spent about an hour calling them on friday afternoon and leaving messages. One woman did not have a working answering machine, which kind of put me off, so I crossed her off my list. (I mean, I am calling about childcare -- I want to assume that if you are watching my kid, and I need to reach you during the day, that I will at the very least be able to leave a message...right?).

The next day we get a phone call. Henry answers and I can tell by watching him that there is something funny-weird about this call. Finally he says to the caller, 'can I put my wife on?'. So I take the call, and it turns out it is this day care provider with no working voice mail -- I guess she had caller ID? She asks if I had called looking for childcare (but still hasn't told me who she is). When I finally get out of her who she is I tell her, politely but firmly, that I had called her regarding childcare, but that I was dismayed that she didn't have voicemail and that I would be talking to other people about caring for my son. Rather than accept that and hang up the phone she got really angry with me, challenging me -- 'Hasn't your answering machine ever been full?? How do you expect me to answer the phone, I work with babies!!', and started insisting that I should let her watch Hank while I'm working!

Somehow I got off the phone, with no intentions of ever speaking to her again. But a couple of hours later she calls again, sounding much nicer this time, to appologize. This is where the pre-mother Sara might have said, 'ok, you were having a moment, let's put it behind us and talk now and see if we can work something out.' Instead I just said, 'I appreciate your appology, however the fact that I couldn't leave you a message really bothered me, and then the way you handled your phone call to me earlier made me extremely uncomfortable with the idea of you watching my son. So thank you for your appology, and good luck to you, and we will be looking elsewhere for childcare.'

It was just so weird. I need to call the agency that refered me to her and let them know what happened. For all I know she's really a truly kind woman and terrific with babies, but all I could see in my mind was the kind of person who starts yelling and shaking babies when they cry for too long or won't sleep. How can someone with so short a fuse be providing daycare services? I'm just grateful that I have spoken to a handful of people who really do sound terrific, and I have hope that one of them will pan out. I mean, it would be so much better if I could just pop Hank in my totebag and take him to work with me, but I guess it will be good for him to play with other babies, instead?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Weekend Update

yummmmm..... carrroootttsss......

Finally, a quiet moment to update the masses on everything that has been going down Chez Wagmond in the last couple of weeks...

As you can see from the photo above, Hank is very into solid foods. Currently on the menu around here are:
Apples, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Peas with Mint, Pears, Avocados, Mangoes, Bananas, and Cereal

So far Hank has yet to meet a food he doesn't like. He gets so excited while he's eating that he's often grinning his way through his entire meal, and begging for more between each spoonful. It is pretty fun! Henry and I both love to feed him.

Hank also had a very important meeting at Oracle with Larry Ellison... Well, actually his meeting was with his Daddy for a lunch date a few days ago!

Hank's been super active lately. Here he is stuck part way under the couch at my parents' house. He scooched his way in there, and would have gone under all the way had he figured out how to lower his head far enough to get it under the couch too. Guess it is time to babyproof! We keep walking away and finding him in places we didn't leave him... does that make us delinquent parents? And try as we might to keep him sleeping on his back, within seconds of falling asleep Hank flips onto his belly, and eventually (while still sleeping) manages to ooch and scooch his way into the corner of his crib where he bangs his head into the side of the crib over and over again as he keeps trying to continue his journey. Does this mean we'll have a sleepwalker on our hands? And what's the definition of insanity, again?

All this activity has been really incredible to witness. He's nearly crawling, can sit with some assistance, and is constantly exploring his body. All of this activity, though, combined with teething really put him off his bottle for about a week. He seemed ok, but First-Time Mama Worries caused me to book Hank a quick visit to the pediatrician over the whole thing. Dr. thought Hank was fine, but said it was the right thing to do, to bring him in. I got some good advice on teething and we were able to talk more about feeding Hank solids, so now Henry and I know better what to do and how to do it. (turns out we should be giving Hank more solid food each day).

Ever the music lover, Hank took in an intimate acoustic performance by Grandpa. Tomorrow Hank will spend the afternoon enjoying the Brahms Requiem! So young, so cultured... how will we ever keep up?

Here's Hank with that fabulous vibrating toy that I mentioned a couple of posts ago. He still loves this thing more than anything. Who would have thought?
We also had a really fun picnic with the rest of my moms' group. It was such fun to finally meet all the dads. We kept saying to each other, 'so that's why your baby has that (nose, chin, mouth, etc)!' We lucked out with the picnic spot -- it was a horribly, horribly hot day -- unseasonably hot, and the spot we were supposed to use was in full sun. Henry noticed a redwood grove and it wasn't reserved. So we got to move our picnic into the shade, and we didn't even have to pay for the space. Had we had to stay in the sunny spot the picnic would not have been nearly as fun. I think for most of the babies this was their first really hot weekend. Hank seemed limp and hot for all of it, and I'm a bit worried as to what the summer is going to be like. Clearly we need to get him into a swimming pool, STAT...

The last bit of news from these parts is that Hank got too big for his infant car seat! We packed the baby bucket up last weekend and installed a big boy car seat in my car. I just could not believe that our kiddo had already hit the height limit for his infant seat. I spent a few days feeling wistful and sad about it, somewhat nostalgic for my tiny little baby... but now that I haven't lugged that damn bucket up or down our stairs or in or out of the car for a week I'm feeling pretty good about this milestone. (plus, now I'm not so worried that Hank's first word will be 'fuck', because I know longer mutter, 'ow! fuck! I hate this thing!' each and every time I load him in and out of the car. There was just no good way to get that bucket in and out of the car! By the end, I think I was developing carpal tunnel and tennis elbow. Not to mention the ways in which I would twist my knees and wrench my back each time I got the bucket in or out of the car... Well, enough complaining about the bucket... It is packed away awaiting a sibling for Hank, and that is exactly where it should be for now.

Hank is now five months and change and just when I think things can't get more fun, they do. Hank babbles with us, the cats, his toys, reflections, strangers on the street CONSTANTLY. He blows funny little raspberries, and squeals with delight. Just this week he became very interested in the cats, and today he got to pet them for the first time. We do airplane rides with him now, which he just loves, and hold him up in the air upside down by his ankles. I've never seen anyone smile so much. It seems like he is constantly happy (except for when he's not, and in such cases he's desperately upset... poor baby! I'm just thankful that we can usually fix whatever is bothering him pretty quickly).

Well, with that I will close. Last weekend's heat left as rapidly as it came and now we've had several nights in a row of very cold, blustery winds. I'm listening to them knock things over outside right now and buffet down the street. Happy Saturday night!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A few more snapshots from the last few days....

Hank has been swinging in the real swings at the playground. Here he is during a playdate with our friend Evie (and mom Patrice, who rules!).

He's gone out for coffee a couple of times...

Here's Dad, pushing Hank on his First Real Swing Ride Ever!

Hank's new best friends are his feet. Whenever possible they are in his hands, and he is darn close to getting his toes in his mouth.

Ordering a sandwich at Whole Foods... Eggplant and Mozzarella on Focaccia, please!!

So Hank is four and a half months old now, and I've got to say, Month Four has been so much fun. I've just loved it! He's so incredibly active now, very engaged in everything around him, and constantly moving. He's dying to crawl -- he gets on his belly and starts flapping his arms and legs around in the air. I can tell he knows that somehow this is going to turn into locomotion one of these days, and it is clear that he hopes that happens soon! The only drawback to this is that he gets so frustrated that he can't actually move that he just starts flapping his limbs harder and harder and then he forgets that he can get off his tummy and starts whining and whining... He can do this over and over again. And who says staying home with a baby isn't entertaining?

He's also constantly talking -- he's got all kinds of sounds now. He babbles constantly, and even laughs now, too. The laughing is great. He looks so, so happy when he's laughing. Just cracking up with is whole body, his eyes closed, lost in the moment and joy of laughing. So cute.

The solid foods are going along really well too. He gets one meal a day. He always has some rice cereal, but then I mix in some sweet potatoes, bananas, or mangoes. I really enjoy mashing fruit up for Hank, maybe because with all the breastfeeding woes we went through I like knowing that I am making some food for him, and that he gets to eat something that didn't come out of a can or a jar. He seems to really enjoy all the foods he's tried so far. He polishes off each dish, and asks for more between each bite. When he's really into it he actually grabs the spoon as I move it towards him mouth and shoves it in himself. Up next are avocado and peas.

And my god, he is getting big!! I weighed him about a week ago and he clocked in at 17 1/2 pounds. That blew my mind! And we measured him, and he was 27 inches -- the height limit for his car seat system. This means we have to get him a big boy car seat. I was a little sad about this and haven't been able to bring myself to actually make the purchase, but I'm going to have to suck it up and do it in the next couple of days. Man, our little baby is not so little any more!! Everywere we go people are blown away by his size -- he's easilly as big as several 12 month olds we've met. But he's proportionate and hella cute, so I'm not worried.

As for myself I have a lot of moments where I am overwhelmed by how much I love being a mom. I think I've said this before, but I'll say it again -- I knew I would love it, but I had no idea how much I would love it, or what it would really be like to love doing something so much. It is so wonderful and gratifying to finally be doing something that in retrospect I really feel like I was meant to do with my time and energy. I remember before my maternity leave began telling people that I was looking forward to the time, and lots of people responded by saying 'yeah, but it is going to be so much work...' Well, they were right, it has been a lot of work, but the rewards have been overwhelming, and most days it doesn't feel like 'work'. Some days still have their stresses, and physically I usually feel like I've been bulldozed by the end of the day, but by and large I feel like I've got this parenting thing down. Henry and I make a great team, and we both are having so much fun with our kiddo.


travelling, originally uploaded by allthingssara.

So most everyone who reads this knows already that we made it to NY and back in one (well, three!) piece(s). We've been back for a week and I haven't had a second to record our trip. I was so nervous about taking Hank on a plane -- worried about how he would handle flying, whether he would fuss and pitch fits on the plane, worried that his ears would hurt him... As we boarded we got some Looks Of Death, but Hank turned out to be a model flier -- I started refering to him as the Diplomat of Baby Travelers. He was pleasant the entire time we were on the plane and actually seemed to be enjoying himself. I knew things were probably going to be smooth sailing when, while waiting to take off, Hank was glued to the window watching the planes in line before us take off -- he just kept watching them go. Very cool to see him take note of something like that. Lots of play time, a nap or two, and a couple of babas later we arrived in NY. Many of our fellow passengers congratulated us on our Nice Baby -- most of them seemed relieved!

We had a great time with Hank's NY Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Mike, too. We did a lot of hanging around the house, enjoying time with Hank. Maureen and Henry threw a big party on Saturday to introduce Hank to several relatives and family friends, and he handled that quite well, also. Everyone seemed to really enjoy meeting the baby.

Henry and I spent the next day driving down to NJ to visit my friend Kate and meet her daughter Miranda (to whom Hank is betrothed). Thankfully her surgery went really well the week before we got there, and she was home recovering. I'm not sure Hank made the best first impression on little Miranda -- during floor time he promptly knocked his head into hers, and she did not look kindly on that. I tried to explain that he's still got to learn how to treat a lady properly, and not to write him off, but we'll have to see...! Hopefully she won't hold it against him...

On the way back to NHP we drove around Brooklyn to see where Henry's grandparents lived when Henry was tiny, and we also drove around looking for train yards so Henry could get some pictures. We ran across a block that housed a large building that was covered in amazing grafiti. We saw really great views of Manhattan, lots of glimpses of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. It was a really cool day.

I spent a lot of time during our trip hanging out with Maureen and Hank. Baby shopping was really fun! Maureen seemed to have a blast picking out treats for Hank, including a funny little neon green mouse that vibrates and skitters across the floor. Hank LOVES this thing -- LOVES it. When it is buzzes he hugs it close and bites down on it. Too funny. Hank is also loving, loving, loving the green and blue blankie Maureen made for him. It is a hit at every nap time.

Anyway, gotta run... naptime is over and Hank is itching to be played with. Thank you so much for everything, Maurren and Henry, our trip was really so wonderful!