Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Keep Moving


Eric just got out of bed and looked down and realized there was a bunch of baby poop covering his t-shirt. A t-shirt he had just slept in. In our (previously) clean bed (if you don't count all the milk stains!) Ahhh.. more things to clean. Our house has become a mini disaster -- bottles, blankets, dishes, papers, dog hair, milk stains, boxes (the UPS man and the FedEx man both seem to come at least once a day... my addiction to online shopping has reached new heights) are everywhere. Abby also decided to make a contribution to the mess this morning... there's a big pile of cat puke on the rug in Kai's room. We're way behind on the laundry (and we should probably start with the bedsheets at this point). But, at least the birth announcements are out (priorities, rights?).

When Kai was in the NICU, all I wanted to do was get her home so we could hold her non-stop. And, for the last four weeks, that's practically what we've done. We have arranged our schedules for around-the-clock care. Although she has spent some time in the co-sleeper, it hasn't amounted to much time (probably 15 hours in the last 4 weeks), and while it has been wonderful to cuddle with Kai nonstop, our house has suffered. Dearly. And, given my need to have things in their proper places, my sanity is also suffering.

But, we are finally both on leave for a couple of weeks (until now, Eric has been working at least part-time), and, being the party animals that we are, we've decided to devote the time to house projects and developing some strategies to better balance our baby, household and work duties.

We're moving forward with the house, and moving every which way at all other times of the day and night with the baby (bouncing, swaying, walking, driving, rocking). Kai loves to be cuddled and held, but if she can't be cuddled or held, she wants to be moving - she likes to swing. She does not enjoy lying in a motionless bed. Of course, her need for movement really involves holding her or putting her in her carseat and swinging her to and fro because we don't have a mechanical device that will swing her for us. But, of course, Kai's need for constant movement is not peculiar to her and the wise people who have studied baby behavior have solved that problem, creating just such a wonder. However, they created only monstrous plastic things that would take up half of our living room and just contribute to the mess that is already driving me batty. Why do swings have to be so big? And plastic? And hideous? So, we have a delimea... buy something hideous that will take up an inordinate amount of space, but would also enable us to put her down from time to time, thus accomplishing other chores. We could potentially eat at the same time (or shower, start a load of laundry, unload or load the dishwasher, type with two hands... the possibilities are endless). Or, we forego the monstrous, hideous plastic crap and only be able to accomplish tasks in 10 minute increments (the amount of time between us putting her down and her waking up, alarmed and bewildered, howling about being abandoned). We'll probably buy a swing. No need to give Kai a complex at such a young age. There's plenty of time for that later.

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I started this post yesterday - and as of today, the house is much cleaner. It really doesn't take that long to straighten things a bit (well, that, and I get a little demanding once the clutter reaches a certain level). Eric miracuously got Kai to stay in the co-sleeper for a couple of hours last night (something I have yet to be able to accomplish), and, rather than crawling into bed to crash out, he dug out the Pledge. That is love.

We spent this morning at IKEA (aka hell on earth... there is no store I hate more than IKEA. Talk about plastic crap. And cheap crap. Evil, I tell you. But, they do have things to help organize a small kitchen, so off we went. Twice, actually. In two days. Because the first time we didn't get things in the right size. ARGH.) Anyway, after braving hell, we had planned on going several other places, but Kai woke up when we were lost in the maze and was none to happy about it, and so we decided to hightail it home. Kai does great in the car, as long as we never, ever stop moving (are you sensing a theme here?) Of course, Bay Area traffic isn't necessairly conducive to that mentality. Another conundrum... dart through traffic like a maniac in order to try to keep the car moving and maintain peace or drive sensibly while listening to a howling baby. Safety first, we know... but, let me just say I can see the temptation. We've made a game of it. When the car stops, we start counting down from 10. She's like a little alarm clock.

We visited our friends Sarah and Doug this weekend. Their daughter Penny (age 2) is adorable, and we let her hold Kai a bit. Ok, really, I asked her if she wanted to hold Kai because I wanted the adorable picture that I knew would ensue. We told her to be very still, and she followed instructions perfectly, refusing to move anything but her eyes (ever so slightly). The cuteness slays me. A few pictures:




Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Reset


Today is Eric's birthday and Kailey's due date. Here we were expecting to become parents when Eric was closer to 39 (he turns 38 today) and when I was closer to 33 (I turned 32 in May). But, once we made up our minds to become parents, we seem to have been put on some sort of fast track. When we decided to start trying last fall, our expectation was that we'd have a baby by the end of this year. But, instead, we had a baby in April. April!! I know that parenthood isn't something you can plan for through a nice, color-coded chart (as has been my modus operandi in other areas of my life), but this has been a bit ridiculous. We both continue to turn to each other, at least once a week and say, "can you believe all that has happened?" "Can you believe we have a baby already?" And yet, we do. But, chaos aside, all is well and we're doing great, and, most importantly, we know how very lucky we are to have such a beautiful, healthy baby.

Kai will be 8 weeks old tomorrow, but, as of today, she's adjusted to zero. Up until now, the doctors and nurses (and us) have been counting her age by her gestational week (she was a 32 weeker when she was born, and in the hospital during rounds they would say - "Kai is a 32 weeker who is 35 weeks and 1 day" or whatever she was at the moment). But, as of today, she's full term and we start counting her by her adjusted age (and at the moment, she's adjusted to zero. As in, Kai was a 32 weeker who's adjusted age is zero). The adjusted age is a bit confusing, though. She isn't adjusted for everything. For instance, she gets her vaccines based on her real age. But, for most developmental benchmarks, they will use her adjusted age until she is about a year old. But, even within that category, it's a bit of a hodgepodge. She is nearly two months, but doesn't do a lot of what other two month old babies do. But, she is also not like a newborn - she is more active and alert than a brand new baby. So, she's just in a category all her own -- as it should be, really.

I'm still not sure how to handle her two ages when dealing with strangers and their inevitable questions. In the few times we've taken her out recently, we've had several people come up to us and comment on how tiny she is and then, boldly, inform us that she's "brand new". And while I consider 8 weeks to be brand new, I know that when someone says that, they are thinking in days, not weeks. In fact, the other question we get is - "how many days old is she?" For example, when she was at the eye doctor last week, someone came up to her, peered into her carseat and said, "how OLD is she?" and when I said, "7 weeks" she responded, "REALLY? How much does she weigh?". And then, another person, who had been sitting across the waiting room, came over and also said, "did you say she was SEVEN weeks?" I just find these exchanges to be irritating, and I'm not sure there's an easy way to handle inquiries. No matter what, I think there will be more questions. It seems that those people nosy enough to ask one question always have follow-ups. And, ultimately, why do I care? She was a preemie, and a small one at that (for her gestational age), but she's doing great. That's all that really matters.

Happy birthday, Eric! And, happy due date, Kai! It's been a crazy ride so far this year... but, we're doing great.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Venturing Out



It turns out our tolerance for being housebound (except for the occasional errand or doctor appointment) is about 12 days. There's only so much daytime television that one person can handle - and I think we've watched every movie that is currently available through On Demand. So, if you need any movie reviews -- just ask us. We're all caught up on all the videos that have just come out on DVD.

So, after almost two weeks inside our house, we decided that it was time to start taking Kai on more adventures in the outside world. She's now dined at our favorite breakfast spot (ok, she didn't do any dining) and visited Mudpuppies (where Oscar bathes and hikes) and we've begun exploring our neighborhood a bit more. Kai travels with us in the Baby Bjorn - which is technically for babies who are a minimum of 8 lbs. While Kai has done an excellent job of gaining weight since coming home (more than an ounce a day!), she isn't quite at 8 lbs yet (she's currently 5 lbs, 12 oz), and the Baby Bjorn swallows her up a bit. What this means is she doesn't get to see much of the places we're taking her. But, we've been having fun on our outings, and as we walked around the dog park, we started to get excited about all the places we're going to show Kai in the coming years.

She's getting more interactive -- which also means she has longer stretches of being fussy. She is definitely acting like a newborn now, which makes sense given that she's only a few days shy of her due date. She is still pretty easy to appease... just so long as we never put her down! Of course, we do put her down occasionally. Luckily, she has a loyal doggie friend who seems to have adopted her as much as we adopted him. It's so cute -- if either of us puts her in her crib or co-sleeper for a moment and leaves the room, Oscar runs in and lays down, staring at her crib. Then, if she stirs, Oscar runs to us and then runs back to the room. It's really cute. And, after one of us takes Oscar out for a walk, as soon as he comes back home, he runs over and checks on Kai (by thoroughly sniffing her). And he checks in on her frequently throughout the day. Finally, whenver we do "tummy time" with Kai (we put a blanket down in her room and put her on her tummy to work on those neck muscles)... Oscar runs out to get a toy and then brings it back (in order to join in the game). It's adorable. We were never worried about how Oscar would be with Kai -- but, I never imagined he would take to her the way he has. He seems truly concerned about her well-being.

So, we're continuing to do well. Here are a few more pictures.