Thursday, June 29, 2006

On the Road Again

Isaiah and I just got back from South Dakota for a week long visit to my parents. It was wonderful. Isaiah had such a good time visiting my family, and why shouldn't he have? He was the star of the show everywhere he went. Everyone loves him no matter what, but there's absolutely nothing to compare to two sets of grandparents fawning over you.

Michael's parents drove Isaiah and I out to Rapid City, which if you think about it, is an incredibly charitable and brave thing to do. Not many people would volunteer their time and gas money to spend 9 hours in a car with a baby. Michael had to stay in Minneapolis to work, and it was the first trip for both Isaiah and I without him. Isaiah was an absolute angel in the car, partly because he's a naturally sweet and mellow kid, and partially because I had been pumping milk for days in anticipation of this drive. We stopped twice for gas and food, and only one extra time for a diaper change. Honestly, I didn't even know babies came this good.

Isaiah really impressed my mom, the physical therapist, with all of his physical prowess. He rolled over a few times and pushed up into "prone prop" and almost balanced while sitting and used his strong, chunky legs to stand all the time, so I guess she was right to be impressed. It was so wonderful to see my parents interact with Isaiah and vice versa. My mom plays with him in the same ways and uses the same high-pitched voice that I do, and Isaiah gets very excited and alert with her. My dad, on the other hand, is very serene and mild with him and just carries him around and explains their surroundings in a soothing voice, so Isaiah is relaxed and calm with him. Andy is, well, sweet and pretty doting, but he's never really been around a baby at all, so he's still a little nervous, and it shows. Each time he holds Isaiah though, they have a better time together. I know that if we got to see one another more often, the two of them would bond like glue. It's beautiful to see the delight they each take in him in their own ways.

In truth, this was one of my favorite visits back home. I've always loved seeing my family and I miss them so much when I'm gone, but it was so wonderful to bring Isaiah home to my parents and Andy. They were all so reassuring in my parenting skills, that I was able to really relax and enjoy the whole time with them and not have to worry that I'm taking care of Isaiah in ways they might not approve of. I am so blessed with my family - and Michael's family too. I hear horror stories all the time of mothers who have to deal with interfering grandparents, who criticize and undermine and do all sorts of awful things. I have parents and in-laws who support me and love me and truly want to help me and give Isaiah their best, and I can feel how it makes me a better mom. I am so glad Isaiah will grow up in such an incredible family.

If it weren't for the fact that I really missed Michael, I would have wanted the vacation to go on for at least another week. I never feel like my visits are long enough, and, in truth, they aren't. Now that I had Isaiah with me, though, I could have stayed for sooo long. Although, his sleeping and eating schedule got way off because he partied too hard.

On the way back home, Isaiah still did wonderfully. He didn't really fuss at all until we were almost all the way back to our place. Then, during the last five or ten minutes of the drive, he screamed and cried. Poor baby. I couldn't get him into his carseat for two days after that because he had absolutely had enough travel. So, we stayed home and relaxed. Truthfully, I wasn't really relishing the thought of going anywhere anyway. A baby is a great excuse to stay home, if that's what you're into.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Seeing Spots

Isaiah got a rash this week. It was terrible. At least, it was terrible for Michael and I. Isaiah, as a matter of fact, didn't seem to mind or notice that he had a rash at all.
Michael and I were visiting friends of ours from the Caribou where I worked while I was pregnant. Isaiah's diaper was wet and he was getting fussy about it, so I went into the bathroom to change it. Then, as I was putting a dry diaper back on him, I noticed that there were little red dots on his cute little tush. Then I looked at his stomach and saw that there were red dots on it as well. They were pretty faint, and I figured they were from his clothing. My guess was that I had forgotten to wash that outfit in baby detergent and had washed it in regular detergent instead. No worries. So I kept him naked (except for the diaper) and figured it would go away. Instead it got much, much worse.

The dots became much more red (although they stayed as tiny as pin pricks) and spread to everywhere on his body. Everywhere. He had tiny dots in the soles of his feet, the palms of his hands, the inside of his ears, the top of his head. Everywhere. We took him for a walk and let the sun shine on his little legs, and his legs became grotesquely covered in harsh, bright red dots. Michael gave him a bath hoping that the water would sooth his skin, and it did nothing. I learned so much in those three days about rashes it was ridiculous. I learned that this was NOT heat rash, nor impetigo, nor roseola, nor anything else that I could find on the internet. When we finally got him to the doctor, she didn't know what it was either, but she could tell us, from looking in his ears and nose and throat, that he didn't have a virus to go along with it, so he would most likely be alright.

All this time, Isaiah was happy and carefree, and still didn't seem to notice the rash at all. I think the whole rash was more harmful to my health than his, and within a day or two, it was all gone. I think the most he suffered from it was when I had to check his temperature rectally twice a day. Oh, and at this doctor's visit, he weighed 16 pounds, 4 ounces.

On a less stressful note, Michael has a job (yay!) and he likes it a lot (yay!) Also, Isaiah has been rolling over more frequently and with less visible effort. I can't believe how much he grows up every day. I wish he could remember these times when he gets older. They are such sweet and exciting times for me, and when I see how much fun he has, I think of how wonderful it would be if he could look back 20 years from now and say "Oh, I remember how much it used to crack me up when my dad would blow on my stomach." or "Yeah, it was pretty cool to take naps twice a day in my mom's arms." I guess I'll just have to remember it all for him. It's an amazing treasure that I have, being able to watch Isaiah grow up and gradually, already, change from being my baby into his own person. I love it, and it breaks my heart at the same time. I would like to be able to hold him forever, but already he wants his own independence. It's very odd to feel so excited for changes, yet not want them to come at all. My consolation is that when he was a newborn, I never wanted him to grow out of that stage because it was so wonderful and sweet, but every day (with one or two exceptions) has been better than the day before. I love watching my baby grow.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

It's a Scream

This week has been full of unpacking and reorganizing in our new home. Most of all, though, this week has been full of playing. I love playing with Isaiah, and I absolutely prefer it to unpacking. Therefore, I spend much, much more time playing with him than doing actual housework. And I feel quite good about this decision. The number one thing I have heard from moms who have grown-up kids is that they wish they could have spent more time with them, or that the time I have with him now is "so fleeting." I've never actually heard a veteran mom tell me to spend less time with my baby and more time taking care of other things, especially other things like laundry. At the same time, to be honest, I still feel a pressure to have a perfect (or nearly perfect) looking home with organized cupboards and a tidy basement. I feel like some part of my worth as a mother and wife comes from having glistening kitchen counters and dust-free ledges. I'm not exactly sure why I feel this way, since Michael is always sweet and never makes me feel like a failure when I let parts of the house go. Isaiah, of course, never cares about the condition of the house at all as long as he's looked after and fed. I also happen to know tons of women in the same situation as me. Why do we feel that we have to be responsible for all of this? Why do we feel that it speaks of our value as moms and wives? Try as I might to just let it go, something in me feels guilty when I see a pile of dirty clothes. Then again, something bigger in me feels joy when I spend time with my husband and my baby boy.

We are really relishing this time before Michael has to report to a full time job. In many ways, it's a nice place to be in - after graduation and before the 9-5 workweek. Michael gets to spend more time with Isaiah than so many dads do. He gets to share in all his triumphs and joys and milestones. At the same time, I know that Michael wants a job as quickly as he can get one. Of course we both do, and at times we definitely feel the pressure of having no income, but it's such a blessing, too. I know that whenever Michael does go back to work, I'm going to miss him during the day.

Isaiah has now, truly found his little voice, and guess's not so little. He loves to scream and yell at the top of his lungs. It's not an angry or sad scream (most of the time,) it's a scream of pure exhilaration at having discovered that his own tiny body can produce such a loud noise. He screams when he sees someone he knows. He screams when he sees someone new. He screams when you smile at him. He screams when he wants your attention again. He screams when you're playing a game with him. He screams when he gets slightly tired of the game. He screams when he's really tired of the game. And he screams right before he begins to cry because by now he's really sick of the game. Did I mention that all these screams sound exactly the same. I know that somewhere in that sequence he went from excited and happy to tired and frustrated, but he's making the same sound for everything. By the time I figure out he's no longer having tons of fun, it's too late. Still, it's pretty cute to watch him when he happy screams.

Isaiah's favorite place to scream is in his Johnny Jump-up. Yes! We got him a Johnny Jump-up, and it's, apparently, fun enough to scream about. He can't really jump in it yet, but he can stand in it, and I guess that's enough for him. My guess is that he thinks he's standing on his own, which I'm pretty sure is his dream for now. He loves standing the way I love chocolate - he just can't get enough of it. To be honest, we could have just gotten him a Johnny Stand-up (Stanley Stand-up?) and he would have been just as thrilled, but we're hoping he figures out how to jump in it soon. According to Michael's parents, Michael love his Johnny Jump-up when he was a baby and I have seen pictures of him grinning in his old jump-up the way Isaiah grins in his. Like father, like son.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Grabby Hands

We are now moved into our new little home. And I have to say, it's pretty homey. We still have boxes of stuff in inconvenient places all around, and we haven't hung any pictures up on the wall, and I still forget where I've stored items in the kitchen, but we're home!

Isaiah really took the move in stride. As of yet, I don't actually think he's noticed that we are living in a different place. Mommy's here, Daddy's here, Old MacDonald's Animal Play Farm is here...nothing else really matters. I seriously doubt he ever knew where he was in the first place. He is just happy wherever he goes, which makes me happy wherever he goes too.

Isaiah has become a grabber, and I couldn't be more excited. He just started actually reaching out for his toys of interest a few days ago. It's so cute to see the intense concentration on his face while he works out all the details. I feel like his thoughts are just perfectly displayed on his cherubic little face.
"Let's see...that Froggie-rattle seems to be four inches away from my face. I better reach out pretty far to get it...Oh! Oh I touched it. Okay, now I've got to open up my fingers...and the thumb...this is always the hard part...come on thumb. I've! Got it!"
Then as soon as he gets it in his hand, his immediate goal is to eat it, evidenced by his wide open drooly mouth.

He's really been enjoying biting anything that comes near his mouth lately, which is fine since he doesn't have any sharp little baby teeth. Still, his jaw is getting pretty strong, and he actually cracked my knuckle the other day.

Isaiah still doesn't understand "peek-a-boo," and in fact, the game terrifies him right now. Michael was playing it with him last night, and Isaiah jumped every time Michael appeared from behind the pillow. Then, after a few of those surprises, he put on his saddest little face and began to cry. I guess we'll just stick to funny noises for a while.

Speaking of funny noises, Isaiah has begun to imitate some of the funny noises we make. His best one is the monkey-like noise that you make by pursing your lips together and blowing to make a "Pbth" sound. He cracks up when we do it, and he started trying it on his own about a week ago. He's actually getting very good at it, but he usually ends up blowing a ton of spit bubbles down his chin. Other than the "pbth" noise, I've noticed that Michael and I end up imitating Isaiah much more frequently than he imitates us. He'll happily shout out "Whar!" and we'll answer back "Whar!" Then he'll answer back "a-grur" and we'll respond in kind. Finally, our conversations just end up in a gurgling contest. He always wins.

Isaiah has been doing much better with nursing, for all of you who were wondering. He's stopped being so impatient, and now we're back to the sweet nursing times that we were having before. I think one of the problems was that he was too distracted by his surroundings, so he didn't want to stop and nurse until he was really, really hungry. By that time, he was also usually over-tired and just in a frustrated mood. Now, though, he's been happy to nurse when he needs to instead of waiting until it's too late. He's still pretty interested in his surroundings, though, which can be a little tricky if I'm nursing with other people around. If I speak to someone while I'm feeding, or sometimes if anyone in the room says anything, he'll pop off and look around to see what's going on, leaving me hanging. Not cool, Isaiah. Basically, I have to hold his head in place with my hand and keep a blanket strategically placed so that even if he takes a break to look around, I'm covered.

At our doctor's visit, we were told that we could start feeding Isaiah solid food now if we wanted. We're deciding to wait until he's six month's old, though, because we've heard that's nutritionally best for him. He's less likely to develop allergies or tummy-aches. Beyond that, though, is the fact that I'm not ready for nursing to come to an end. I so enjoy the time I have with my little baby, and the thought of him eating solid foods just reminds me that he won't be a baby for long at all. I'm in no rush; I just want to enjoy nursing him while I still can. Plus, I have read that as soon as a baby starts getting something other than, or in addition to breast milk, their diapers start stinking up the wazoo, and I don't look forward to that either.

Oh, and he just turned 4 months old, he weighs 15 1/2ish pounds, and he's 25+ inches long. How did this all happen? It's just flown by.