Wednesday, July 25, 2007

7 Weeks

Seven weeks old. I can hardly believe it. She’s a part of our lives, but we still forget about her once in a while. Sometimes we’ll get out of the car and almost be walking away before we go “Oh, the baby!” We never get farther than the edge of our parking space, but we both feel crummy whenever we do it.

I was warned that “they change so fast,” but I had no idea what an understatement this is. The difference between now and her newborn days is amazing. She smiles when we call her name and tracks us with her eyes when we walk across a room. She loves it when I have “conversations” with her – I mimic her noises and facial expressions, which “they” say teachers her that she is important and I’m really paying attention to her. I’ve started playing peek-a-boo with her, which makes her laugh. She really likes motion games too, like patty-cake. When she’s really crabby, I play a “naming” game with her – starting at her feet and going up to her head, I ask her “What’s this?” and tell her the name of each body part. “What this? It’s your foot! What are these? Your tiny toes! And look, what are these? Your little baby knees!” I’m sure I sound like an idiot, but she likes it and it makes her laugh.

Our formerly quiet baby is now a fountain of noises: snorts, giggles, wheezes, coos, howls, laughs. And farts. Lots of farts. Farts that can be heard from across the room, farts that drown out the television, farts with surprising depth and resonance considering they are created by a person who weighs less than ten pounds. She is a noisy sleeper, too. The absolute stillness of her newborn sleep is gone. Instead, she breathes loudly, sniffs, smacks her lips, whimpers, grunts, moans, and of course, farts. She roams around the bed in her sleep, turning and rotating so she ends up sideways. She rolls from side to side, wiggling ever closer to me and snuggling in. Once in a while she will half-wake and wail for a moment, a noise similar in pitch and tone to a police siren. Then she goes back to sleep, crisis averted. I have tried to keep her out of our bed, because from what I can tell once you start letting them in there they never want to leave. I don’t know why, because she has a number of very nice sleeping places (a bassinet, a pack n’ play, a crib, and a Moses basket) when all we have at the moment is a metal futon with our Ikea foam mattress on it. My resolve to avoid a “family bed” cracked, however, when I was faced with the following choice: either put her in our bed and have her sleep for a minimum of four solid hours, or put her in her own bed and spend the next six to eight hours waking up every fifteen minutes to feed, hold and quiet her, beg her to go to sleep, then doze for a few minutes before she began to wail again. I was not so much a weak pushover as sleep-deprived and beginning to consider auctioning her off on Ebay. I had calculated a reserve price that was enough to pay off our car before I caught myself. She spent the night with us.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I think I just wet myself.

I called to make the appointment for Piper's two-month checkup, and when they asked what insurance we have I had to say "none, we're self-pay."

Some days I wish I could go back to being 22, when my biggest fear was spending a Saturday night sober.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Thank God for Vibrators

The little kind that come in bouncy seats, of course. Well, I'm fond of several other kinds of vibrators too, but those are of no use when it's 3:30 am and your colicky baby is screeching like a banshee. The little bouncy seat with vibration that my mom bought for $2 at a yard sale has turned out to be the single most useful piece of baby equipment we own. I feel sort of bad because I've been putting her in it a lot these days, but it's been so hot she's getting heat rash all over her face from being held, and anything that makes her forget her stomachache long enough to stop screaming can't be all bad.

Taking care of a tiny baby is so time-consuming. You wouldn't think that'd be the case, since they sleep so much, but no. I finished my antibiotics and am breast-feeding again, which takes like 40 minutes every time and sometimes she wants to eat every 45 minutes so I spend entire days sitting around with my boobs getting gnawed on. When she falls asleep I am usually so tired I sack out right along with her or run around frantically trying to get household chores done, take a shower, or do some laundry so the two pairs of pants and three tank tops I have unpacked and accessible right now will be clean at least once a week.

Piper is five weeks old now. I have not taken nearly enough pictures; I have not written nearly enough words. So much information about her slips through my fingers every day. Every morning she wakes up different; every day she changes a little. There is always a new noise, a new facial expression, a new degree of control over her limbs, a wider smile, a deeper cry. The spindly little creature we brought home from the hospital has evolved into a little person with moods and preferences and expressions. She's gained nearly two pounds since she was born, and now weighs in at a robust seven pounds, six ounces. People still talk about how tiny she is but she seems gargantuan to me. She's nearly outgrown some of her clothes; the tiny onesies we made for her before she was born are getting tight. She loves to be outside and even the noise of a chainsaw deconstructing a mulberry tree doesn't bother her. When she is awake at night, she likes the lights on. She loves to snuggle and will happily sleep for hours curled up in someone's arms or resting on their chest.

At five days old, she rolled onto her side and slept, and she perfers to sleep that way most of the time. No amount of putting her on her back or stern talks about what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends has not changed her mind. At eight days old, she put her arm up under her head while she was sleeping, resting her head on it like a pillow. This is exactly the way I sleep. Max and I looked at each other in wonderment. Where did she learn that? She can roll from her back to her side and back again, and from her side to her front. The movement isn't fluid or practiced yet, but she does it enough that we can never set her down alone on the bed or couch. She takes a long time to wake up fully, like Max and I do, but she is at her most smiley and playful around 9:00 am, when she wakes up from what is usually a 5-hour stretch of sleep. She laughs now, too, tiny wheezes and hints of giggles. When she has colic at night, terrible gas pains that turn her stomach rock-hard and leave her red-faced and screaming with pain, she looks up at us with those deep blue eyes and her expression says why aren't you helping me? Why won't you do something? and it breaks our hearts.

We are her parents. We're supposed to fix things like that. She trusts us to take away the hurt. And there's nothing we can do.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Things are...interesting. Living with the family has its pluses and minuses. There's always an extra pair of hands or a babysitter around when you want one...and even when you don't. Everyone wants to "help" and "help" usually means taking the baby from me, under the guise of being useful and giving me a break, but much of the time I just want ten minutes to be alone with my daughter. I am very good about sharing her; lots of people have remarked that I'm much more generous and much less paranoid with Piper than most first-time moms. But it is very hard not to explode/cry/snatch her back when she's sobbing and miserable and my mom either takes her right out of my arms or won't give her back. My mom just wants to help, I know, and I am making a great effort to see that she gets to be involved with Piper in lots of ways. I am frustrated, however, because every time Piper cries my mom comes running with a "what's wrong?" or "how is she?" or takes her from me. It makes me feel inept, and angry. I can manage my child, thanks. I'm not totally stupid. I am her mother. When I got married, my mom forgot whose wedding it was; I think sometimes she forgets whose baby Piper is.