Tuesday, January 27, 2009

in sickness and in health

I was quite the sight to behold on Monday morning. I was sick. I was tired. I had bags under my eyes. I was wearing the same pajamas I'd worn all day on Sunday and I hadn't taken a shower since Saturday morning. My hair was up in a slept-in ponytail. You know what I'm talking about - kind of bunched up at top with the stringy strands falling oh so gracefully around my face. And just like icing on top of a beautiful cake, I had fresh spit up running down my left shoulder. I was changing Jude's diaper and he was screaming loudly - although I was in that sick person zombie trance that causes everything around you to be very, very fuzzy- so his screaming wasn't particularly bothering me. In case you need a visual, I looked something like this:

This was the sight upon which Shawn walked this past Monday morning. My sweet, dear husband only said, "I think you should call the Doctor today."

I was sick this past weekend, and let me assure you that it is not easy being sick and taking care of an infant. Thankfully, Shawn made me take a trip to the Doctor on Monday morning (I thought for sure it was just a very nasty cold that I'd get over), where I guess I was diagnosed with a respiratory infection...she was kind of vague. All that mattered to me, though, was that she was prescribing antibiotics which would hopefully equal health soon! I've been on the antibiotic for 24 hours now, and I feel pretty much back to normal. I'm now just waiting for the inevitable sickness of my husband and child, which promises to be even less fun than being sick myself. Oh well, I suppose it had to happen at some point, huh? I'm very grateful for my amazing husband who took care of the house, made me hot tea, and forced my stubborn butt to the Doctor's office.

On a much, much better note, I am very excited to announce that Jude has slept through the night for almost two weeks now. I hesitated posting this information on the blog because I had this weird notion that as soon as I put my excitement in writing, he would go right back to sleeping three or four hours. So - if we have a rough night tonight - just know that I will place the blame on you, the reader of this blog. It would appear that while Jude is very sweet natured, he also has a stubborn streak and when he decides he's going to do something, he does it! At his age, "sleeping through the night," is usually characterized by six or seven hours...eight if you're a lucky duck. Jude sleeps for about ten and a half hours and goes about twelve hours between feedings. So if his last feeding was at 7:30pm (as it usually is), I can expect him to wake up between 7:00 and 7:30am the next morning. He started doing this the night before I started back to work, as if to say, "Mommy probably needs some rest now, I think I'll start sleeping through the night." Whatever the case, we were very excited and you can bet that my butt is in bed by at least 11:00pm every night so I can get a full, glorious eight hours.

And on an even better note still, Shawn and I are headed up to Ohio this weekend for a quick trip to see his family! Since the Steelers are in the SuperBowl, Shawn apparently has what I can only describe as a man-need to watch the game with like-minded fans. When the Steelers were last in the SuperBowl, we watched the game in our apartment in North Carolina and made pierogis (It's basically potato stuffed pasta. I've learned that the people in Shawn's hometown area can do amazing things with potatoes). I did my best to be enthusiastic about the game, but it was probably evident that my knowledge about football is marginal. I take that back - I actually know quite a bit, I just don't care about football all that much. Still - I tried to get riled up for Shawn's sake. So after watching the Steelers in the SuperBowl with me, Shawn's rightly deduced that it would be much more fun to watch the game with his family. I can't necessarily understand this man-need of his, but I'm all for it since it means time with family! I'm excited for Jude to meet his Aunts Aubrey and Heather and his cousins...and maybe to even see snow! I'm a little nervous about driving so long with a potentially screamy, fussy infant, but the excitement of getting to see Shawn's family far outweighs any crying we might have to endure!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Grammy and Aunt Rachael's visit!

My mom and sister decided to come down for a few days to visit with the newest addition to the Pohlman family! They ventured from the ice covered roads of Indiana, through the snow covered mountains of West Virginia, and ever so thoughtfully brought that cold air with them! They had to cut their trip short because of predicted icy roads on the way back, but I absolutely loved having them here. Both Shawn and I have always been thoroughly independent and neither of us have had a difficult time with moving away from our families...until now. I miss our families - particularly my mom - and am on a campaign to get my parents and siblings to move down here. :) So far, no luck! My sister was the first of Jude's aunts or uncles for him to meet. Mom and Rachael watched Jude one night while Shawn and I had a date, and Rach said Jude looked at her like, "You kind of look like my Mommy. You kind of sound like my Mommy - but something is just not quite right."

Actually, I realized for the first time that Jude knows me, he actually knows me. When my Mom held him and I was talking, Jude turned his head to see where I was. If he was crying in the stroller, my face calmed him down (for about two seconds - until he remembered that he was mad again). What a great feeling to see that he knows my voice and recognizes my face!

I haven't taken Jude out a whole lot beyond a quick trip between his feedings - it's always seemed like it's not worth the nightmare of timing his feedings/finding a place to feed him/deal with his crying in public, etc. It's tough enough to get our butts to church every Sunday in one piece, and I just haven't really wanted to venture out for an entire day. I figured that I may as well take the leap while I had Mom and Rachael with me to help. So we did a day of shopping! I used our stroller for the first time, which was surprisingly easy to use. I nursed and changed Jude in the nursing room at the mall (thanks to Shantel - I would've never known there was a nursing room at the mall!), which was also surprisingly easy. The only real difficulty was calming Jude down when he started fussing in a store. This wasn't such a big deal in the mall - it was loud enough that he wasn't a huge bother to others, and I could easily take him out of stores. When he started crying at Starbucks and Edward McKay's however, I had to deal with dirty looks from annoyed people. It was freezing outside, so I couldn't take him out of the store until he fell asleep. Any advice on how to deal with an infant's melt down in public?

My mom also got to witness Jude's first forays into splashing in the tub! Shawn's been trying to teach him to splash for weeks, and Jude finally figured out how to splash with his legs - and boy was he pleased! His little frog legs were going wild in the tub and his eyes got big as he realized how much fun it was! The visit from Mom and Rachael went by all together too quickly, and I was sad to see them have to leave. I'm looking forward, though, to visiting with them again in May. I wish I had some great pictures to share with you, but I was so wrapped up in visiting that I completely forgot to whip out the camera. Next time, I promise!

Friday, January 9, 2009

we have smiles!

Jude is getting this smiling thing down pat! Good thing, too - he's got a cute one. His favorite toy right now is his Baby Einstein playmat, so I thought I'd include a few pictures of him smiling there.

That baby in the mirror IS pretty funny.

I've begun playing a game with Jude that results in huge smiles from both of us. It involves Jude laying on his back while I put my face close enough to his that he can reach out and touch me. Jude kicks his little legs and swings his little hands until he can figure out how to touch my mouth, which is when I basically smother his hand in kisses. While he hasn't made much of a noise yet, he throws his head back and the smiles pretty much overtake his face. Go ahead and make fun, but seriously - it's the best fifteen minutes of my day.

Along those same lines, he's getting better about learning hand/eye coordination and is getting pretty good at reaching what he's trying to get. Shawn will set Jude on his lap and put his hand out, palm up - slightly to the left of Jude. Jude will reach out and "high-five" Shawn. Then Shawn will put his right hand up, and after a few tries, Jude will high-five Shawn's right hand. He'll keep switching hands for a good ten to fifteen minutes and Jude will eventually get to where he can get the switched hand the first time. I think that kind of coordination might be a little bit advanced for his age, but I'm not sure.

I seem to have a lot of people asking me how cloth diapering is going lately. My theory is that they thought we'd give up after a month, so they're asking to see if they were right. I'm pretty proud to report that cloth diapering is still going really well. Jude is in cloth diapers all the time except at night (so we don't have to change him in the middle of the night, hopefully encouraging him to sleep through the night) and occasionally when we're out (though we're keeping him in cloth more and more even in those cases). In his two months of life, we've had to buy one pack of newborn diapers. Right now, he's in size One diapers and we've been using the same pack for at least two weeks now- and we're only halfway through it. You can imagine that my thrifty little heart just beams at those savings! Because he's also not using formula, the only thing we buy on a regular basis for him is wipes. We bought an economy pack several weeks ago, but once we go through those, I think I might try to make wipes. You can bet that Shawn will think I'm crazy for doing so, but he's always excited about the money I'm able to save. I've not found that washing the diapers is particularly annoying, at least not yet. They wash completely clean (the poo of breastfed babies is water soluble, so it just dissolves and there's no trace of poop in the washing machine at all - I promise!) and since it's been too rainy to hang them up outside, I hang them on the back of our kitchen chairs for a few hours and they're good to go. At this point, I think I wash diapers twice a week - though I think that will lessen once he's big enough to be in the diapers Mama and Papa Maurer bought him, we have several more of those than we have of the ones I made.

I'm also extremely proud to report that breastfeeding is going well. It really did get ten times easier at six weeks, and seems to only get less painful as each week passes. I think my biggest complaint right now is that I'm not getting much sleep. A couple of times a week, Shawn will feed him a bottle of pumped milk so that I can sleep a bit longer in the mornings, but I'm still operating on about four (he DID sleep for six hours two nights in a row and we're working on getting back to that schedule) hours of sleep a night. Let me clarify - I know this is a lot more than many moms of infants this age are getting. I'm grateful for the sleep that I do get, but two months of sleep deprivation can get to a girl! My friend Monica told me that she made it through her daughter's first three months of life by repeating the mantra, "To everything there is a season, and this too shall pass." While I love everything else about this stage, I've found myself repeating Monica's mantra to myself on many a sleepless night. Soon enough, he'll be sleeping through the night, and all I'll remember about this stage was the first smiles he shared with me.

While I'm completely rambling, can I just say how much more respect I have for mothers of boys? I was so frustrated with Jude one night - all he wanted to do was be held and cuddled by me, and all I wanted to do was be held and cuddled by my pillow and blankets. I couldn't imagine why the heck he wanted to be held so badly. My mind suddenly flashed forward to thirteen years from now when this same little boy will utter a grumpy "fine," in response to my queries about school that day and jet straight to his stinky teenage boy bedroom, only to emerge for dinner three hours later. I felt Jude's one arm around my neck, and the other arm securely tucked under his body. I felt his feet curled up tightly and listened to his breathing. I was reminded that he wanted to be held because he felt safe with his Mom. Realistically, I only have a few more years of cuddling my son before he morphs into an independent little man. I look forward to seeing him becoming a man, I look forward to watching his relationship with Shawn grow, and I look forward to helping him learn the difference between real men and adult males who act like boys. I genuinely do look forward to him maturing, but for now...my little boy needs me.

I make him feel safe. And I will not take that for granted.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

cradle c"r"ap

I had written about Jude's fascination and ongoing conversations with the sign above his changing table. I thought you'd like to see how animated he is -

His little arms and legs go crazy when he's smiling at his sign.

"Oh sign, only you understand me."

Jude had his two month well check-up today! This check up included the dreaded shots, and I found myself a little anxious as we left for the appointment. He was weighed first (10 lbs, 4 oz), measured (21.5 inches), and his head circumference was measured (15 something inches, I think). Our doctor told us that Jude's in the 25th percentile for his height and weight (he's in normal range and most breastfed babies are in the lower percentiles until they start solid food).
His head, however, is in the 75th percentile. Dr. Rogers assured us that this is also absolutely normal and looks great. You have to realize, however, that Shawn has been making fun of me for my big head since we've been dating. His amusement was further fueled when he saw toddler pictures of me and realized that I've always had a rather large head. Please know that his jokes are completely out of love and that I don't take them personally - I suppose my head IS pretty roundish. That being said - Shawn has been telling Jude for weeks now that he has his mother's head. It would appear that Shawn was right! Personally, I think toddlers with large heads are adorable. :)

Jude also has something funky going on with his belly button - I think it's a herniated belly button, actually. The doctor said that's perfectly normal and that it'll end up being an innie. In the meantime, it's kind of like a thermometer...the more angry he gets the more it pokes straight out! Since it's nothing serious, it's pretty amusing to us.

I suppose I should explain why I've titled this blog Cradle Crap, huh? As of late, Jude's developed a case of cradle cap, which is just basically baby dandruff and is pretty typical in infants. Perhaps it's my lack of sleep...perhaps it's pregnancy brain still run amuck...perhaps I'm just a doofus...but I cannot seem to say "Cradle Cap." No matter how hard I try, "Cradle Crap" is what comes out! Ah well - the doctor says baby oil and baby shampoo should take care of it. ;)

At the end of the visit, the time for Jude's shots had come. I let Shawn take Jude, watch him get stuck, and comfort him - I knew I'd probably cry just as hard as Jude if I did it. We were actually pretty surprised with how well Jude did. He cried a heartbreaking cry at first, but calmed down pretty quickly! He even has adorable Garfield bandaids to prove just how brave he was.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

christmas, birthday, and new year's craziness

Thanks to all of you who are continuing to follow our journey from pregnancy to parenthood. I'm so sorry to have to move this blog from it's other location, but I desperately did not want to lose all of the posts I wrote as they contain so many memories for our family. As I was transferring all of those posts to this site, Shawn and I found ourselves fondly remembering some of the things we had completely forgotten about in our pregnancy. Seeing the positive on the pregnancy test seems like so long ago already!

Likewise, it seems as though every week since Jude's been born has flown by. I'm sorry that it's taken me awhile to update, we've had a lot going on around the Maurer house lately! So let's start with Christmas. Christmas Eve was a restful day for Shawn and I...we did our best to relax and really enjoy spending the holiday with our son. I made my Mom's world famous carmel corn, we had some egg nog, went to Pinedale's Christmas Eve service, and Shawn read "The Polar Express" to Jude for his bedtime story. After we put Jude down to sleep, Shawn and I enjoyed our carmel corn and watched "The Polar Express" together. Soon enough, we look forward to camping out in the living room to watch Christmas specials with our kid(s).

Jude getting ready for the Christmas Eve service in his cute new Christmas outfit.

...sleeping in heavenly peace

When we took his sweater off, he looked kind of like a native american warrior
Shawn reading Jude his Christmas Eve bedtime story

Shawn let me sleep in a little bit on Christmas morning and woke up to feed Jude his first morning feeding (which is usually anywhere between 6:00 and 7:00am). I woke up to feed Jude around 9:30am, we had breakfast as a family, and then it was time to get down to the present opening business! I had expected Jude to either sleep or cry through the opening of the presents, but he actually played contentedly on his Baby Einstein playmat. Shawn and I took turns opening his presents and showing them to Jude, who...to be quite honest...was a little more interested in his flashy star. Nonetheless, we had a blast opening his gifts! Jude (i.e. Shawn) especially loved his new Steelers jacket and warm up pants! It'll balance out his Bengals onsie nicely. :) Jude also got several adorable little outifts, some great toys, an umbrella stroller, a couple of very thoughtful books, a homemade hat, and several other thoughtful gifts for which we're so grateful.

Our little elf on Christmas morning.

My Christmas present to myself was getting to dress him up in this ridiculous, but oh-so-adorable Christmas day outift!

We had so much fun opening Jude's presents and can't thank our friends and family enough for thoroughly spoiling our son on his first Christmas! After we opened presents, I went for a run, and we enjoyed our sunny and warm North Carolina weather! We had dinner and then drove Jude around to look at Christmas lights (well, he slept in his carseat...but Shawn and I enjoyed the lights!).

My 27th birthday was December 30th, which seemed to sneak up on me this year. That morning, Shawn woke up early with Jude again, allowing me to get about six straight hours of sleep. Once I woke up, we went to breakfast at IHOP together, and Shawn headed into work while I enjoyed hanging out with Jude. We asked a friend from church to watch Jude for a few hours and Shawn and I enjoyed a much needed date! We had dinner at Noma, a new restaurant downtown, got some coffee, and walked around a bookstore for a little bit. I missed Jude terribly and was excited to head back home to see him, but I cannot express how refreshing it was to my heart to spend time away from being a Mom and enjoy being a Wife. I smiled and giggled and danced and bopped (yes, bopped), all of which seem like rare occurances when mixed in with diaper changes, the race to catch a few hours of sleep, dealing with screaming fits, and all of the other insanities of motherhood. After spending time alone with my sweet husband, I came home incredibly eager to see, hold, and kiss Jude!

Since we've been dating, Shawn and I typically go out for my birthday and stay in for New Year's, and this year was no exception! We enjoyed a slow paced, semi-restful night at home - watching movies and loving on our son. Jude went to bed around 9:30, but Shawn and I actually stayed up to say good-bye to 2008 and welcome 2009. So that, my friends, concludes our holiday craziness wrap up! Our holidays were especially meaningful this year, and I pray that you likewise enjoyed time with your loved ones!