Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hippie tendencies: an assessment.

I suppose the moral of this post (and also the best advice I'd give anyone about to have a tiny squalling baby) is this: don't get too set on anything.

I'm no longer capable of writing a post without pictures. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I've never considered myself to be a hippie. Quite the opposite, actually - I was terribly proud of my non-tree-hugging, non-granola-crunching, non-hemp-wearing, dreadlock-hating, flesh-eating, electric-guitar-preferring conservatism. Alas, something flipped when I got knocked up, and I suddenly found myself lurking on natural childbirth forums and perusing cloth diaper selections. Here, then, is a review of how all my newfound hippie tendencies turned out.

Jim prefers Slayer to Bob Marley (or whomever it is that hippies listen to these days).

Natural Childbirth: Well, we all know how that one turned out... Unless you don't know, in which case make some popcorn and go here. Still, I had a good 30+ hours of laboring naturally (holy crap, I say), which I think was pretty beneficial to him. Assuming there are no issues (head position, say, or umbilical cord nooses) with future babies, I'd really like to try it naturally again. Call me insane, but I'd really like to try a home-birth with a midwife, if we can get Tricare to cooperate.

Breastfeeding: Going beautifully and I will probably continue to breastfeed for about fifteen years so I don't have to screw around with making food and trying to shovel it into his heartily-objecting face.

Drooling and vacant.

Cloth Diapers: Much easier than expected. They're not much more time-consuming than disposables to put on, they leak less (he hasn't soaked a onesie [er, with pee or poop, anyway - vomit is another matter] since we switched over), they are actually not a pain in the ass to wash, and they're freaking adorable. Also they make him adorably pear-shaped, which amuses me immensely.

Co-sleeping: We were actually quite opposed to co-sleeping initially. It was our line in the hippie sand. Drug-free childbirth and human milk were all well and good, but co-sleeping? No, that's for crazy hippies, and that, my friends, we most definitely are NOT. ...alas, Jim winds up sleeping on my chest in bed for at least a couple hours more nights than not. He's got the maddening habit of falling asleep during the midnight nursing and waking up the second he's moved to his own bed. Solution? Just leave him on me so we can all get some damned sleep. Don't judge, folks.

This is Jim taunting us by pretending to be tired when, in fact, he is not.

Baby-wearing: I had no intention of wearing him everywhere, and I do not now wear him everywhere, so I actually managed to predict one correctly. Huzzah! We do have several carriers, though - a Snugli (but we can't find one of the straps), an Ergo (awesome, but baby-scaldingly hot in this weather), and the ring sling I posted a couple days ago (from Sleeping Baby Productions, whom I soundly endorse). They're mostly limited to use on walks (short ones around the neighborhood and the occasional longer one in the woods), but they have the excellent effect of not only transporting the kid but also knocking him out within five minutes of putting him in. He hasn't had any crying jags yet, but in the event that he does and it's not solvable by boobs, I'll probably wind up sticking him in the sling and walking in circles until he's properly comatose.

Elimination communication: I actually know nothing about this and have no intention of learning.* I just put it in because it sounds fancy.

Homeschooling, homemade baby food, baby sign language, and other later hippie developments: We're planning on doing all of these things, but none of them are necessary now, so we'll see what happens. Before you know it we'll probably be wearing those little round glasses and appropriating indigenous cultures to make ourselves feel earthy.

Us in five years, after Noah gets kicked out of the Navy for excessive sideburns.

*That's what I would've said a year ago about natural birth, cloth diapers, and babywearing, though, so maybe don't take me overly seriously.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guess who was a full month old yesterday.

Next thing you know he'll be going off to college.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mr. Jim Goes for a Walk

So, as mentioned previously, we went for a good long hike Saturday on one of the trails on base. We were a smidge hesitant to make a long excursion because, you know, BABBY, but we opted to give it a shot anyway. One can't spend every day on the couch covered in milk (both fresh and used). So, we suited him up in his extremely adorable sun hat (still too big for his teeny head, but it works), packed up some water and spare diapers, and off we went.

Aforementioned adorable sun hat.

I was particularly excited about the hike because it meant I could try out the new ring sling. It worked out quite well. Wedging him into it was a bit of an adventure, but once he was there he fell promptly asleep and made no fuss whatsoever for the entire walk. It was pretty comfortable for me, too - only a little twinge in the lower back toward the end of the hike, and no problem at all in the shoulder it was hanging over.

Also, it is purple.

Babies apparently love being tightly encased in fabric prisons.

One of the best things about this trail is all the cool obstacles and exercise stations along it. Sometimes the instructions (given by signs with crude and occasionally unfathomable illustrations) are a bit vague, but that only makes the exercises more entertaining to attempt. Or to watch Noah attempt, as the case may be.

Noah was delighted, naturally, by the chance to do elevated push-ups with a heavy backpack.

The terrain in Georgia remains oddly home-like and alien at the same time. The high ground is dry and filled with red dirt and pine trees and cacti, while the low areas are damp and infested with bamboo and weird-sounding birds. It's weirdly tropical in bits.

Noah would not be stopped from taking pictures from (and of) the rear.

All in all, it was extremely satisfactory and will hopefully be repeated often (especially once Jim can carry his own weight). Maybe we can raise him to be a relatively outdoorsy geek instead of the pasty sedentary kind.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Jim's best friend.

Not enthusiastic about the bouncy chair at the moment.

Valiantly attempting escape.


Succombing to sleep.

Close-up version, to maximize cuteness.

Sound asleep, complete with worrying neck angles.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Week the Fourth.

Looking a tad ambivalent, no?

So, here is Jim, four weeks old and beginning to dwarf the bear. I have no idea how much he weighs now, but I'd be very surprised if it's much less than ten pounds. It'd better not be much less than ten, anyway, given how much the little *redacted* eats.

He's actually not as massive as the picture makes it seem. I just accidentally took it vertically and had to zoom in overly close to crop it to the right aspect ratio. Ah, the trials and tribulations of a slightly anal collage-compiler...

Events of note this week:

  • He smiles now! He's rather miserly with the grins, to be sure, but they do exist and they're not just gas. I've been suspecting it for a while, but he confirmed it Wednesday when Noah was making faces and tickling him. Ever since then we've been embarrassing ourselves regularly with ridiculous faces and absurd voices on the off chance that Jim will deign to show amusement. Maybe one time in twenty he'll respond with "Fine, okay, :D. But don't get used to it." I haven't succeeded in getting a picture of a Jim-smile yet, but rest assured it's the most adorable open-mouthed gummy thing ever.
  • We took Jim on a nice long hike today (the same trail on which I crippled myself a week or two before going into labor), and he was not at all a pain in the ass. I got to try out the new ring sling, Noah brought some water (very necessary - Georgia is hotter than the sun) and spare diapers (unnecessary - he slept the whole time), and a good time was had by all.

Super-awesome hiking preview picture! Aren't you excited to see the rest?

  • Not much else! Uh... we learned a new breastfeeding position and it's my new best friend (side-lying, for the curious)? He continues to have a vocabulary consisting entirely of "Eh!" but shows signs of possibly learning "Ooh!" soon? His cheeks grow chubbier by the day? Really, not much else to report. Have patience.

Extra-special bonus picture!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Jim's current preferred sleeping position - arms up, blanket loose. Can't remember the last time we had him swaddled.

For the record, last night was amazing.* Jim slept solidly from 9pm until 3am. That's the longest I've gone without feeding him since he was born. It's also the longest I've slept since probably December. Sure, I woke up sore in a puddle of milk, but it was worth it.

This is what Jim looks like when he sneezes. Just so we're all clear on that.

Also, Noah is now back to work, as of today. *sob* It's okay, though. Jim likes seeing him in uniform. Actually, Jim doesn't give a damn, since he can't see more than about a foot in front of his face yet, but I like projecting my own opinions onto the baby.

*"Last night was amazing" now has an entirely different meaning than it used to.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tummy time.

Uncertain what to make of this whole thing.

Tummy time is one of those things that you're apparently supposed to do now so that your child doesn't wind up languishing in a home for the infirm by the time he's 12. Apparently all that is required is to put the kid on his stomach and then mock him for several minutes while he tries in vain to remedy the situation. That's our approach to it, anyway.

He can lift his head, but he's not happy about it.

Jim is pretty cute about it, for the first few minutes at least. He kicks his feet like a crazed kangaroo rat (do they actually kick their feet? I assume yes) and tries to do little mini-pushups while making strenuous noises (eh! eh! EHH!). Eventually it all becomes infuriating to him and he squawks once or twice, at which point we take pity on him and give him what he wants.*

He also likes to lift his rear half completely off the ground like he's playing wheelbarrow with an invisible partner.

Sometimes, of course, he refuses to cooperate and instead just lies there and sucks on his fingers while we try to incite him to exercise.

Please note the following: A.) Jim's hand position. He won't throw up the horns, but he's very good at giving the finger. B.) Noah's freakishly weird feet. Alas, I think Jim has inherited his creepy toes.

Grabbing fistfuls of blanket and refusing to relinquish it is also popular.

Should the fingers prove to be insufficiently tasty, receiving blankets make an acceptable substitute.

*What he wants, of course, is boobs.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Super awesome bonding time.

This position can only be held for so long, because both Noah and James are like people-shaped infernos and their continued close proximity would probably take Georgia out in a fiery apocalypse.


Lessons in the intricacies of normal human interaction.

Jim learns his lessons well. (note: Noah is, in fact, wearing clothes. It's just too damned hot here some days for the menfolk to wear anything other than boxers/diapers unless legally required.)

Getting swung around. There was no collision with the camera, whatever you may think.

Obligatory cute face.

Jim and ME, just for variety.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Someone find me a witty title for three weeks update.

Look how enthralled he is by the proceedings.

For comparison's sake. Top: Week 1, Week 2. Bottom: Week 3, Ghost of Christmas Future.

His face looks completely different in every picture, no? He's like a creepy shape-shifter baby.

Things of note this week:

  • He's getting pretty good at holding his head up. He can generally hold it reasonably upright while being held against one of us. Then, of course, he inevitably miscalculates the weight of his enormous head and faceplants into whomever is holding him (or, slightly more alarmingly, tips over backwards). Still, it's something, yes?
  • He can also focus his eyes on faces this week and follow a face across his field of vision with his eyes. This is much more impressive than one would think - previously he was limited to viewing whatever his randomly-roving eyes chanced to land on.
  • He's big enough to fit into his cloth diapers! Yay! They're absolutely enormous, though, and he looks even more absurd than usual.


  • As evidenced by that last picture, he's also getting really chubby. He's got several chins, and huge cheeks, and a huge potbelly (although that's half-hidden by the gargantuan diaper)
  • I think he's at the tail-end of a growth spurt. He had a few days of nonstop eating interspersed with some fussiness, and now he's sleeping constantly and waking only to slurp up some milk before passing out again. At least I hope this means growth spurt - I need an explanation for the eat-eat-fuss-eat days so that I can tell myself it won't be like that every day.

Milk coma. Note drip on lower side of lips. He always winds up slopping milk all over the place.

Aaaand that's the state of affairs for this week.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Just a couple random pictures.

Look at those (relatively) massive thighs! He can kick himself across the bed (slowly, granted) and hold himself semi-upright when propped against someone's chest.

D'awwwwww! (note new chin addition - Jim's getting super chubby)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Babies are gross.

Yes, gross, I told you.

I've been surprised to find myself not grossed out at all by most baby things - breastmilk poop doesn't smell like anything and isn't actually much like poop in general, drool is relatively inoffensive, spit-up is pretty much completely undigested milk, etc. This pleasant lack of disgustedness has been aided by Jim's apparent proclivity for saving the grosser aspects of being a baby for Noah.

That picture above? Biggest spit-up ever. He has occasionally spit up on me, but it's only a dribble and not often. The big ones always wind up on Noah. Peeing on the changing table? Hasn't happened to me once; happens to Noah practically daily. Pooping on the changing table? Did it once to me, and only a little bit. Does it to Noah probably 30% of the time, and sometimes quite extensively.

Jim's second bath came about precisely because of one of those events, actually. No sooner had Noah removed his diaper than Jim began to evacuate from all orifices simultaneously (well, okay, fine - two orifices). I was in the other room, so all I heard was his panicked voice. "Paper towels, woman! I NEED PAPER TOWELS!" Upon my curious entry into the nursery, all I saw was Noah holding a cheerfully-dripping Jim a foot above the changing table, which had been cleverly transformed into a swamp of urine and mustard-yellow baby poop.

It actually took surprisingly little time to clean things up. A couple of paper towels took care of the mess in the changing table, and Jim didn't even squall too much while Noah scrubbed the pee out of his hair (provided I kept him amply provided with fingers to nom on). Still, I remain duly grateful that these treats are generally saved for times when Noah is taking care of things, rather than when I'm home alone.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Second verse, same as the first.

Actually, not quite the same as the first. For one thing, no one got cut open this week, plus his cheeks are significantly chubbier now.

He looks so much huger than last week, but I believe that's just because Noah has convinced him to sit up straight. Ish.

Last week: gang signs. This week: bewilderment.

Things that Jim has done this week:

  • Makes hilarious strenuous noises when baby-birding and during tummy time (which, incidentally, he is very good at). "EH! EH!!"
  • First walk! We took a walk around the neighborhood on Wednesday. He was fussy beforehand, but the combination of close body contact and movement knocked him right out. We were kind of paranoid the whole time because it was hot out, but he didn't seem to mind.

Tuckered out after the walk, even though he didn't have to exert himself at all. Lazy baby.

Close-up of sweaty hair on the side that was pressed into Noah's chest. Note hilarious male-pattern-baldness.

  • Has taken to sleeping with some regularity during the night. Note that this does NOT mean sleeping through the night. Previously his night habits were very unpredictable and generally included at least one burst of refusing to sleep for a couple hours. Now he sleeps in two-hour stretches through the night with half-hour nursing binges in between, and he's even willing to sleep in his own bed instead of waking up the moment he is removed from my chest (assuming, of course, that I don't fall asleep before he's done eating, in which case he sleeps on me for a couple hours before waking us up for more snacks). It's an improvement, I say.
  • Had his first bath, post-walk. He wasn't a fan.

We tried a number of bath methods and finally settled on tub-on-kitchen-table, for less back pain. Next time I may try bath-chair-in-sink, for easier clean-up.

  • Also had second bath on Friday after he peed on his own head while being changed. He didn't like that one much either.
  • Attended Noah's graduation from training. He might suck at sleeping during the night, but he's very good about passing out in public places. He was much admired by all the scary uniformed folk. Jim and I were two out of precisely seven non-military attendees - most of the other graduation people had no families (or at least no families in the area). Don't know about Jim, but I felt terribly conspicuous.
  • Was a glutton. He had his second visit with the pediatrician yesterday, and he now weighs 8lb 4oz. That's a gain of 1lb 3.5oz in one week, which is apparently triple the normal rate of weight gain for breastfed newborns. The doctor was once more duly impressed.