Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just for Fun

When your kid smiles and laughs and does cute things constantly it is extraordinarily hard to not snap photographs. These are some of my favorites from the last two weeks.
This is what Zane looks like most of the time:
Except when he looks like this:
Or this:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cool Portrait Series

PG snapped these shots last Friday, just after returning from shooting his first movie! While on set, he was able to use all of the super-cool bells & whistles on his "big" camera and fully maximize his creativity through techniques like "temperature shooting" (instead of white-balance shooting, because flash photography is a definite no-no when the panavision cameras are rolling...). These shots are an example of temperature shooting, using only ambient light and NO FLASH! It was a harmonic convergence of PG's creativity and Zane's hambone-ness.

I'm Ready for My Close-Up, Pop!

Tummy Time

20 Things About Zane: The Seven Months Edition

Wow. That was fast. Z will officially be 7-months-old tomorrow. It seems like only a millisecond ago that we were in the hospital with our brand new son and, yet, the last seven months have been so full and rich that I'm certain we haven't missed a single thing. When we started this adventure, we didn't even know what we didn't know. Now we feel like we really know our son, and we're pretty sure he understands us, too. Here, then, are some new fun facts about Zane:
  1. He is the happiest and smiliest child I have ever known.
  2. He LOVES people. We will definitely have to talk with him about stranger danger, but PG and I are thrilled that our Z is a people person.
  3. He has many different variations of his smile: the wry smile; the crooked smile; the closed-mouth, thin-lipped smile; the grin; the "I-don't-know-yet-if-I-should-break-out-the-full-smile half smile;" and the wide-open-mouth smile (he gets that from me...)
  4. He still wears size 2 diapers, but he has started growing out of clothes.
  5. His fingernails grow faster than mine!
  6. Blowing raspberries cracks him up, especially if we mimic him.
  7. He still loves his "Peter fingers" but his feet are his favorite toys.
  8. He likes oatmeal better than rice cereal, but he is now a very good eater. His favorite foods include squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, pears, peaches, applesauce, bananas and apple/blueberry puree. He does not like prunes (but, really, who could blame him?) and he doesn't much care for green beans.
  9. Some of our nicknames for him: "baby bean", "stinker bean", "stink bug" (the proliferation of "stink" names has nothing to do with the smell of his, well, stinky diapers...), "lovebug", "little buddy", "Ziggy Zane", "Peter Z.", "little man", "punkin-head."
  10. He naps on his belly but, at night, we still put him on his back.
  11. He still likes to be loosely swaddled, but only if his arms are free.
  12. He sits upright with support.
  13. He had his first high-chair experience this week and he loved it! He sat next to me at the table and ate his lunch, just like a proper little gentleman. I was so proud!
  14. He can feed himself the little Gerber "stars"
  15. He has made a pretty smooth transition to his crib.
  16. When he naps on his belly, he pulls his knees up underneath him so that his hiney is in the air. I know that's a precursor to scooting/crawling, but he never does it during tummy time when he's awake.
  17. He takes two long naps and two catnaps a day.
  18. He has his Papa's legs.
  19. He still hasn't had a fever.
  20. He is a very content, secure and confident little baby.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What a Difference a Year Makes

Exactly one year ago today I learned I was pregnant.

I took an early lunch that day to run to Publix for goodies to celebrate my boss' birthday later that afternoon. I don't know why the supermarket was particularly crowded that day, at that time, or why I chose the Health & Beauty aisle to make a shortcut beeline to checkout. All I know is I casually -almost laughing! - tossed a home pregnancy test into my cart. "There is NO WAY I could be pregnant," I thought.

My reasoning continued: I am on birth control, for goodness' sake, and I've NEVER had a problem! Oh, and normal events have occurred, well, normally, until June; and it's not that far past the normal time for June anyway. And, I just can't be pregnant! We just got back from a 10 day, rum-soaked vacation in the Keys! Plus, anyway, wouldn't there be SOME indication? I mean, everyone I know who has been pregnant has been terribly sick, and they are tired and food either makes them nauseated or hungry, and they're pretty cranky, too.

I talked myself right out of the possibility that I could be pregnant, and I strolled to the ladies' room - again, almost laughing! - to pee on the stick. I read the directions very carefully. I peed on the stick. I put myself back together, and then I picked up the indicator stick. Two lines. Pregnant. Surely I misread the directions. Nope. Two lines. Definitely pregnant. The hyperventilation started almost immediately, and I threw up.

As soon as I could breathe, I walked back to my office, hid the indicator stick, grabbed my phone, walked out of the building, sat on the grass under a tree and started to cry. I had never felt so alone - and, yet, so connected to God - in the face of so much uncertainty.

PG was in Wisconsin for the BMW Motorcycle Owners Rally. He left five days earlier on the motorbike, to attend the rally and then rendezvous with me for a long-planned tour through northern Michigan. This is not the kind of news he ever expected to receive, and, certainly not the kind of news that should be shared via long-distance cell phone call. Still, he appreciates directness so I knew I had to tell him right away. I got his voicemail and left a message that was barely intelligible above the sobbing. When he got back in touch, PG told me he had braced himself for news of a death. He was relieved but, like me, he was flipped by the actual news.

To this day, I do not know how I managed to finish the remainder of the workday with my boss in the office all afternoon AND pull off the birthday party - all without breaking down or losing my head. But, by the time I was headed home, I was exhausted and dissolved into emotion and disbelief.

I took the second test at home, half-thinking that I had probably gotten myself all ginned up about a false positive. Same result. Two lines. Still pregnant. And thus began the new direction in our journey through life.

Today I couldn't help but reflect on July 10, 2007 and the amazing journey of the past year. As I gazed upon the unbelievable blessing that is Zane, I thought, Where there was tumult, there is now peace. The river of tears has been replaced by more laughter and smiles than either PG or I ever imagined possible. Calm has banished the anxiety of anticipation. Knowing has replaced wondering, and unchained joy and happiness have replaced the uncertainty. Our happy little family started in a tempest, and we endured the rough seas. Now we are enjoying fair winds and smooth sailing.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Crib, The Crib, Oh! The Crib

We reached a milestone last night: our little buddy slept in his crib, in his own room, all night.
Sleeping apart was a much bigger deal for me than it was for Zane. I know it's time, and a necessary step; but, I missed him. Even though I slept well, it was the first time since learning I was pregnant that my son and I were not together during the night.
I think it is common to approach parenthood determined to follow certain tenets, or to not make certain "mistakes." I know I did. During pregnancy, I had Very Definite Ideas about how to manage our baby and our sleeping arrangements. I insisted that my child would be sleeping in his own bed from Day One because co-sleeping/sleep-sharing/family beds were for airy-fairy, hippy-dippy, granola types, not highly-organized and efficient (read: control freak) people like me.
But my Very Definite Ideas changed as soon as I met Zane. Parenthood instantly became an opportunity to let go of control, act instinctively and do things in a way that made sense for us. PG and I were instantly smitten with Zane, and what made sense to both of us was to savor every second by holding him a lot, loving on him a lot, snuggling with him a lot, kissing him a lot, etc.,. The buzzword for this is "attachment parenting." We found that attachment parenting makes sense for our little family, and all three of us have thrived in that style.
Sleep-sharing became a natural extension of the attachment parenting, and it has been a positive experience for our family. As counterintuitive as it may seem, sleep-sharing allowed all three of us to sleep well.
It made middle-of-the-night nursing so much easier as neither Z nor I had to fully awaken for feeding time, and we could easily drift back into a decent stretch (3-4 hours) of restful sleep. No sleepwalking to the baby's room at the other side of the house to sit upright in a rocking chair for 40 minutes while baby nursed.
Also, when he was snuggled up next to me, I could hear him breathing and I knew he was okay. Fear of SIDS allayed, I was able to enjoy restful sleep. And Zane seemed to be comforted by the closeness of PG and me during the night. From Day One he has been a better-than-average sleeper. As a newborn he slept in long stretches between feedings and, at two months, he began sleeping for 7-8 hours straight at night. When he does awaken during the night, he will immediately settle back into sleep without crying (unless his derelict mother forgets to change his diaper after his supplemental bottle...)

During our 9-week sojourn in Tallahassee for the legislative session, Zane and I slept side-by-side every night. I first brought him into the bed with me to make sure he stayed warm enough when the temperatures in Tallahassee dipped below 30 degrees for nearly the first four weeks we were there. The co-sleeper was set up, but the only spot for it was in front of a (thin-paned) window. So the first time I felt my baby's ice-cold nose was the last time he slept in the co-sleeper. Zane slept through the night, pretty much every night, while we were in Session, so, I reasoned, if it ain't broke, why fix it?

When we returned home to Fort Myers, I confided in PG that I wasn't ready to put him in his crib. I was super attached to the closeness that sleep-sharing creates; and, fortunately for me, PG understands my attachment to our son and he, too, loves gazing at our sleeping Z and waking to smiles and coos and giggles in the morning.

But, the child is nearly seven months old and it's time. Everything we have read suggests that six months is the magic age when things start to change in infants: they begin to understand how to "communicate" to get what they want, and they begin to understand how to "play" their parents. As much as I adore the closeness of sleep-sharing, my instincts are telling me it's time to transition to independent sleeping in the crib. So far, so good. Score one for attachment parenting, maybe?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

14 Pounds, 5 Ounces

I don't know if Zane is now, officially, back on the weight chart; but I don't care. He officially weighs 14 lbs., 5 oz. He has gained 1 lb., 10 oz. since his six-month checkup.

I was pretty upset two weeks ago, but I have since discovered the silver lining: the doctor's orders to add one meal of "solids" and one supplemental bottle of formula to our daily feeding schedule has resulted in a very nice daily routine that Z seems to love. We have achieved eagerness for every spoonful of food presented, with nary a pacifier in sight; and the open mouth, happily anticipating the yummy nutritional goodness, is no longer elusive. It's like a switch was flipped on and now (dare I say it...?) he loves to eat.

He is also sleeping better. It matters not whether the restful sleep is a result of the formula itself, or if the act of drinking a bottle has become an indicator of bedtime. Whatever the reasons, Zane is a happy little kid and that makes life so much fun.