A blog about blogging...

I was thinking about how we've change our form of communication over the years. Think back to the pre-home PC era. Paper letters were mailed, phone calls were made and people got together in person. Then came the home PC before the Internet was all the rage. Letters were typed and printed, phone calls were made and people got together in person. Then dial-up became popular for people with computers who knew other people with computers. Emails were sent, fewer phone calls were made and people got together in person less often. Now it seems almost everyone has Internet connectivity- even my grandfather. Emails and instant messages take the place of phone calls, and frequently in-person encounters as well.

But it doesn't stop there. Look at blogs as the next evolution. Rather than send email upon email to eager friends and family about my well being, I can refer them to my blog. Here, they can catch up on whatever is on my mind. Those who know me read my blogs as if I'm talking or reading to them using their inner narrative. That inner narrative can take the place of a phone call or delay the need for a personal visit. And it's thousands of people doing this, not just me. A friend, Rachel Clark, recently started her blog to document her trip to Boston. Here, she can update all of her friends and family with the same information simultaneously.

So, has blogging replaced emails? What was once thought of as a cold, impersonal form of communication now seems warmer. At least an email sent to me is addressed to me and customized based on previous correspondance. Blogs are like newsletters about someone's life. They are easy to produce and update, but don't connect with the reader.

Daytime naps for Josh is a mixed blessing I've learned. He needs the sleep because he's a growing, developing boy. But too much sleep in the day can lead to restless nights- like now. He's WIDE awake with a dry diaper and a full stomach. Swaddling, pacifying and rocking didn't work so I resigned to the kitchen where he can stretch out in his rocker and I can do something creative.

He went to the pediatrician's yesterday morning. He handled the appointment like a champ until he got his immunization shots. During the exam he was all smiles, drooling on the table, shifting his arms and legs around, making sounds. He didn't mind having his ears checked, eyes checked, being measured. Then the mean nurse with needles came in and priccked his thigh three times. First he sort of gasped. That's always the beginning of any super cry. His face turned red, his tongue curled back and after what seemed like forever he finally let out the most horrible scream. It almost brought me to tears too. He was really hurt and couldn't understand why anyone would do this to him. Poor guy. It took me five minutes to sooth him enough to get him into his car seat.

He slept all afternoon in 2-3 hour naps. I should have napped with him, but I was busy working on invitations instead (which are done!). I see lightening to the North and know we'll be getting some rain in the early morning. I hope I can get him to sleep again soon. Maybe a light storm will keep him asleep.

It's 6AM and nobody is sleeping. It started with a simple diaper check at five. Rusty checked it, it was fine and crawled back into the warm comfort of our bed. Two minutes later, he was drawn from bed by more wailing. He checked the diaper again not knowing what else to do and ah-ha! poo had found its way into the diaper.

"I decided to wait for him to get it all out." After a reasonable wait, we checked again and proceeded to change the diaper, hoping to avoid an all out bath- which would surely keep us up. No such luck. Not only did he have more poo to offer up, he was talented enough to shoot some across the changing pad while I was grabbing a new wipe. It almost went off the pad.

He got a bath, got changed and we decided it wasn't worth going back to bed. Besides, Josh was wide awake from all the excitement. So we're up.

Of course, now as I type this, he's starting to get drowsy. His eyelids are hheeeaaaavvvvvvyyyyy. Mine are too. Ok, maybe a short nap could do me good. :)

Josh's poo is like a ticking time bomb.

It used to come everyday- in massive quantities. We used to wait for the sound. It was very distinctive from his usual farts. This sound has substance. We used to make a casual announcement about it. "Ok, it's here! I need help."

Now, for some reason, the poo comes every few days. I don't know if it will hit Sunday, Wednesday, while grocery shopping, at church, in the car, in the middle of the night, during dinner, while strolling the neighborhood, it could happen any moment now!

These days, when it does come, we avoid wasting all the baby wipes and go straight for the bath. Well, we have to wipe some, yes, but then it's straight to the bath. I've gotten good about keeping it off the change table (and walls) and just moving the whole changing pad, with baby on it, to the bathroom. Oh, and when his diaper is off, he is just as happy as can be, as if to say, "Thank God you took that off!"

I've gotten smarter to the mechanics of his pooing too. It doesn't just come out in one mountainous movement. It's several movements spaced out by half a minute or so. You can see him pushing to get the last of it out. I got pooed on once (on the hand) not realizing he was still working. Now we let him wait a little bit until we think the coast is clear. For the non-parents, infant poo is not solid. It's not pleasant in any way. This stinky, runny, dark mustard colored stuff has the ability to escape diapers, leap from tall structures, and stain anything in its path. It is a destructive force not to be reckon with. Hence, the swift and thorough removal.

Bath time, let me assure you, is Josh's favorite time. He loves to splash his legs, slap his arms, and stick out his tongue. Sometimes he even likes to pee! It's getting out that upsets him. I tell him that he will always hate getting out of the bath- for the rest of his life. That doesn't seem to help him feel any better. But at least he smells better and I know he's safe from poo for a few days.

I've been meaning to write about this topic. If you don't feel comfortable reading about intimate details of breastfeeding or about my body, stop reading... here.

Ah, I see you're either comfortable with breastfeeding topics, don't know better, or are have a perverted side. No matter. I can't stop you from reading anyway, just give ample warning.

It's something I do (did) 10-12 times a day, around the clock for the first two months of Josh's life. Now he's starting his third month and we've transitioned to every three hours or longer. A couple people have asked me how long I plan to breastfeed. I default to teething or "just feels like it's time" as my usual answer. But right now, I really enjoy breastfeeding our baby and hope to continue doing it for months to come. Most likely due to oxitocin swimming through my system during breastfeeding, I feel calm and connected (literally) to Josh. He can hear my breathing, my heartbeat, he's warmed by my body, and I can inspect this tiny body with great detail. For example, I've taken to clipping his nails when he feeds. It's one of the rare times he's still enough (usually still) that I can get deep under his nail without cutting into his skin. For those who don't know, clipping your baby's nails is important if you don't want him or her to scratch their face. Josh has even drawn blood from scratching his nose and forehead.

But breastfeeding isn't all glory. There are some complicated issues that go with it. Ok, I probably make it complicated. :) Pumping is one complication. To keep an abundant milk supply, I pump excess milk out and save it for later. Originally I was saving it to return to work, but that's not an issue now. Instead, it will come in handy for babysitters, mini vacations and those days where I'm sick or just can't feed him myself. To put it bluntly, I am a voracious source of milk. I seem to produce far more than Josh will ever need in a day. Just today, I pumped out 5.5 ounces without depleting either boob. When he wakes up from his nap, he'll have plenty of milk. Then there's all the little bags of frozen milk in the freezer. I'm almost out of top shelf freezer space.

Rusty & I went to Best Buy last week to buy a new dishwasher. Yes, our new Siemens washer totally rocks! It's so quiet and sleek looking. Anyway, we saw a deep freezer next to a keg pump/cooler. Of course, Rusty was all about the keg cooler. I was checking out the deep freezer thinking- "Dang, I could fit a year's supply of milk in that thing!" We're not getting another freezer, so I need to get creative in how to make it fit into our existing side-by-side fridge/freezer.

Ok, there's also the time it takes to pump. Well, time and "timing". I can't pump everything out before he eats so usually I pump after he gets his fill. Which means most of the bags are high in hind milk (the really good stuff full of fat and nutrients behind the initial milk), with the exception of a few bags. That would include earlier today where I have so much milk that even after pumping out 5.5 ounces, there's easily 4 ounces left between within the breasts. In the case where I'm engorged and overflowing with milk, I'll pump a little before his feeding. That's the timing issue. The time it takes usually varies depending on whether I need to clean the pump and how much attention Josh needs from me. They have these hands-free techniques of pumping that are a bit scary, but amusing and slightly tempting. There's the shirt with two pumps in front (talk about a distraction at a business meeting) and there's the back-pack. Both inventions, appealing as they are, give me more of a laugh than a solution. I would be utterly embarrassed (get it?) to wear a pumping shirt. But the idea to not be confined to my seat for 10-15 minutes is appealing.

Last gripe about breastfeeding is the mess. The stuff is sticky and when it comes back up from Josh's stomach (he has reflux like almost all babies) it has a consistency anywhere from running to chunky. I suspect the chunky stuff has been digested a bit more. And when he spits up, it goes anywhere from just a little dribble to full force projectile. I'm waiting for the day he turns to me and barfs on my face or neck. I learned the hard way- wait, this is gross, if you're squeamish, skip to the next paragraph- I learned the hard way that if I don't clean the rocking chairs often, milk turns to a hard crust that has to be scrubbed off. Which I did this weekend and plan to maintain the chairs more often.

One great benefit to all this milk is my new girth. I got cleavage- yeah baby!! I'm loving how my new bigger boobs look on me. But it also limits my wardrobe. Most of my shirts are too tight for comfort. But that's ok. I'll take these minor set backs. I still enjoy breastfeeding.

Here's a twist to maternity leave- my company dumped our group. Friday morning, the three managers over our group met with my two colleagues and announced that "Things just aren't working out." They gave us a 90-day window to look for new employment and to wrap things up with our existing business. We can even look internally for a position with Penson if we want.

Now I get to decide what I want to do. :)

When I first got the news, I felt relieved. I'd been secretly hoping to stay home with Josh until he's at least six months old. Maybe longer if I add the holidays and job searching to the timing.

It's nice to have the weekends. The extra two hands are appreciated to give me a break so I can sleep, eat and do stuff. We started today at 7:30am with a stroll to the donut shop down the road for breakfast (we got sausage rolls). After Josh's 9:30 feeding, he fell asleep and I took the opportunity to get some rest as well. I was hoping for at least two hours of sleep.

Uh- no.

An hour later I was woken up by Rusty saying "May Day! May Day!" That meant Josh had finally pooed. It had two days since his last major poo and ythis was causing discomfort for the whole house. We whisked him to the bath and promptly washed a load of laundry. I tried to get him to sleep again after the bath, but I had no such luck. I never do.

Now that I've given up on getting a nap, he's sleeping peacefully in his rocker.

For some reason, I am cursed. Somehow I manage to get Josh to fall asleep on my shoulder, in my lap, on my chest, but as soon as I lay him down, he's awake. I've tried every trick. The rocking while laying down, the hand on the head for a moment longer, swaddling, pacifier, gentle movements. Usually these tactics don't work- or they work only for 15 minutes tops. To ensure he gets a good hour long nap, I either committ myself to holding him, driving around town on an errand, or just waiting until he's tired enough that eventually he takes to a nap.

Here's what bugs me. Rusty is a pro at putting him to sleep. He doesn't even try hard. A friend of mine also has a gift for putting him out cold just by holding him. You'd think I'd have it down pat by now since I'm with him day in and day out. Apparently I don't have the touch.

And right now? He's swaying to and fro in his swing all bundled up- mocking me with his wide blue eyes.

A few moments to myself while Josh naps in his rocker.

I've realized that sleep is currency when caring for a newborn/infant. I am so tired right now, it would probably take me no more than five minutes to fall asleep. However, while the baby sleeps, I have to decide what's important: sleeping, eating, or doing other things like showering, cleaning up from a previous mess, or chores. Afterall, the diaper bin won't empty itself and wind up in the alley. To forgo the ever coveted act of sleep is no light choice. Like the comedian Jeff Foxworthy, "You know you're sleep deprived when..." So why the heck am I typing away here instead of sleeping? Because I can multitask! Lunch plus mental therapy equals a healthier me. Perhaps I'll skip an afternoon show for a nap later on.

Yesterday was exhausting. Our washer broke last week leaving us with the choice of doing laundry in the sink or borrowing a friend's. I went to a friend's home to do a couple loads (Thank you again Matty) and took Josh with me. First of all, their apartment was on the third floor- which is not bad unless you're toting laundry, baby, and are already tired. Josh went from sleeping to happy, cranky, hungry, wet, happy, cranky, then finally sleepy again. Prior to having a baby, these emotions would pan an entire day for me whereas he seems to flash through them like shuffling a deck of cards. I didn't wait for my clothes to dry entirely because I got impatient. This did not help me going down the stairs. My already sore knees where in screaming pain on the way down from carrying a heavy, damp load of laundry. It felt like 80 lbs. Then I couldn't find the other apartment Matt was having dinner at in order to return his key. I climbed two, three story flights before I caught up with him. And wouldn't you know, our precious sleeping baby was just fine in the car almost all the way home. At the last intersection, he woke up and promptly began complaining about a wet diaper. No rest.

Rusty felt bad for me seeing I was mentally and physically drained. But there's one can do. When the baby is hungry, he must be fed. So I stayed up for two feedings until Josh was finally asleep for three hours at 11pm.

Today isn't so bad though I haven't caugfht up on sleep yet. I ventured out in the rain to get an exercise ball and hoping to put Josh in a happier place from a car ride. Now that he's finally down and I'm fed, I guess this is my cue to take a few moments to rest.

While thinking about a title for this blog, I realized how much blue there is around me: blue house, blue car, blue shirts, blue and grey tennis shoes, blue carpet in the bedroom, two blue bathrooms, blue clothes, etc. And now that we have a baby boy in the house, there is blue stuff everywhere- from blankets to seat covers, even my Boppy.

It would be cliche to go on about how much having a baby changes your life. Anyone with half a brain should know that the previous happy couple can no longer stay out late being irresponsible with their friends or go to a party 300 miles away on the spur of the moment with nothing more than the clothes you're wearing, some booze and a blanket.

My husband & I have tried in vain to retain as much "pre-baby" normalcy as possible. For starters, we still flirt with each other. We've managed to con our relatives into watching our baby while we go to the movies. We've taken him disc golfing, shopping, to church and even to see fireworks in the park with friends for the Fourth of July. Yes, we even took him to a pub. For the record, we sat on the patio and went in the daytime before things got busy.

But to pretend that nothing major has changed since late May would be a lie to ourselves and you- the reader. Hence, I've decided to start a journal of how I'm dealing with this blue bundle of change.



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