Sunday, July 24, 2011

Two Months Old!

Asher is two months old today! We had a combination celebration on Friday night with Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Robin, and Uncle Chris, as we also had Robin and Chris's birthdays to celebrate and the 1-month anniversary of Grandpa's surgery to commemorate. Chris made a great dinner, and everyone enjoyed hanging out with Asher and seeing how interactive he is becoming.

Asher decided to spend his 2-month birthday NOT sleeping. He didn't cry all that much, considering how tired he must have been. He has just been discovering how interesting the world is and seems to fight sleep. He took a few 10-minute catnaps (what a strange term, considering that our cats are practically comatose all day and for a good part of the night), but mostly wanted to be entertained and carried around. We did take the obligatory monthly photo. I'm afraid he wasn't feeling too photogenic ;)

The last one was a busy week for us. I went back to work on Monday, and although we are all still adjusting to the new routine, things seem to be going well. On Thursday my office had a surprise baby party for me, which Asher, Daddy, and Nanny Annie attended. Everyone loved spending time with Asher, who was quite charming, smiling at all the pretty ladies. My staff chipped in to buy us a BOB jogging stroller, which is a great gift and also relieved me of the task of deciding which jogging stroller to buy (I had been weighing the pros and cons of the different brands for months).

Asher continues to grow at record pace. His last doctor's appointment was on Friday, and he weighed in at 9 lbs 8 oz, which is nearly 5 lbs above what he was when he came home from the hospital, and 21 inches. He took his first set of shots like a champ.

Our new speedbump (it seems like there's a new one every couple of weeks, doesn't it?) is reflux. A couple of weeks ago, Asher went through a phase where he shrieked in the middle of feedings and appeared to be in pain. At that point, he wasn't spitting up at all, and the episodes stopped after a few days, so we never bothered to look into it further. Then on Wednesday this week, Annie commented that he had spit up a lot that day, which surprised me. Considering how many babies Annie has cared for, the fact that she thought this was noteworthy spit-up got my attention. And she was right. Huge spit-ups. Very messy and annoying to us, though they didn't seem to bother Asher at all. Worse, the screaming during feedings has returned, which is the real problem. In the last couple of days, we have started him on Zantac, and he seems to feel better. We also are keeping his head elevated all the time, which helps keep stuff down. Unfortunately for Mommy and Daddy, one of the mainstays of therapy for reflux is frequent small feedings, which means that Asher won't be a good candidate for any sort of sleep training until the reflux resolves at around 6 months of age. So much for our plans.

Time to buy some more bibs ;)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The End of an Era

Today is a somber day, as I will be returning to work tomorrow. I know Asher will be in good hands--our nanny, Annie, has stayed with him for several days and was perfect with him and a huge help to us--but it's sad to realize that eight weeks have passed so quickly. Once I'm working, I know the weeks will fly by even faster. Since I can't stop time, I feel an impulse to preserve each moment, and it seems that there aren't enough ways to do that. We've got photos, videos, and outgrown clothes, but how do I can the way it feels to have him cuddled on my chest when he naps in his carrier while I wash bottles (or write this blog, as he is doing right now)? I guess Asher hasn't technically been a newborn for a while, but my return to work is for me a definitive transition. We are moving on to a new chapter.

The last couple of weeks with Asher have been a challenge but also wonderful at times. Two weeks ago, he entered a seriously fussy phase and spent most of the daytime hours awake and screaming if not properly entertained. In the last few days, he has reverted to his calm, good-natured self. We don't know to what we should attribute the change. Maturity? The "sensitive stomach" formula we started him on last Thursday afternoon on a whim (we had a sample gathering dust in the pantry)? I am thankful that we've had several good days recently because I know going back to work would be doubly hard if the last few days had been frustrating ones.

The one big challenge for us is that Asher still wakes to eat at least every three hours throughout the night and even more frequently starting around 3:00 AM, at which time he sometimes is completely awake, alert, and ready to start his day, sometimes not sleeping at all between 3:00 and 5:00 feedings. Crockett and I continue to search for a rotation that will allow both of us to get sufficient sleep, and it seems like we try a new routine weekly. Certainly, tomorrow will be the first real test of our current schedule.

Aside from seeing no change on the sleep front, we see other changes in Asher almost daily. Last week he seemed to be growing before our eyes; one day Crockett and I both noticed that suddenly his head seemed bigger, and with his new chub, he doesn't look a thing like the scrawny baby we brought home. He is interested in everything and wants to spend most of his waking time studying his environment. He is also showing increasing interest in other people and was very content when he and I went to a happy hour gathering on Friday. He also has become extremely vocal and "talks" to us more than he cries, which is a welcome change. Smiles are becoming more frequent as well.

As far as his likes and dislikes at this point, his dislikes are few and his quirky "likes" are many. The most notable of those is that he loves it when we blow on him with the hair dryer. We originally started using it on his bottom when he had bad diaper rash and have since found that the warm air is quite possibly his favorite thing in the world. He is not as big a fan of his swing as he once was, but now his Ergo carrier is his favorite place to hang out. I have gotten quite good at doing just about everything with the Ergo on, which can be a bit of a challenge because it blocks the view of my hands. When not in the Ergo sleeping or studying the world around him, Asher's favorite thing to do is to dance to Erasure, the Pet Shop Boys, and the other 80's pop that we find on Pandora. Much to his grandparents' dismay, gentle swaying isn't enough for Asher--he wants big movements, the bouncier the better. He provides quite the total-body workout! Asher grows and changes, I guess so does the rest of our family. Tomorrow will be a challenge, but I think we will all be better for it, and I know that the time I do spend with him from now on will be all the sweeter. It's funny--when I started this blog three months ago, I couldn't imagine not working; now that it's time to go back, it's hard to imagine what getting up and going to the office every morning will be like.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The New Normal

Asher is six weeks old today. It's a bit of a milestone, I guess. It seems like six weeks is an arbitrary cut-off for a lot of things. The one that is most on my mind right now is the end of maternity leave. I'm not returning to work for another 2 weeks, but since most of my patients have to go back at the six-week mark, my own return seems more imminent. And now that we're at this point, I'm realizing how awful it is to send women back to work when they have a six-week-old infant at home.

Asher is starting to be fun but also starting to be more of a handful. He is very interactive and curious. We spend most of his awake time walking around the house looking at things. Most of the time I'm not quite sure what he is looking at because none of it would be remotely interesting to me. The Ergo carrier is my faithful companion, as some days it is the only thing that allows me to get anything done; I pop Asher in it and go about my business, while he looks at things and eventually falls asleep. Just in the last couple of days, he also has started getting interested in faces, and he will hold eye contact for minutes. He throws out random smiles increasingly, which are the most beautiful thing ever, the way his whole face lights up and his eyes smile along. We feel like he's teasing us since we have yet to see something that we could definitively call a "social smile."

Along with his increased wakefulness and interest has also come a nasty tendency to fight sleep. Suddenly, our sweet, easy baby who never cried protests a lot more. We spent the 4th of July trying to get him to nap, which made for exhausted parents and not a very fun holiday. Apparently, this is a common challenge for parents of previously quiet, easy babies at this age. One book I read suggested that he might be old enough for the cry-it-out technique, though only for a few minutes at a time. Neither Crockett nor I has the emotional fortitude to do it quite yet, and he seems just a little too young still, so instead, we're learning new ways to get him quiet and sleepy.

But as I was saying before, a big part of my mind is looking forward to returning to work in a couple of weeks, so we're trying to figure out what our normal routine will be. I can't imagine having to jump back into work right now, considering Asher's new-found fussiness. I'm relieved to have a little time to work out the kinks.

Today Asher's nanny, Anne, came to stay with him for the morning. I had hoped to run the morning similar to what I'll have to do on work days, but the ability to sleep in a little thanks to extra help from Daddy was too tempting after an exhausting day yesterday. Anne will be back tomorrow, so we'll try again. So far, Anne is doing great. We are thrilled to have found a nanny with extensive experience with young infants, which seems a rarity. She is extremely attentive, and, most importantly, she was not at all nervous when I told her that Asher was going through a fussy phase.

Meanwhile, I used the time to go running for the first time since September. It was not a pretty sight, and I'm sure I will be horribly sore tomorrow, but it feels good to get back in the groove. I have no idea how I will squeeze exercise into my days once I go back to work, but when there's a will, there's a way.

The rest of the Marki clan also seems to be moving ahead with "normal life." We are relieved that my father's prostate surgery went smoothly and his recovery has been uneventful. He is getting bored at home and ready to head back to the office. "Grandma" is back to cooking too much food for holiday dinners, and we had excellent pulled pork last night to celebrate Independence Day. Aunt Robin and Uncle Chris are settling into married life in their new house.

So life goes on....