Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Dorian and I took a 2 hour nap together this morning...he must have realized I wasn't going to be much fun today if I didn't get some sleep.

I rewarded him with a walk around Lake Merritt and his first trip to Fairyland.
Finally, I get to hang with the big kids!
No pictures, please!
We stopped for snacks, of course.
He absolutely loved watching the other children. We have to get him in a playgroup soon - it's obviously time.
A Dori-sized house!
Happy boy!
His favorite part of the day was definitely "playing" with the wooden cows.
How do I get the milk?
At last, a nice little rest.
Reflecting on his day.

Things to consider before having a baby...

1. Think long and hard about sleep deprivation. Are you sure you can handle it 24/7 for over a year, on your own for weeks on end, and still be able to care for a baby full-time? No, really. Think about it.
2. If your partner is going to be away, be sure to have back-up. Not just grandparents who can help out an hour or so here or there. I am talking about a nanny or babysitter who can relieve you in the middle of the night or at the drop of a hat. Also, get one that is happy to clean and cook too. You can't live on energy bars and decaf coffee forever.
3. Make sure you have lots and lots money so you can afford back-up.
4. Make sure you have a car so you don't feel housebound.
5. Live within five minute's walking distance of shops and children's activity places. Trust me on this one. You may think you'll want to take a half hour walk with the baby to another area but when you're so sleep deprived you can't even keep your eyes open, you won't be able to.
6. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT give up caffeine during your pregnancy. Yeah, it reduces miscarriage risk, blah, blah, blah but if you give it up during pregnancy you can't drink it while nursing. You're going to want the energy boost when you have a little one who refuses to sleep.
7. Get your doctor to prescribe sleeping pills. When you are severely sleep deprived, you'll find you can't sleep even when you have the opportunity to. Insomnia takes hold and you're there lying in bed desperate for sleep but your ears are straining for any any sound that will keep you from getting there.
8. Get a security system in place (alarms, double locks, etc) so you can cross that worry off your list. Better yet, hire a security guard with all the money you're supposed to have.
9. Have friends within walking distance for support. And adult conversation! And people who you can vent to! This is extremely important.
10. Get a tummytuck right after childbirth. If you think you're going to have the time or energy to workout with a baby, think again. If you think you're going to be able to resist chocolate and sweets when you're sleep deprived and nursing, think again. Have a plastic surgeon on your speed dial.
11. Buy a TV and plug the kid in front of it. Ignore all those studies that say TV is bad for kids. You're going to want a couple extra hours of sleep each morning. Start training the kid to be a zombie for a few hours a day now and by the time he's 2, you'll be set.
12. Accept that your body will never look the same again. Your tummy will never return to normal. The melasma and hormone-related acne on your face are there to stay until you can afford to see a dermatologist (and until you stop nursing so you can use the treatments). The ripped hairs along your hairline and randomly all over your head, apparently due to hormone changes. The wrinkles that just all of a sudden appeared on your face. The stretch marks...let's not even go there. The permanent bags under your eyes that no amount of concealer will hide. The sagging boobs in desperate need of a lift. Just accept them. You'll feel better if you don't try to fight them.
13. Be prepared to live with constant backaches, particularly if you have a large baby. It won't go away. Drugs won't help. Stretching won't help. Yoga won't help (not that you'll find the time to do yoga anyway). Just accept you'll probably end up in a wheelchair by the time you're through carrying kids around.
14. If you think you're going to like being a stay-at-home mom, think again. Yeah, yeah, I know you all think you're going to love it but I doubt there has ever lived a stay-at-home mom who really, truly loves her job. And if one exists, don't bother commenting on this blog. I may have to kill you.
15. If you think you're going to want loads more kids after being this sleep deprived, think again.
16. Know that even when you're so sleep deprived you truly feel death is something that could happen at any second, you'll still love this little person more than you ever thought possible and wouldn't change anything for the world.

Then you'll wonder if you need your head checked out.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

He's communicating!!!

I told you we had a gifted child. Not even 9 and a half months old and he's already talking. A couple times yesterday, Dori crawled over to the door of James' music room, stood up against it, bounced up and down, pounded with his palms and said "Dadadadada." The first time I thought, "Oh, that has to be a coincidence." But the second time? And with more meaning behind the "Dadadadada?" I think Dori really does know what it means and know that when James isn't in the other part of the house, he is usually in that room!

Whenever Dori is really upset or left in his crib, he says "Mum, mum, mum." And both James and I SWEAR he has said "Hello" several times because it was used as a greeting and it sounded like "Allo." With a little British accent, the way James says it. My friend Cindy, a NICU nurse and very experienced "baby person," came over to watch Dori for a bit and said that Dori went into our non-babyproofed bathroom (which he does not normally spend time in), crawled over to the big clawfoot tub and said "Ohhhh, look!"

It's obvious when he wants something now...he kind of grunts/squeals until he gets it. When we're feeding him and he wants more, he makes the noise too. He especially makes the noise when WE'RE eating something. He always wants whatever we're eating, particularly if it's something he's not really supposed to have (cookies, ice cream, etc). Maybe it's time for us to be cutting back on those things too! :)

He really reaches out for people he wants to be with now. He adores my parents. His face lights up when they come into the room. He crawls over to my mom and pulls up on her legs in order to stand up. Dori reaches his arms up, begging to be picked up whenever my dad comes into the room. If he doesn't get picked up, he starts making similar noises to the ones he makes when we're not feeding him quickly enough. Apparently yesterday when I was gone, he screeched when my dad left the room. So cute! It's very sweet to see he has bonded with the rest of our family...for awhile there, it was all about me. While it was wonderful to be his entire world, with nursing school coming up, I'm really glad he's content to be with James and my parents too.

One last thing before I go crack on with some nursing textbook, I said "Bonk, bonk" when Dorian bumped his head on a cabinet. He said it right back..."Bonk, bonk!!!!" I kid you not. We have a little genius here, we really do. He is so close to walking too. Man, I'm glad I shacked up with James. The best genes ever!


Okay, last night was a test. And we failed. I went to help a friend out at 5pm last night. I put Dorian to bed before I left, like I normally do around 5pm. He cried, but he normally cries for about a half hour before falling to sleep. I left my parents in charge with instructions to let him cry for an hour, then go in and comfort him if he cried for more than an hour. Dorian must have sensed I was out of the house because apparently, he did cry for an hour. I returned home around 6:30pm or so and he was upstairs chilling with the grandparents. I took him back downstairs, nursed him and put him to bed and it took him another 1.25 hours to fall asleep. And then? He woke up every hour, like old times, crying. Screaming at times. There were THREE 30-45 minutes crying stints last night and loads of 5-10 minutes stints. And then he woke up at 5am, even earlier than normal, ready to start his day. Yet cranky of course.

Even though I am so exhausted I feel like I may die, I am really glad last night happened because:

1. It is confirmation that what we're doing is working (when we're consistent and home and doing everything "right," it works)
2. It proves Grandma and Grandpa wrong - yesterday, they told me they've decided his bedtime is going to be 7-7:30 (not the first time they've informed me of my son's intended bedtime) and once again, I told them "Um NO, James and I decide Dorian's bedtime!" It's always good to prove one's parents wrong. :)
3. Hopefully when other people criticize us for putting our son down so early, it won't bug me as much because I will know that what we're doing is right. You have no idea how many other parents try to tell us we're wrong that we put Dorian down at 5pm. Even though all the sleep literature says that if a little guy isn't sleeping and doesn't nap and is EXHAUSTED come 4pm, then by all means, put them to bed earlier! He goes to bed earlier, he sleeps better and later the next morning. Go figure. "Sleep begets sleep" is what one of my sleep training advocate friends keeps telling me, and that has turned into my mantra at the moment.
4. I know that I can't leave Dorian for evenings yet. My parents did nothing wrong (they did everything I asked them to), it's just that had I been home and he cried for an hour, I would have gone in, cuddled him and nursed him a bit in the dark, warm nursery and then put him back down. I had been wondering if it was time for me to go out for an evening yet, but the answer is obviously no. Good to know as well since I start school in a few weeks. I was planning on making it home for bedtime most nights, but now I will definitely make it home for all nights.

So it was a good test all around and I'm actually very thankful we did it. I just wish James was here so I could get some sleep this morning. Hopefully, Dorian will take a nap in a couple hours (yeah right, wishful thinking, I know!) so we can sleep together.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pictures for the Touring Daddy

My friend Emily came over on Saturday with her 21 month old daughter Mather. It was so sweet to see Dorian finally showing some interest in other kids. Mather kept saying "Baby, baby." Dorian walked around the coffee table at one point to get to where she was standing. He started touching her face and hair, ultimately grabbing at her, ending up losing his balance and falling on to her. She fell over too of course and they both started crying. When they realized the other one was crying, they cried louder. It was like they were trying to outcry each other. It was soooo funny. I couldn't stop laughing and must have looked like the worst mother in the world. Whenever they would stop crying for a second and one of them started up again, the other would follow. It was hilarious. For the rest of the day, Mather looked warily at him whenever he got close and said "No baby."

Mather and Dori checking each other out at the park:

Look how blonde Dorian is getting!!! Crazy. From black hair to blonde???
Silly boy.
Happy boy.
Brown-eyed boy.
A photo of Dorian and my high school best friend Anjali. We lost touch for several years and just recently rekindled our friendship. She loves Dorian (but who doesn't, right?) Doesn't Dori look like a proper little monkey here? His face, his pose...reminds me of all the little guys I saw at the zoo last week.*
Come on, Mom, not another cheesy, posed shot - let me up!!!
How many freakin' photos do we have to take today, Mom?*Sorry for the weird crop jobs and white background of these photos; they were taken on Anj's iPhone and I don't know how to make them look "normal." Where's James when you need him? 22 days and counting!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sleep Update

Dori has gifted us with an 8 hour stretch at the beginning of the night the past 4 nights! It's the 4-5 hours after that are the killers. He goes down at 5pm, wakes around 1am for milk. Then he wakes every half hour or so after that. We're still working on that part. It's hard because it gets to be evening and all of a sudden, I'm just not tired and ready to go to bed early with him. Plus, I really need some downtime after caring for Dori all day and there are all these nursing books I was hoping to get a headstart on before the program starts. So I don't go to bed until around 10 or 11. Then I wake at 1 to feed him and then have broken sleep for the next few hours. Plus, my neighbor's house got broken into Friday morning so I've been freaking out about being home alone the past couple nights. I was so exhausted this morning. Luckily, my parents took him at 7am so I could get another couple hours of sleep. We are getting somewhere though! A couple weeks ago, he didn't sleep more than 3 hours at a time (and that was unusual!) so the consistent 8 hour stretch is awesome!!! And if you're wondering why he goes down at 5pm, it's because he's exhausted come 4pm or so since he doesn't really nap. All the sleep books I have read have said to put your baby down super early if he doesn't nap. Get his nighttime sleep sorted out and eventually the naps will follow. Some days he naps for 20 minutes, other days he'll take two 2 hour naps. It's just not consistent. And we do try to keep it routine, we put him down and let him cry it out. But some days, it just doesn't happen. Still, we're definitely getting somewhere!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Helping Boy

Dorian is really into helping at the moment...

Helping Dad do sit-ups.
Helping make a mess of the kitchen...
And then cleaning it up.
Helping us find the waiter.
Helping Grandpa shop.
Helping break the mandolin.
Helping Great Grandma find my wallet.
Helping Daddy fix Great Grandma's TV.
Helping make mealtimes easier - he can feed himself now!
Most of the time.
He actually found the baby cookies himself!
And Dorian is especially happy to help where computers* are concerned....

And finally, my favorite: Helping tire Dad out!

*James had the brilliant idea to give Dorian our old laptop which is totally broken and useless...I didn't know why James hung onto it, until now. Genius. Dorian has already torn half the keys off, tried to choke on a couple, and as you can see, crawled all over the screen. He loves it though and it does keep him off ours, provided we pretend to use his first!

Birthday Bliss

I'm so lucky. I have the best family in the world. It was my 28th birthday yesterday and they went all out to make sure it was a good one. I got this gorgeous bouquet of flowers, a Dyson vacuum cleaner*, and a date with James. We went out to a bar and then on to see Sex & The City at the Parkway last week-end (so my parents could babysit). I got presents in the mail from James' family. Cuddles from my baby. Cash from my Grandma. I know I shouldn't be materialistic but you know what? I don't care. I love birthdays!
*Only I would be this excited about a vacuum cleaner, right? I'm telling you though, this thing is AMAZING - it picks up everything in like 30 seconds. And it cleans hardwood floors & ceilings too - no need to sweep or dust away the cobwebs anymore. I am in love. My family knows me so well.

Getting it?

Dori slept 9.5 hours last night, fed, then slept 2 more. He woke up 3 times crying during the long stretch but fell back asleep on his own within 5 minutes. Me? Still tired. I wake at every little noise and then it takes me ages to fall back asleep. And James left's bittersweet. Obviously, I'll miss him like crazy, especially since he has really been awesome about taking the early morning shifts and letting me sleep in. On the other hand, he does snore and that has also been contributing to my poor sleep lately. I never used to be a light sleeper, but since pregnancy and the baby, I am the lightest sleeper EVER. More today or tomorrow, including pictures!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Great night

Last night D. slept 8 hours, I fed him, then he slept 3 more. Not bad! Fingers crossed!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Dori went swimming for the first time today. Initially, he clung to me like his life depended on it (I guess technically, it did)! After a while, he grew to love it. By the end of our outing, he was splashing us and giggling in the pool. What fun! We didn't get any water shots, but plenty of sunshine and smile shots...

With Daddy.
With Mama.
End of the day.


Screaming baby. Sleeping husband. Tired, unhappy mama. I just don't get it. James leaves in 2 nights. Can I really keep this up if Dorian doesn't get with the program before then????

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bad night

Last night was horrible. I'm telling you, we have got a very resistant baby here. One good night, one bad night, one good night, one bad night, and on and on and on. This freaking sucks!!!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oakland Zoo

We went to the Oakland Zoo today. What a wonderful place for kids and adults alike! We got a year membership for $80 - it would have cost us $25 for one day so it seemed crazy not to get the 12 month membership. It includes unlimited Oakland Zoo visits for 2 adults and up to 4 children at a time, plus 50-100% off various other zoos, aquariums, kiddie museums, etc. around the country. We were also given 2 free adult passes (for the grandparents, no doubt) and $14 worth of free ride passes. Unbelievable deal - all you local parents should look into it, or better yet, come with us! We'll be spending a lot of time there over the next year. It's a beautiful park to go to, even if you decide you're bored with the animals. I don't really remember ever having gone to a zoo, though I know my parents did take me as a child. James hadn't been in 17 years. We had a great time! James' favorite animals were the giraffes. I liked the bear and the meerkats. Dorian was fascinated by the chirping birds. What a perfect family day.

Could it be working?

We've done sleep training for 6 nights now. The first 2 nights were hell. The next night was great. The night after that was hell. The last 2 have been great. 3 nights total of 10+ hours of sleep. 1 or 2 wakings in the middle but he cried himself back to sleep within 10-30 minutes. Am I allowed to be optimistic again?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What's wrong?

This is such bullshit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why does Dorian take to sleep training after a couple nights and then regress again every single time???????? He has been up every 30 minutes to hour for the past 6 hours. Screaming. I am exhausted. My husband happily snores next to me, sleeping through it all in perfect bliss. While I lie in agony listening to my baby cry his heart out. I am so freaking tired of this. I don't understand why it seems to work at first (he slept 10.5 hours straight last night!!!!!) and then goes back to how it was before, or actually, much worse than it was before. Anyone else have this experience with sleep training?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

9 months old

Ladies' Man.
Exciting viewing.
Kisses for Daddy.
More food. Now!
Piano lesson.