Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's not all roses and sunshine

You know how most commercials and magazines show cherubic, smiling babies and give the impression that newborns are gurgling bundles of happiness? Yeah, not always. That's why I love this family self-portrait with Ava demonstrating that her lungs work really, really well. It's funny at midday. Not so much between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's a swing thing

One of my friends from college and his wife sent us a swing for the baby. They have a 16-month old and say he loved his and still tries to climb in, even though he's getting to be a bit big for it.

Unlike most kids, the car and vibrating movements and devices don't provide instant soothing for Ava. But hopefully she'll dig this. Especially during the 2 a.m.-5 a.m. period when she gets mysteriously cranky EVERY NIGHT and nothing soothes her except one of us holding her while either standing next to the bed swaying, or bouncing up and down gently on a big exercise ball. These are the things you do in hopes of getting even one more minute of sleep with a newborn in the house.

Reclining while holding or jiggling her does not work. Neither does anything that's actually comfortable for us too. Like bouncing her on our lap or stomach in bed. Or patting her gently while she lays on her side. She's not having it. This child's internal bubble level device could apparently be used to calibrate instruments because nothing besides bouncing upright or reclining at a precise 45-degree angle will do. Egads.

Which is why on most nights for the past couple weeks at our house, you could find one bleary-eyed, partially awake parent trying to keep their butt firmly on a ball and their feet firmly on the floor, while bouncing up and down with a limp, though content, baby clutched to their chest. In the dark. At 3am. Aaah, the joys of parenthood.

So my hopes were high when the swing arrived. This is the before shot, right out of the box. About an hour later, looky, looky: a cotton candy pink contraption almost guaranteed to provide hours of soothing movement for the baby and peace for us.
And here's Ava on its inaugural run.
Seems to work great, she slept in it for a bit, and my fear that it might malfunction and fling her across the room while Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star plays eerily in background was unfounded. Gold star for some swing designer toiling away in obscurity somewhere.
Unfortunately, it only kept her happy for about 4 minutes last night at 3:30 a.m. Oh well. At least she doesn't have colic.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Craigslist rocks for expectant parents

I'm well aware that the cost of raising a child in the United States these days is roughly equivalent to the GDP of some developing nations. That's why I'm approaching the accessory needs of my pending pregancy as an exercise in frugality.

No, I'm not resorting to buying bags of "irregular" onesies out of some guy's trunk or "gently used recalled toys" in the alley behind the dollar store, but I think there are ways to avoid getting sucked into the buy or die mentality that seems to permeate this particular life chapter.
It helps to keep in mind that women in developing countries, heck, some even in this country, get by without all the accoutrements some people and the retail industry would have you believe are "essential." Wipes warmer?It's nice, but the night I forgot to plug it back in, neither the baby nor her butt seemed to notice. Plus, I can't help but think of my grandparents who raised nine kids on a farm in rural Louisiana and didn't even have running water until the grandkids came along.

Last I checked, babies really only need love, attention, milk/food, water, air, diapers, a healthy environment, and a safe, comfortable place to sleep. Everything beyond that is pretty much gravy. And minus the diapers, I think that list could cover the basic needs of most people on the planet.

So I have been more than willing to troll the pages of Craigslist and Ebay looking for local parents off-loading their lightly used baby gear for a good price to a new home. Most of the stuff is only usable for 3-4 months or 20 pound ranges anyway, so unless the gear comes from a smoke- or other nastiness-infested home, I'm open to considering it.

Which is how I happened upon the sweet deal below: a barely-used bassinet from a smoke-free home for $35 right here in my city. And once we'd agreed we wanted it, the mom, cuddling their 4 month old who'd already outgrown the bassinet, said, "Um, do you need a stroller and car seat? We got new ones from our in-laws overseas that he seems to like better." "It's also better for me," said the husband. "Because I'm tall and it has adjustable handles."

So they bring out the equally pristine car seat and stroller, which had the expected wheel wear, but was otherwise in great shape.

And here we are leaving the hospital with the new addition in the car seat. Just to be sure, I checked online and it's not the subject of a recall or defect, so we're excited to have found a genuine deal online that will help us manage our baby while also being part of the reuse/recycle effort.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Googling parenthood & like father, like daughter

Google is a godsend for new parents. Especially ones like me: an only child with very little baby care experience. Every unexplained noise, body projectile or behavior is worth a query, if only to see if we're within some online norm.

One early question was "How soon to take newborn out?" We're apparently a little outside that norm, which ranged from a few days to the more common one or two months.

Um, I've got stuff to do and I would lose my mind stuck indoors with a newborn with no reprieve for 8 weeks straight.

We've been out and about a lot already and took her to dinner when she was a week old. I figured, we're both feeling up to it, the baby's getting some immunity protection from my nursing, and everyone's healthy, so let's give it a shot. Plus, we went to a nice, quiet, nearly empty restaurant w/an out of the way plush booth, not some child-filled, germatorium fast food joint, and we both did great for a first outing: I nursed without flashing anyone and she ate without having a fit. It's a good start. She's a month old now and this is a shot of her on her first international trip: Vancouver, BC.

She's been a little cranky because she doesn't sleep as well in the car seat as she does on me or her dad, so when we stopped in West Vancouver for a snack and rest, she and her dad caught some zzz. Let me tell you: the only thing that compares to sleeping with a warm baby on your chest is swapping the baby for a warm puppy. Yes, really.

--------- Moblogged from my Treo

Baby news

Yes, long overdue for an update, but baby girl Ava made it here safely by cesearean in mid-September. Despite the semi-sleepless nights that go hand in hand with a newborn, we're head over heels in love with this little being, who already cracks us up with her expressions, noises and antics. We can't wait until she's verbal.

Her breech position doesn't seem to have caused any lasting problems, other than a tendency for her to stick her legs straight out in front sometimes, instead of keeping them pulled up in the traditional fetal position. More gushing posts, pictures and a delivery blow-by-blow to follow.

---------Moblogged from my Treo