Wednesday, May 30, 2007

River News: Month Two

My Little River Biver Butt,

Boy, what a month! It seems like you've grown exponentially--both physically and mentally. You're out of your newborn clothes and into the 3 and 6 month sizes. Combine that with your great muscle strength and I keep telling your father you're going to be a linebacker. I can just see you at three years old, towering over me and bossing me around. "Hey, puny mommy--give me some cookies!"

Your neck is so strong now I almost never have to support your head, and you love to practice standing on your strong little legs. Your expression during these sessions seems to say, "Holy crap! Look at what I'm doing! Can you believe how awesome I am?!" Yes, my darling, you are super awesome.

You've started to discover your hands and almost have the ability to get them into your mouth where you want them. Between the breast, my finger, and the pacifier you have such a high sucking need, I'll be really glad when you can do a bit of self-soothing. It will mean fewer interruptions during your naps and better sleep for all of us.

The greatest physical milestone, I think, is that you've learned to roll on your side. It's really the beginning of the end. Soon you'll roll all the way over, then you'll be able to crawl, and finally walk. Before I know it you'll be driving around town and heading off to college. Then I'll only get to see you on holidays and that random weekend you come home to do your laundry and oh my gosh why don't you ever call your mother?!

I suppose I have a little while before I have to worry about that. Right now, I am your whole world (okay, your daddy is in there too).

My favorite part of the day is when we first wake up; I lift up your pudgy, warm, limp little body and breathe in your beautiful baby smell and feel you curl up against me. Then, when I get ready to feed you--oh wow that's the boob and I'm going to eat!--you light up with the most beautiful smile and everything is perfect. Eating is great fun for you, but it can also be a bit perilous. One day when I was very full after a long night you were nursing and slipped off my breast while my attention was elsewhere. When I looked down, there was a fountain of milk shooting straight into your eye! Projectile milk: it's my new superpower!

Mornings are really great. You're awake and happy to greet the world and so excited to discover new things. I broke down and bought a big bright activity mat that you play on, and I have mixed feelings about the fact that you love it so much. How can I be a good hippy mommy and a consumer of baby crap at the same time? I'm trying to keep the loud, plastic toys to a minimum, but here you are smiling and dancing at the blinking, singing star. Well, if it makes you happy...

Honestly, the toys we've bought or have been given are only a small fraction of what you're discovering. You love to explore faces and smile and coo at the funny ones your daddy and I make.

(And you make your own fare share of funny faces too.) You like picture frames and windows and clothing with patterns on it. You love the canopy over our bed and the pretty dangly chandelier.

Christine or your auntie Crystal come over to help me a couple hours a day, so I can shower or shop or do some laundry. We take long walks--around the river or to the park--and you usually nap through them. The stroller is like an instant sleep machine, so I get some quiet time and good exercise. I'm starting to feel like my old self, though not entirely healed. I'm thrilled to get back into yoga, and I take a couple classes a week. We even did a Mommy and Me Class which you really enjoyed.

It's a slow process, but I'm feeling some of my independence return. Weekends are really nice because we have your daddy around.

This month I've pampered myself with a mani/pedi and clothes shopping and your dad and I have even gone out for a couple movies. When I take care of me I'm a better, more patient mommy for you.

Evenings are the hardest part of the day for you. By the time your dad comes home you've had a long, stimulating day and you're tired but don't want to sleep. You fuss for a while, but finally we can get you down around eight or nine. Sometimes your daddy draws a nice bath for the two of you to share, to help wind you down, and you just love the water. You float and splash and smile for the longest time. You seem so relaxed in the water and I always think about the amazing way you came into the world.

By the end of the day I am very tired often spend the last hour alone watching TV or surfing the web while you and daddy sleep. I need that time to decompress and just be alone with my thoughts. When I do crawl into bed I find that I've really missed you, and I just stare at your face in the dimmed room and thank the universe for the wonderful life I have.

River, you are the best thing I have ever done. Thank you for choosing me as your mommy and letting me share your world as you grow.

I love you,

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

my new 'do pt. 2

It's been about ten years since the last time I chopped off all my long hair, and I'd say it was about time. For nearly a year my hair has seen nary a blow dryer or styling product and has been sadly and severely tied back in a ponytail. Limp, straggly, and neglected, it was longing for a change.

Since I no longer had the time or desire make my long hair look presentable I decided that I would find a style that would be easy, cute, and above all, low maintenance.

I also thought that since my acting career is on hold for a while I have no need to be as conservative with my style as I have been for so many years. You can't see it well in these pictures, but I had my stylist put in a few panels of purple dye in the lower layers of my hair. I can't wait to go to the park and be the mom with the purple hair.

Blow drying time is cut down from twenty to five minutes, but I don't even have to do that to make it look decent. If I let it air dry, it gets these cute waves and still looks fine:

All in all I have to say I'm thrilled with the cut and very happy about my decision.

(Bonus, I had enough length to donate to Locks of Love, so my hair will go to someone who really needs it.)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Monday, May 21, 2007

this book has saved my life

Okay, that's a little dramatic. If not having actually saved my life, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg has certainly made living with an infant much more delightful.

Thom and I stumbled upon this book about two weeks ago and I can't tell you what a difference it's made. River is happier than he's ever been--sleeping, eating, and playing with little or no drama--and Thom and I are more rested, less stressed, and truly able to delight in our little munchkin.

The key has been the routine suggested by Ms. Hogg. During the daytime hours River follows a ritual of eating, playing, and sleeping (with nap time lending mom and dad a few hours for themselves). Each cycle lasts about three hours then repeats. The idea is to give both River and us adults a familiar routine so that he gets comfortable always knowing what comes next and we learn how to interpret his various cues much more effectively.

And it's really working. River has so many fewer meltdowns, we're getting some solid sleep at night, and we're really getting to enjoy our time with him. We can tell the "hungry" cry from the "wet" cry from the "tired" cry. We know how much activity he can stand before he gets overstimulated, and because I'm not always rushing in with food to pacify him, my boobs get a break.

Also, because we know what to expect over any given three hour period I can effectively plan a day--taking a shower or running an errand when River's napping--rather than frantically waiting for a quiet moment to do these things, worrying that I will have to drop what I'm doing to feed or rock him.

After two weeks I'm starting to feel like a human being again--someone with my own thoughts and desires--rather than just a walking boob or mommy machine. We still have our moments, and life is not totally cake, but I'm so happy right now and so thankful for my wonderful little boy.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

on time and funny faces

I'm tired.

Nothing extraordinary happened today. River was cute and wonderful and fussy as usual. He's still having trouble getting through a whole two hour nap without waking which makes my "free time" choppy and short.

I think it's just difficult not having transitions anymore. When I think of blocks of "time" like mornings, evenings, holidays, weekends, all falls under the greater umbrella of "River time." No moment is independent of another because I'm always concerned with caring for him. Does that make sense?

I used to have days that were broken up, parceled out for different activities and purposes, and I still do those activities, but none of them takes focus. The focus is always River.

Anyway, I didn't really intend to write today, I just had some pictures I wanted to put up. So here you are:

We're trying out the new sling. We both love it, but it's given him a heat rash on his face from sleeping against my chest. Too bad since he sleeps better there than anywhere else.

I like that we look like two disembodied heads.

Here's one of the Pookerton "going bananas." He looks wild and crazy, doesn't he? Hey, River, stop monkeying around!

My god, I'm tired.

Finally, here's one that demonstrates how much River looks like his dad.

Funny faces obviously run in the family.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

I hope all the mothers in my life had a fantastic Mother's Day. My day was wonderful. River woke up in a very good mood, and we spent the morning with his daddy eating and napping and talking to the grandmothers.

In the afternoon Thom and I walked to the yoga studio where I had done my prenatal classes and introduced River to my teacher. She was thrilled to meet him and held and rocked him for a long time. Then I took her Intermediate Flow class while Thom and River went home. The class completely kicked my ass. I haven't used quite a few of those muscles in months and I am really feeling it today.

After class Thom picked me up for our official Mother's Day Date. It was our first night away from the pookerton, and I was almost as excited about being with my husband as I was nervous about leaving my little man.

We kept it simple--dinner at Changs and a movie (Hot Fuzz)--and I consider it a great success. As is to be expected, we talked about the baby the whole night and we made a few phone calls home to check on him. Still, having our mind on our baby all night was much less draining than taking care of our baby all night.

Uncle Kevin and Auntie Crystal had the honors of babysitting and they did a fantastic job. We came home to find River still had all his limbs and no major mental trauma. Good job!

Actually, they gave me the best Mother's Day gift of all:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Today I accomplished something tremendous. I spent an entire hour--count 'em, sixty whole minutes--out of the house doing an activity just for me. I didn't do anything for the baby, the house, my husband, or my family--just me.

What was this very special occasion? My first postpartum yoga class!

It was fantastic to leave--even for a short time--and get some much needed refocusing for my brain and body. The class was nice and gentle, though still quite a challenge for me (I have absolutely no abdominal muscle tone), and the teacher was good, if a little pedantic.

And now I'm home with my beautiful pudgy baby, and I'm ready to handle whatever the little pooker throws at me.

Monday, May 07, 2007

pic fix

Stadium voice:

This one goes out to all the grandmas out there! Rock on, baby!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

to sleep, perchance to dream

Having complained every night since we had River that our mattress is a complete piece of %&!# and desperately needs replacing, Thom finally decided he was tired of hearing my whining. Either that or he was afraid I would resort to sleeping in someone else's bed, because yesterday he broke down and ordered a new mattress.

This is a wonderful thing.

When you find yourself sleeping with an infant it is no longer acceptable to have a bed that sinks right into the middle (a nice feature that encourages snuggling when there's just two of you), or which translates every twitch and wiggle into a wave of vibration, or which squeaks and groans with the slightest shifting of position. None of these features of our ancient bed encourages sleep in a touchy infant or his sleep-deprived parents.

So I was overjoyed when the nice delivery men showed up at my door today bearing what is to me more valuable than diamonds or gold: our beautiful new bed.

I was less than overjoyed when they told me they could not fit the accompanying box spring up our tight stairway and would have to send out a split box later in the day. It was fine that our full delivery would be somewhat delayed; what concerned me was the removal of our current box spring--which I soon recalled required being pulled over the rail of our third story balcony by three burly movers when we first moved in.

I left the problem to my husband when he returned from work. With rope in hand and his brother trailing behind, I watched them mount the stairs to solve the box spring dilemma.

Five minutes later I heard a loud bang and a laugh from my sister-in-law down below.

Box springs, it seems, can indeed fly. Just not for very long.