Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Date Night in the Schnell Household

A scene from our kitchen one recent evening...

Henry was straight-jacketed (I mean swaddled) in a receiving blanket, sitting in his vibrating bouncy seat with the Dust Buster turned on next to him. He had a cork (oops, I mean pacifier) popped in his mouth and Adam and I were trying to gobble down our dinner before Act II of the evening's entertainment started, a.k.a. Rage-Fest or the Nightly Freak Out.

Sleep Deprived, Poorly Dressed, and Now Paranoid?

The first is self explanatory, the second is because none of my pants fit and apparently I only own work clothing. Yes Mother, I am going to go shopping. I promise. Let me explain the third...

The couple that lived in the apartment before us was an older German couple. The lived here for 50+ years. By all accounts, they were perfectly lovely people. I have never asked, but I have a sneaking suspicion that one or both of them died in the apartment (natural causes).

A week or so back, I just felt like I saw a blur pass me in the dining room and felt like little Henry and I were not alone. Spooky I know. I figured if it was a ghost, it would probably be the lady and since she was nice, I consoled myself that at least she would be a friendly ghost. I put it out of my mind.

Then, a few nights ago I was sitting in the living room with Henry around 12:30 helping him wind down from his nightly "Freak-Out." For those of you who have not had the pleasure of experiencing this, it is when your newborn intermitently cries, sleeps, eats every 10 minutes like you are starving them, swats at your face, kicks their little legs, wakes up as soon as you lay them down and demands that you pace the floor to keep them sleeping. This can go on from an hour or it can last as long as a few hours. Fun way to spend an evening, I'll tell you that much! I have taken to hiding in the bathroom when Adam gets home from work. My eyebrows have never looked better. Anyway, back to my tale...

I have a box of Henry's smaller toys that I keep in the living room. A few of them were laying on the floor where we (I) had been playing with them earlier. One of them is a very annoying set of keys that makes various noises when you press the buttons. One of the noises is a chain rattling. I was sitting with him near the window, perfectly still. All of a sudden, the keys start making the chain rattling noise and then shut off. It scared me, but I tried to ignore it. About 2 minutes later, it happened again. I swear the hair on the back of my neck stood up! I was now convinced we had a ghost and that she was watching me in the living room! I hot-footed it to the bedroom and practically hid under the covers. Yes, I remembered to bring Henry with me. He hid under the covers too.

I was so scared that the poor baby didn't get a diaper change at his 2:30am feeding because I didn't want to go back into the living room!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happy 6 Week Birthday Henry Richard!

Henry had a little cool down period enjoying the soothing sounds of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" under his mobile that Cousin Judy gave at the shower. He coos and smiles at the animals, it is totally adorable. Adam, a.k.a. "The Papparazzi" caught the action on film.

Hanging with Bube and Papu

Henry met two very important people last week, his Great-Grandma Ruth and his Great-Grandpa Jack. They flew up from Florida just to see him. Grandpa Jack summed it up perfectly for all of us when he said "This is a Thanksgiving we will never forget!" As you can see, it was a love fest!

What we are thankful for this year!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Henry's New Activities

This week, Henry has done a few new things:

  • He has slept in his baby hammock for the entire night more than once. (He still wakes up every 2-3 hours) As much as we love sleeping with him, he takes up way too much real estate. Also, when he starts to stir I just give the hammock a little push and it swings him back to sleep. Very nice!
  • He is starting to smile more consistently. Usually at Daddy, but we will forgive him for that.
  • As you can see in the picture, he is holding a toy which is a new skill. It is too heavy for him to really lift, but he can hold onto it and grab at it.
  • If you hold the toy above his eyes, he will turn his head completely left or right to watch it.
  • When I lay him on the pillow above on his stomach, he can actually move himself forward. His legs are very strong! He lifts his head very easily and doesn't mind laying on his stomach.
  • He is much more alert and can now look at you directly in the eyes. He is losing his cross eyed look.
  • He is getting longer by the day. He has now grown out of 4 outfits lengthwise, and his sleeves are starting to be too short.
  • We are working on new ways to deal with his "fussy" period at night. We have tried giving him a bath, taking him for a walk (not a success!), swaddling him and getting him to go to sleep (just causes him to be up until 2am, and letting him work out his energy. I think that the cause is that he is a very active baby. When we are starting to wind down, he is getting his second wind. I am having some success with having him play on the floor late at night. I let him kick and roll around and burn off some energy. Once he seems like he is getting tired, I swaddle him and walk him to sleep. Seems to be working, it just requires us to accept that he is a night owl! (Just like his mama!)
  • He has started to sneeze multiple times in a row like me
  • He holds his breath sometimes when he cries like I did when I was a baby

Friday, November 17, 2006

Couldn't he at least pretend?

We have been warned repeatedly about how difficult it is to get a breastfed baby to take a bottle. When Madeleine was a baby, this became an issue because Heather was going back to work part-time. She would cry and struggle, and wouldn't take one if Heather was even in the house. We were told to try when Henry was about a month, so that he would get used to it early.

On Wednesday night, I pumped to make a bottle for Adam to feed him. I started with three ounces, knowing that if he wouldn't take the bottle we wouldn't have to throw it out, we could give it to him with a syringe (which is how he takes his medicine.)

I was thinking about leaving the room so that he couldn't see me and that Adam might have better luck. I didn't even get a chance to get off the couch before Henry was happily eating away from the bottle. It wasn't even one of the special bottles for breastfed babies, it was the one that came with the pump! He didn't bat an eye, and to add insult to injury, he drank that and wanted more!

I would have expected him to at least put up a little fight, in honor of my many hours of service ;) I told Adam if he wants to feed him once per day he can take over the 3am shift.

P.S. (Before anyone gets any crazy ideas, I am not going to pump bottles for people to feed him unless I am not going to be home. The pumping is not that fun where I want to turn myself into a vending machine.)

How will I ever deal with Kindergarten?

Henry has already grown out of two of his outfits. Unless knickers come back in style, they are going into storage. I am going to cry, my baby is growing up!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

One Month Old Appointment

Henry had his one month appointment today. He is now 22 1/2 inches long, and weighs 9lbs, 13 oz. He has gained 1 lb, 5oz since his last appointment, so he is doing very well! He still has a slight case of thrush on his lips, but is otherwise very healthy. He will have his next appointment in one month, and he will receive his shots then.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Marking his territory?

Sadly, Adam had his first overnight business trip yesterday. He will be home today, but I know he was very upset to leave Henry.

On the other hand, Henry and I enjoyed having the entire bed to ourselves. It has gotten significantly smaller since the TT (Tiny Tyrant) started sleeping with us. This morning, I was feeding Henry in bed and using Adam's pillow to prop him up on my lap. Someone, who shall remain nameless (hint: TT) had a little "accident" on the pillow. Since everything that Henry does is very primal (if you need proof, he bit my bra the other day), do you "really" think it was an accident?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

King Henry , The Tiny Tyrant at 4 Weeks Old

Receiving his first invitation to a birthday party! He is mulling it over during a little snooze...
Having a photo shoot to model an ensemble sent by one of his fans for their thank you note...

Rocket Science

Whoever has said that taking care of a newborn is mindless work (old me) has never done so for an extended period of time. I used to consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent person (since being pregnant and now sleep deprived, I am not that swift). Everyday, I am challenged. For example:

  • I am very challenged with the use of baby equipment. I have never met a stroller that I could open or close. Even after being shown how to do it, I cannot. I leave mine open not for convenience, but so that I won't be stranded at home because I can't open it myself.
  • I am not the world's greatest diaper changer. Each time, I need to concentrate to get the flaps in the right place and get it on so that it won't leak. Just the other day, I was putting one on and realized I had it backward. I always have to remember that the picture goes in the front.
  • Without writing it down, I cannot remember when the last time Henry took his thrush medicine, his gas drops, had his diaper changed, ate, or slept. He has a busier schedule than any executive!
  • Giving him a bath without drowning him is a challenge, and I can never get in between the rolls under his chin.
  • I am still learning to do everything with one hand. Clean, wash my hands, brush my teeth, make food, eat etc.
  • Getting his tiny clothing on without breaking a limb
  • Steering his stroller through tiny NYC stores without breaking something
  • Timing doing things. I need him to be asleep for long enough so he won't wake when I put him down, but not so long that he wakes up before I am done. Still haven't perfected that one yet, hence I haven't shaved my legs in ages.
  • Choosing the perfect amount of clothing when we leave the house. I need to find the balance so that he is not sweating to death and I am not getting dirty looks from women on the street. This is challenging because the Dominican children in my neighborhood have snowsuits on if it drops below 60 degrees.

So, hats off to those of you doing this with more than one!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Well, that is one way to get a nice shower in!

I was trying to sneak in a shower each morning during Henry's first nap. However, our routine has been a little screwed up lately since he has been waking every 1.5 - 2 hours to eat. I am totally exhausted in the morning, and try to sleep more after his last feeding around 8am. He will normally sleep a little longer and we both snooze until around 10:30am.! I love this baby, he is like a little college student. Sleeps all day, parties all night. Same as when he was in the womb.

Anyway, after that first long nap, he just catnaps for most of the day. I try to lay him down in his bed, but he wakes up crying after 5 or 10 minutes. He is a cuddler and loves to be held for his naps. I know, I need to break him of this, but he is just so cute!

Anyway, on Thursday I put him in his bed and switched on the baby monitor. I quickly hopped in the shower and was enjoying the fact that I could actually take more than the normal 2-3 minutes because he wasn't crying. I got out and went into my room and lo and behold, he was hollering. I hadn't turned the receiver portion of the monitor on, so I couldn't hear him!

Poor little baby, I hope he isn't scarred for life.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

OK, I am officially a Mom

Henry had a little bit of schmutz on his face today that I noticed while he was nursing. I licked my finger and wiped it off. Don't tell Adam, he will be totally grossed out.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

18 Day Old Update

  • Henry had a doctor's appointment yesterday. Since birth, he has grown 1.5 inches and 9 oz over his birth weight. He has gained 12 ounces since his last appointment 9 days ago, which is very exciting. Since I am breastfeeding exclusively, I am always worried that he is getting enough to eat (since you can't see how much he is eating like you would with a bottle.) I have been feeding him on demand since he was born, which is pretty time consuming. Since I want him to gain weight, I really don't mind. He is so young, and there will be ample time in the future to get him on a schedule. Generally he wants to eat every two to two and half hours, and he takes about 20 minutes per feeding. Lately, he has been "cluster feeding" where he wants to eat every hour for about 15 minutes over a few hour period. We may try to offer him a bottle at around 3 weeks (breastmilk, not formula) to get him used to it. I have heard that babies generally are not all that receptive to the idea at first!
  • Just as I suspected, he was diagnosed with thrush, which is a yeast infection in his mouth. He had white patches on his tongue on Monday, which have spread to his lips and cheeks. It is so sad to look at, but I have been told that it is not really painful. He has to be on an oral antifungal solution for 14 days, and I have cream that I need to use. They need to treat both of us otherwise we will just pass it back and forth during feedings. The doctor said that it is hard to predict where he got it. It could be caused by the fact that he was exposed to the antibiotics that I was on while I was in the hospital, but that is unlikely. She just said that babies are very "yeasty creatures" which I thought was funny and that this is very common. It could have also presented itself as a diaper rash. However, it does give some explanation as to why my normally sweet boy has been so crabby the past few days. The yeast in his mouth can also be passed into his intestines, which causes gassiness.
  • He passed all of his newborn screening tests and his next visit is when he is one month old.
  • Thanks to Merri for reminding me about the techniques to calm a baby that are in the book Happiest Baby on the Block. I had read parts of this while I was pregnant but had not picked it up recently. I tried them on Henry yesterday, and he was out like a light in about 2 minutes! It involves the 5 S's (Shushing, Swaddling, Sucking, Lay on Stomach or Sideways, and Swaying). You do all of these simultaneously, and it reminds the baby of being in the womb and calms them. It is shocking at how well it works.
  • Henry absolutely hated wearing his Bumblebee Halloween costume, which I suspected he would. He flips out when anything is put on his head and gets hot very easily. He wore it for a total of two minutes, just long enough to take a few pictures in it and with his Grandma Marlene and Grandpa Joe who had come in just to see him dressed up. He looked more like an angry hornet! Somehow I don't think these were the keepsake photos that they were expecting!
  • Henry had his first real bath on Tuesday (we needed to spongebathe until his cord stump fell off.) He loved it! So cute, didn't cry one bit.