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Posts from the ‘Baby’ Category

The Effects of Sunshine on the Soul

The sunlight is back.

I had an idea to chronicle all that’s happened in the 6 months or so since I last posted (um, since I had the baby), but in the bright glow of the March sunlight, I’ve found that I have no heart to drudge up the 5′ snowbank that sealed our front door off, or the 20 degrees BELOW zero (F) it was one morning, or the long john filled days of playing trains and nursing, and hot tea during naptime in a vain attempt to ward off exhaustion and cold drafts.

Somewhere in the last week that all became history.

It may have been SPA – a weekend filled with supportive friends, adult conversation, sleep, and fiber-y inspiration. My god, I love SPA. This year, Kellee made it happen for me, convincing Eric that it was the perfect weekend to get Tommy on bottles (she was right. No surprise there.)

There is something about SPA that is rejuvenating. I think it’s getting to spend REAL time with your friends, all holed up together in a hotel, for a big long sleepover. It’s not a quick knit night, it’s not a whirlwind barn-touring festival, it’s a big long pajama-fest with fiber. And room service.

Which is awesome, and certainly does a lot for the state of one’s psyche.

But today, today I am convinced it’s the sunlight.

A few weeks ago I couldn’t see past the day-to-day drudgery, I couldn’t figure out in my head how I was going to manage our jumbled schedule of conflicting family needs (work, class, meetings, trips… all a big puzzle of how to get who where, and hopefully on time).

But the sun is out, shining onto my desk, and across the play floor, and it feels like we’ve turned one big corner. I can see all the stuff before us, and it’s clicking. I can figure it out.

We may get more snow this winter. Hell, it was only 2 degrees this morning outside my kitchen window as I made my tea. But the sun is strong, and it’s been shining, and it’s all downhill to summer from here.

I’ve been knitting too. Here’s a preview of what I’m going to be showing off in the next few posts:

Preview

And a little baby love, because it really all does go by too fast:

022

More Sleeping = More Knitting

I don’t know if it’s simply a promotion, or if Dunkin Donuts has finally remembered that coffee shouldn’t be a luxury item (for God’s sake, it’s one of the only thing Francie’s family can afford in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn), but my iced coffees have only cost 50 cents this week. It’s so rare for something to cost only cents, that keyboards don’t even have a Cents sign. Says something, huh?

Anyhow.

I’ve been watching a fair amount of Sesame Street lately, and I’m not embarrassed to say that I’m enjoying it as much as I did when I was a kid. The writing is smart (great references to popular culture), the issues are relevant (adults need help remembering to share and respect others too), the guests are fabulous (Crystal Gale then, Feist now), and Murray has a Little Lamb? That Ovajita has some sass.

And I don’t know what it is, but it makes EJ laugh, and occupies him long enough to let me take a shower in the morning, so there’s that too.

Here EJ is wondering what a cookie is, and why the Cookie Monster loves them so much.

Look at how his eyes are glued to the TV. Normally I whip out the camera and he stares at me. Not so when Sesame Street is on. And No, I do not feel bad enlisting the help of the TV at times. Ideals be damned, I has gots to get clean.

I can tell how things are going here by how much knitting is happening. Month 4 was a rough one – what with the learning how to roll over and discovering that there’s a Whole Big World to look at, EJ was way too hopped up to sleep well, or to stay still long enough for a good meal.

Suffice it to say, there was no knitting for the whole of Month 4.

Mostly it was just a fog of attending to EJ in his frustrated attempts to gain some control over his body. I’m trying to toe the line between the frustration and tears necessary to work something out on his own, and helping him when he needs it. I suppose that’s at the heart of parenting, and as parents we just cut our teeth on issues like: he rolls over back-to-belly but not belly-to-back. So when he happily flips himself over and 30 seconds realizes he’s stuck that way, he’s kind of pissed. And he wants me to roll him over, so he can do it again.

But he has the ability to roll over belly-to-back, and just doesn’t know it. He’s done it. But the more I do it for him, the more he expects me to, and the more frustrated he is marooned on his belly.

(Just preparation for when he wants to me to do his laundry for him when he’s old enough to do it himself I suppose. And by then he’ll actually understand the words “You can do it honey!”.)

My other big parenting dilemma these days is this: George loves licking EJ’s hands with a fervent passion. EJ loves it when George licks his hands. Perhaps not as fervently, but EJ appears fascinated with the furry thing walking around and having something to grab other than stuffed rattles.

See for yourself:

more about "EJ and George on Flickr – Photo Sharing!", posted with vodpod

(Who needs toys when you’ve got a dog?)
Then, of course, EJ sticks his hands in his mouth, and maws on George’s dog drool. As of now, I’m not overly concerned, as I’m having very little luck restraining George when my back is turned. And well, I’m of the A-Little-Dirt-is-Good-For-Them camp. But if anyone can tell me of a good reason why I should put a stop to this now, I’d be glad to hear it.

So, given that these are the biggest things I’m dealing with on the parenting front, you can see that this past week or so has been more manageable. More sleeping. More hands-free time during the day.

More knitting. (And blogging! We can only hope.)

I have finally cast on for something with Sundara Sock Yarn, and I must say that it is definitely worth the hype. Her depth of color is stunning, and my picture does not do it justice.

Sure, it’s only about a quarter of an ankle sock, but it feels good to have cast on for something new. It’s a beautiful green, like the park outside. It’s something manageable. Easily picked up and put down. Useful and pretty all at the same time. Do what works, right?

He’s a G Man

I had really hoped to use cloth diapers with EJ. Everyone has their own reasons, but for me it just seems like an awful lot of (chemical and plastic-laden) garbage produced by one little baby in disposables. Wendy and Kellee gave me a training run-down over a summer breakfast at Wendy’s kitchen table. Johanna was encouraging through the comments. The resources are out there, and I know that cloth diapers have come a long way from sharp safety pins and soggy nappies.

We, however, don’t have laundry in our apartment. I am quite sure that the other people in our building would not appreciate washing their clothes in the same machine as EJ’s poopie diapers. Moreover, it’s hard enough to get all the laundry done, as bending over the machine is a little tricky with the Baby Bjorn on.

(I did look into a diaper service, but it seems there’s only one option in Manhattan – crazy, right? – and it gets only lukewarm reviews at best.)

So, I had resigned myself to killing the earth in the name of convenience when my friend Malaika gave us the super helpful and generous gift of a crapload of diapers. Packages of diapers of every kind – the whole wheat non-chlorine ones, the Whole Foods ones, Pampers, and very wonderfully the G Diaper.

Maya had mentioned them last summer, but having never seen them myself they were kind of an abstract until Malaika brought them over.

What makes them so cool is that they have the same construction as a cloth diaper (outer cover, waterproof liner), but instead of stuffing them with cotton or flannel, you can buy flushable inserts made from wood pulp. They’re fully biodegradable. In fact, you can even throw the wet ones on your compost pile, and they’ll break down in 2 – 3 months.

Awesome, huh?

They take a bit more work than disposables – the liners do get poopie (poopy?) and you have to rinse them when they do – but not nearly the work of cloth diapers, and best of all they don’t require laundry machines in your apartment.

Also? Poopie is my new favorite word.

Poopie poopie poopie.

(I may or may not be at the point of giddy delirium from extended sleep deprivation. Or else I have the sensibility of an 8 year old.)

The Baby Bjorn Bald Spot


Taken at 1:15:04 pm


Taken at 1:15:07 pm

(Times are approximate.)

It has become painfully obvious over this past week that what we have here is a Level 2 Klingon.

Level 2 you ask? While not as severe as a Level 1 (who will only be happy desperately clinging to Mom every minute of the day), Level 2s must be held by Someone every minute of the day. Sadly, in my case, there is little distinction, because 95% of the time I am the only option. And sadly for Eric (but happily for my sanity!) he is clung to 95% of the time he is home.

Makes me wish we lived closer to family, where there would be an abundance of willing arms. But this post isn’t to wax on about my homesickness. (I live in Manhattan! It’s 10 degrees warmer and 6 feet of snow less than MA! There is anything I want within a 3 block radius! I take George to poop in Riverside park and watch the barges roll down the Hudson! Or planes for that matter!)


Did someone say poop?

I’ve been thinking about my regrets about the last 10 weeks. Wondering if EJ hadn’t spent his first 6 weeks screaming and spewing sour milk, maybe we wouldn’t have spent all day and night holding him, soothing him. Maybe we would have tried baby chairs and mobiles sooner. Maybe he wouldn’t spend every night sleeping on my chest. (That’s right, not just in our bed, but on my chest. For weeks it was the only way I could get any sleep, and now I fear we have a very bad habit on our hands.)

I’m a firm believer in Do What Works, but holy god, I would love for something to work other than the Baby Bjorn. (Although, the Baby Bjorn is a lifesaver – it is by far his favorite carrier). He’s in the Baby Bjorn so much he has a bald spot where the back of his head rubs against the headrest. I wish I were kidding. I would take a picture for you, but he’s strapped to my chest (of course) and that makes taking pictures kinda difficult. Especially of him.

(The sleeping/napping/crib thing from a few weeks ago? Must have been a fluke. Or derailed by the vaccinations, because then he needed to be held for a few days straight cause he felt like crap, and there we are again, in the 24 hour holding pattern.)

I wonder how much is in his nature, and how much is a product of circumstance? Now that I know how to avoid making my milk POISON, will my 2nd child (a complete theoretical at this point – shudder) spend their first month happy and comfortable and be content chilling wherever I lay their swaddled little bottom down? Are all first children doomed to be experiments that we inevitably kinda screw up?

Anyway, this week has been a particularly tired one for me, and I’ve had to put the Endpaper Mitts on hold. It made me tired just looking at the tiny needles. Instead, I cast on (for the third time!) for a February Lady Sweater. Garter Stitch is just my speed right now. Plus it will be the first knitting I’ve done for myself in over 4 months, and right now, I need a little corner of the world that’s just for me.

This is the Brooks Farm Mas Acero I bought at Rhinebeck – the only thing I wanted to buy, and for this purpose nonetheless. (Crazy). I was worried about pooling, but it looks like it might just work out as lovely as it looked in the skein and wound up in the ball. (Fingers crossed.)

That is also the only patch of floor that is clean.

Riding High

I’ve tried to write this about 5 different ways, and each time I stop, thinking that the universe is going to slap me down for my hubris. But really, I know that this has NOTHING to do with me, or anything that I’ve done, and I am just ebullient at what’s been happening.

EJ has been napping. And sleeping. And not spewing up crazy amounts of milk. (Okay, that last one’s me. I don’t eat tomatoes.)

But the napping? A week ago EJ would flip out if I wasn’t holding him all the time. This week? I plop him in the crib under his new mobile and Mom Who? Check out that cool black circle with a red dot! It’s hilarious! And mesmerizing! Like hypnosis that makes him incredibly happy and sleepy all at the same time.

Link to video of squeaking cooing cuteness. Also, EJ rips one at the end. Cracks me up every time, because obviously I am 8 years old at heart.

I wasn’t even trying to put him down for a nap, I was just trying to put him down for 2 minutes while I took care of some bathroom business and I came back into the room and he was drifting off to sleep. Seriously, this has happened twice now – Monday at nap time and last night at bed time. I could have smacked myself in the face, because he had a huge load in his pants too, and I knew I couldn’t leave him in there too long. (We compromised – I let him lay in it for about 45 minutes when he started to stir… and I don’t feel bad about it.)

Anyway, score one for my mother, who bought us the mobile over Christmas and in her infinite motherly wisdom knew that it would be a lifesaver.

Right. On.

And now that I have spoken of it, I know it will never happen again. Also, EJ goes for his first set of vaccinations tomorrow and then we have houseguests all weekend so I know I’m in for a rough couple of days. I really hope he’s feeling better by the time his visitors arrive.

Last night, in the happy time I was granted by the mobile I worked on my super secret knitting project. I still can’t talk about it (soon!) but I can gush (I’m in a gushing mood, can you tell?) about my new KnitPicks Harmony dpn set. Amazing. Smooth, strong, flexible (still talking about needles here. Knitting needles.) they make me very very happy. I’ve never been a huge fan of dpns, but I am a convert. I can see how people wouldn’t mind, or daresay even LIKE using them for socks.

So I suppose you dpn lovers aren’t all crazy. My bad.

Doesn’t hurt either that they’re so pretty.

One Handed

I have knitting – actual cool, photo worthy knitting – but it has to wait because it is super secret right now. It’s pretty frustrating, because my fingers went numb the last month I was pregnant, and I didn’t get full feeling back until about a week ago… so to finally be able to knit, have cool knitting on the needles, AND be back blogging… and NOT be able to blog about it? Right?

I should really take that back. I have a 7 week old baby. Not being able to blog about my knitting is the least of my frustrations. I’m typing one-handed right now as I hold the screaming succubus after he woke up from his twenty minute nap. That’s how long it took him to realize I wasn’t holding him any longer. Happily enough, just long enough for a PB&J and to clean up the kitchen from last night and this morning.

That’s what we’re working on this week: EJ sleeping without somehow being attached to me. Not all the time, I’m okay with most of the snuggling an infant needs*. Just one. One nap a day where I can go to the bathroom NOT wearing a baby. Straighten the apartment up. Knit without fear of poking him with dpns, which, when near a baby look more like eye-gouging, soft-spot-piercing, mini-impalers that would make old Vlad himself proud.

Last week we mastered burping. I have high hopes for naps.

*In fact I like it. He smells good, and makes sweet little baby noises, and has the nicest smiles when he’s all snuggled up with me.

Motherhood: Nature’s Boob Job


At 6 weeks postpartum, all the effects of pregnancy are supposedly reversed and you are theoretically plain old human again. I just hit this milestone, and for the most part it’s held true for me. There’s one or two not-so-pleasant lingering effects of the pregnancy, but I trust that in time they’ll fade, and there are some surprisingly happy side effects.

Mainly, my perky new mom boobs.

They actually make me feel okay about the 10 pounds I still have to lose, because they make me look curvy, instead of just chubby which is how I’d look without them. I’ve always had the figure of a 12 year old boy, so you can imagine how thrilled I am about this.

Sadly, sometimes my new mom boobs aren’t so great. EJ has let us know that he hates it when I eat cabbage, onions, grapefruit, or tomatoes. Unfortunately, his primary form of communication is screaming his head off, and spewing copious amounts of sour milk everywhere. You’d think that would make it pretty clear that his stomach hurt, but it took us awhile to figure it out. In fact, we just figured out the tomato thing yesterday. (In case you’re wondering, no, yesterday was Not Fun.)

Anyway, today is the official end of The Seclusion, and I’m putting myself back into the world. Thanks everyone for all your super kind emails and comments while I was ‘away’. It made me feel Not Alone, even when I hadn’t left the apartment for 18 days straight.

The Little Dude Arrives

Last week I developed severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome, and as such labor was induced Tuesday evening. After 24+ hours of labor, 50+ hours on magnesium sulfate and a 2nd degree tear (“shoulders like a linebacker!” exclaimed the delivery doctor), I would like to introduce to you Eric Jeffrey Pawlowski:

Totally worth it. Every second.

Welcome to the world, E.J.

Dumb

numb1

I am happy to report that Pickles has turned, and the doctor has full confidence he will find his way out head-first. I would be more animated in my announcement of this news, but really? I haven’t slept for 3 nights straight. My brain is stupid right now. Basically the news from the doctor’s appointment goes something like this.

Happy. Big. 4 weeks to go. Look at the wee-wee! Good. Happy.

Inevitable

(In which I try to be interesting, but eventually end up talking about pregnancy, again.)

This little alcove is just next to my office building – what you see is actually the back corner of a courtyard, nestled in between 2 tall buildings, with wrought iron cafe tables on cobblestones and a beautiful waterfall backdrop. The waterfall drowns out the city noise of honking cabs and construction, and the high solid walls on each of the other 2 sides give a sense of security, and intimacy. You could almost imagine you were in a European city, discovering a tiny cafe in a quaint little corner of the old district.

I’ve walked by it at least twice a day for more than a year, and yet I’ve only sat in it once. (The day my new camera arrived and I couldn’t wait until after work to take it on a test drive.) It’s really a shame.

I’m sharing this with you because I have very little knitting progress to report – the past few nights I’ve been working on shopping for all the remnants of things we still need after the shower, and getting the new bedroom set up (I had no linens on hand for a king-size bed before now). By the time I finish the absolute minimum of what I need to get done, it’s pushing 8 o’clock and Eric and I are scrambling to assemble dinner in the simplest manner possible. A few rows of knitting is all I can manage before I slump into the luxurious expanse that is our new bed.

Oh, wait, I haven’t told you about our new bed? It’s awesome. No, it’s more than awesome. It’s freakin awesomelicious. I never thought that we would need a king, or that it would make such a huge difference (no pun intended!) but it does. Apparently, my awkward, lumbering attempts to roll over take up an alarming amount of mattress width. Now, I can struggle to turn, or stretch in any direction without pushing a dog off the bed, or elbowing Eric in frustration.

We are all much happier.

As for the baby, he seems fine. Kicking and moving like mad, but no way to tell up from down, despite how hard I try. I spend (way too much) time trying to figure out hands from feet, head from rump, and quite frankly, if my guesses were right, then he would be impossibly convoluted in there (like a Mr. Potato doll put together by a drunk Picasso). So, I’m trying to sit back and accept whatever comes and not worry about making a decision until we know there’s one to be made.

One thing’s for sure – there will be no attempts to deliver this baby breech. Not only did 2 doctors speak up on this point, but a few others of you were quite adamant about this as well. Your words confirmed my own inclinations, which were then set in stone when my childbirth class instructor (a doula and a huge fan of the Dr. Sears books) said flat out that it would be impossible to find a provider in NYC who would deliver a baby breech.

A relief for me, because the Dr. Sears books (which I like) would have me press the point (depending on what sort of breech) and try to find a provider who would at least attempt to deliver breech. I get why, but it was not the route for me, regardless of the situation.

Anyway, enough rambling from me. Hopefully good knitting content next time.

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