Monday, December 15, 2008

Important Update

Kai is currently beating a piece of toast to death with a remote control.

That is all.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Language Development Update

Words Kai can speak:
  • Dada (or Ah-da)
  • Mama
  • Nurse (it's more like Naynaynaynaynay, but the intent/meaning is clear)
  • Truck (usually comes out as T...T...Tr....Truh.....T.... but again meaning is clear)
  • Up (uttered once or twice several weeks ago and not since)
  • Head/Hat (aka Het, see previous post)
  • Banana (his latest, which also takes the form of Ba-nuh or Na-nuh)
Words Kai can sign:
  • Nurse/Milk
  • All done (most often used when he's finished with a meal)
  • Up
  • Down
  • Again (often used when he wants us to read a book again)
  • More (I've only seen him do this once and am not 100% certain of his intent)
Kai is also doing a lot of pointing these days - at things that he wants, things that we name, just for fun, and for who knows what other reasons.

He clearly understands many more words than he says/signs. This whole language development thing is fascinating.

Sorry that I don't have any other profound insights right now, but I'm rather sleepy and just wanted to do a quick post to document Kai's development for posterity.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday Blogging Madness - Long Overdue Beach Pics

These are from a trip to Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA back in August....





Wednesday Blogging Madness - Kai Outside

Kai continues to love being outside. Here are some recent pics of our outdoor adventures:


Swinging at the park just down the street


Crawling around and playing with leaves


More fun with leaves


Reaching for pine needle in grassy clearing

Wednesday Blogging Madness - "Het"

In an effort to try to blog here more often, I'm introducing Wednesday Blogging Madness. Since Wednesdays are generally less hectic for me, I'm hoping that I can at least post a few times, even if I don't get around to posting much on other days. So without further ado, here goes....

Kai said another word today, although I'm not quite sure which one. Let me explain....I was putting a hat on his head and repeating "hat" and "head" to him as I did so. After doing this a few times, he looked at me and said "het!". I'm not sure which one he meant, but I suspect head, since Lauren and I have been repeating body part names to him since he was a couple of months old.

Here's a Kai head/hat/het pic from a few weeks ago:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Kai's Fourth Word is Obama!!!!!

And we even have witnesses! We weren't able to teach Kai to raise the roof for our election party tonight, but he did learn the word Obama! Add that to Mama, Dada, and Up! We're so proud of our little progressive munchkin.

Monday, October 06, 2008

9 Months....Already???

Wow. Nine months have passed since we greeted Kai, and that just sounds so old. When Kai was still brand new, I used to meet 8-, 9-, and 10-month olds who just looked so big to me. And now he's one of them. One of them who, according to his pediatrician, continues to be pretty big. At today's visit, he weighed in at almost 22 lbs (still 75th percentile) and we discovered that he is 29.5 inches tall - up to the 90th percentile. Our theory, based on his large hands and feet at birth, that he will take after my very tall, very lean Grandpa John persists based on this new data.

These days Kai loves sounds of all sort. Especially sounds he can make by banging, scratching, waving, rubbing, or otherwise manipulating multiple objects together. Pots, pans, spoons and yogurt container lids are way more exciting than any of his toys. Except books. He LOVES books. And he'll pull all of his books off the low shelves until he finds his favorites - Sheep in a Jeep, How Do I Love You, and Where is Baby's Belly Button being chief among them. He's even turning pages successfully at times now (at other times, his version of page turning looks more like grabbing the book by a single page and dangling it high in the air while singing to it). His absolute favorite book we reserve for bedtime - Love is a Handful of Honey - Kai LIGHTS up when he sees it and we love having this evening ritual together as a family.

We've been reluctant to think it true, but the more time passes, the more it seems he may actually know what it means when he says "mama" and "dada," which he's been doing for a while now. I finally decided to believe it today when I left the room for a moment and he frantically began moving toward my new location while intensely calling out, "mama!! mama!!!" He also waved at our pediatrician repeatedly during today's visit, and she told me we could "count" that as well. As posted previously, Kai also clearly makes the sign for nurse - both when he's hungry and also when he just wants me for whatever reason. Mommy = milk apparently, even when milk is not wanted. It's so funny how gradual the assignment of meaning seems to be with gestures and words, though. The signing was clear and obvious when it began, but the waving and the words - well, those were a much slower process. Things he did or said frequently that have become more discriminating with time. He's amazing. A wonder to watch unfolding before our always amazed eyes.

Kai's also loving food of all kinds these days. He usually just has some of our dinner - as long as it's in small enough pieces, he does fine and doesn't need it milled or pureed. He adored the lentil vegetable soup I made for dinner tonight. His pincer grasp is getting pretty reliable, so he is also getting good at feeding himself. Which can make for some messy meals.

I think that's most of what I have to report tonight. I'm a little sad and wistful that his time out of the womb will, from now on, be longer than the time he was with me so closely. It seems every day brings out new actions and experiences of his growing independence, which is exciting and also something I quietly grieve, so grateful for what now feels like the immense freedom and wisdom in deciding to be physically there for so much of his first year. I continue to love him more deeply than I ever knew was possible, even when he shrieks with horror because I've removed some tiny something from his hands that he picked up and really wanted to put in his mouth. He's such a miracle.

And...for the grandparents, and our friends who've been demanding more photos...here are a few. We're working on the video, but it takes ages to upload and with two tiny startup service businesses, well, time is a precious commodity these days, and when available, spent mostly with Kai.

These are from earlier today at the park. It was chilly, so Kai was nicely bundled in his very bright fleecey pants and oddly kind of matching sweater. He sits very well and happily on his own and has for some time, but suddenly at the park, he decided that it would be a fun game to lean against my hand and fall backward whenever I started to remove it - he would laugh and laugh. Which made me laugh and laugh. So we just kept going up and down for several minutes. Bob recorded it - that's one of the videos we want to get up sometime soon!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Kai Speaks!

...well, with his hands.

I've been making the ASL sign for 'milk/nurse' to Kai for months now and this week I discovered that he actually noticed. He now makes the sign whenever he wants to nurse and often looks very proud and pleased when I respond.

More pics and that promised video of Kai crawling very soon...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Breaking News: Crawling!

Our correspondent in the field informs us that at approximately 12:45pm EDT on the 8th of September, one Mr. Kai Alexander Bellon successfully crawled for the first time. Said Mr. Bellon was seen tossing a toy on the floor of his living room, and then crawling to retrieve it.

We hope to obtain video footage of this new development, just as soon as Kai's parents are able to locate their camera.

Stay tuned for further developments.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

On Our Own for a Few Days

Bob's away on a meditation retreat for a few days this week, so Kai and I are having some good quality mom and baby time together! I won't lie, I sorely missed my sleep in time this morning when he decided it was a good day to revert to waking up at 5:30 am and there was no dad in sight to join him.

At this moment, Kai is alternately playing with his organic cotton carrot (thanks again, Kate!), pounding the floor and then laughing hysterically when I look down and over at him, or...

successfully dragging himself forward just a little bit!!! This is a brand new first as of the last few moments!!!

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Daddy Diaries: Another Photojournal

We don't get around to posting nearly as often as we would like, but here are more pics highlighting some of the events of the last two weeks:


Kai about to devour a paper bag



I really wish we had video of this. He loved the sound the bag made as he whacked it with his hands.



Am I not supposed to chew on the green part?



Kai showing off his standing skills and computer skills (the hat helps with both).



Kai has become a big fan of the water.



From our trip to the DeCordova Museum's sculpture park.



Kai took this one of Lauren and me sleeping. He finished half of that bag of popcorn while we napped. And, of course, he patiently waited for us to wake up, entertaining himself by singing Beatles songs and making friends with a family of squirrels. Okay, that's all lies and misrepresentations. But we did have some good family time on our Sesame Street blanket.



From our hike in the Middlesex Fells.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Daddy Diaries: Adventures in Solid Foods

Kai has turned into a champion eater and explorer of all things edible. It seems that he'll eat just about anything, as evidenced by the raw onion he grabbed and sucked on while Lauren was making dinner the other night. When Lauren took it away, he got upset and reached for more. Some of the more run-of-the-mill foods he's tried so far are: avocado, carrot, quinoa, zucchini, oatmeal, sweet potato, rice pasta, banana, watermelon, spinach, lentils, and blueberries. It's hard to decide which foods make the biggest mess, but I'd say that sweet potato and watermelon are right up at the top of that list. He needed a bath immediately following both of the meals pictured below....



Sunday, July 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me! or...Thank You!!!!

I feel so very loved and special. Thank you to my wonderful husband who absolutely accomplished his goals of surprising me for my upcoming 30th birthday, and of making me feel so good on this occasion...The video, audio, and e-mail submissions were lovely, and what people had to say at the party was so generous and kind and nice.

Bob knows me well, and truly, I do love public praise and surprises and being the center of attention (hey, I can admit it about myself! :) ), so his request for people to share why they think I'm so fabulous was pretty much the perfect gift! And yes, I was totally, completely surprised. It actually scared the bejeezus out of me when I walked into the house and saw so many people all yelling, "surprise!" It was also just so fun because there were multiple babies and kids here, and well, I loved that.

A special thanks to Deji for driving to NH to pick up a cake that would agree with Kai's tummy via me (dairy- and gluten-free).

I have to say, I'm really looking forward to actually turning 30! (August 12, in case you're wondering!).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Molars?!?

Have we mentioned? Kai is teething. But he's approaching the process in a very individualistic manner. No sign of his front four teeth, but we've seen white pop through in the back where molars go, and there are big swollen lumps where canines and incisors live. During our most recent visit, our pediatrician exclaimed, "Oh! I know this happens but I've never seen it! Let me feel!" Kai obliged.

Our generally chipper fellow has definitely been slightly less chipper with all the activity under his gums.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Daddy Diaries: Photojournal Edition


Bath time in the sink!



Splashing is a necessary and fun part of bathing.



Play time with friends Jenny & Sophie.



(back row from l. to r.) Lauren, Kai, Jenny, and David. Bob's knee and Sophie in foreground.



Solid foods are messy!



Gnaw, gnaw, gnaw. Carrots are good for teething. Especially when your first tooth to break through is a molar. Yes, seriously.



Kai liked his bowl more than the avocado on this day. (don't worry, the chips are for Lauren)



Avocado soul patch.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Daddy Diaries: Our Little Geek

Kai often appears fascinated when Lauren and I are typing - sometimes we let him play with the keyboard. Usually that just means a lot of space bar pressing, but occasionally he does something quite unexpected.

Just a few minutes ago, he began banging on the keyboard and somehow managed to open a new tab in Firefox with the version 3.0 release notes. Which was quite impressive. A bit more banging and he bookmarked the page. Which was amazing. Then he printed the release notes. Clearly, he's much more advanced than we give him credit for. We'll see if he wants to read them (or more likely, chew on them) later.

More true to form, Kai now writes:
,,hj n .

,,hj n . indeed. I know you're smarter than you're letting on.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Daddy Diaries: New Milestones

Our little bear is growing up so fast. For the last few weeks he's been consistently rolling over from back to tummy (he's been doing tummy to back for quite some time). His new favorite bedtime game is to roll over. And over. And over. He's also begun rolling over in his sleep.

About a week to ten days ago, he just woke up one day with a new level of alertness. Both Lauren and I noticed it independently. When he looks at us or at other people or objects, he just seems more focused and intense. We look at him and there's just something there in his eyes. He knows. I don't know what he knows exactly. But it's there.

Within the last week, he's begun flailing his arms in a new and....interesting....way. And I swear that he hits me now to get my attention sometimes. Here's a recent vid of the flailing:

video

Just two days ago, he started profusely babbling consonants, including many we'd never heard him utter before. There's a bit of that in the previous video, but here's an more extensive sampling:

video

Don't know what exciting new tricks are up next for him, but we'll let you know when they come....

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A new chapter begins!


Well folks, I've up and quit my job. Sort of. I gave them notice that should have taken effect a week or two ago, but they've kept me on two days a week until the end of this month. Possibly longer. And I'm probably going to do some consulting at Simmons as well into the beginning of the fall. But...

The real story is what we're up to now. I've started teaching Itsy Bitsy Yoga for babies and toddlers. And I'm now available as a postpartum doula as well! Check me out: www.namastebaby.org! Bob and I are also engaged in the planning phase of our educational consulting business - if you know of high school students who could benefit from an independent college counselor, just let us know!

Bob and I took some pictures tonight so that I could update the site with a couple of baby yoga images. Enjoy...(tomorrow we'll post a few more pics and some video).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Daddy Diaries: Encounters in Arlington

With all the walking we do, Kai is becoming a minor celebrity here in East Arlington. Some highlights of our encounters:

A woman pushing her child in a stroller comes up to us and says "hey, we see each other everywhere!" As far as I can recall, I've never seen this woman before in my life. We chat for a few minutes about our kids and then I explain to her that Kai and I have just returned from a 5-mile walk through Winchester and Medford, which is just part of the 10-15 miles we walk daily. She looks at me a bit askew and no doubt realizes that a lot of people must see me everywhere. But hey, she was really nice and I enjoyed our brief conversation.

An 80+ year old man walking down Mass Ave asks me how old Kai is. He then proceeds to tell me that he has four kids: 58, 57, 56, and 54 years old. "There was a brief time when all four of them were in diapers. Tough, but worth every minute."

A stooped-over nonagenarian woman grabs my arm as I walk by her on the sidewalk.

"What's his name?"
"Kai"
"Hi Kyle"
"No, it's Kai."
"What?"
"Kai. K. A. I."
"Oh. (long pause) Where are your people from?"

Now, I'm not usually asked this question by random people on the street, so my answer comes out a bit disjointed. "Well, ummm....my people are from Germany...and uh....France. And Ireland. And Sweden?" (I don't know why that one comes out as a question - perhaps I have secret doubts about the Swedes that I'm not aware of). I haven't even started on all the places that Lauren's 'people' are from and I surmise from her blank expression that she was just curious about the name. Several seconds pass as she continues the blank stare.

"My people are from Sicily. (another long pause) I have something for you. Hold on."

She walks over to the front steps of what I presume to be her apartment and reaches into a large plastic bag. Uh-oh. I'm scared. She's a religious nut and wants to help me find Jesus. No, she's just plain crazy and is going to hand me an old sock or perhaps a moldy onion. Wait, did she say Sicily? Images of Tony Soprano's mother flash through my mind. If she pulls out a revolver, are my reflexes fast enough to take this old crone out before she guns us down?

Whew. It's just a pamphlet. Back to theory #1 - fundamentalist fanatic. No, wait - it's a guide to immunizations put out by the Mass Dept. of Public Health. I thank her profusely (I was so relieved not to be the victim of random gun violence) and then Kai and I are on our way. No idea why this woman had a DPH pamphlet from 2004 sitting in a bag on her front stoop, but I suppose it was sweet of her to share.

We've had many more encounters with random strangers, usually briefer than the one with DPH pamphlet lady. Just today a woman stopped at a light shouted out of her car window "hey, you're like twins!" Ummm....okay. Sharing 50% of your genes with someone does tend to make you look alike. But she did put a smile on my face.

It seems that the two most common comments from strangers (as well as family & friends) about Kai are that a) he looks just like me and b) he's gorgeous.

I'm trying really hard not to draw the obvious conclusion and thereby over-inflate my ego.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Take heart!

Wow! A plethora of infant sleep studies, all showing that we are soooo not alone, and night waking is very normal, even/especially in babies who were sleeping much better between 2 and 4 months of age!

http://kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/sleepstudies.html

Monday, May 19, 2008

Laughing Fit

Kai couldn't stop laughing tonight while I was getting him ready for bed. I coughed, he laughed. I smiled, he laughed. I looked at him, he laughed. I actually had to calm him down a couple of times, because his laughter was threatening to turn into tears. He cracks me up. In other news, he went beyond his necklace fixation today when he discovered my earrings. I won't be wearing those around him for a while.

Here's a somewhat grainy, very short snippet from his laughing fit. I love this kid so much.
video

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tummy Time!



Kai is generally a big fan of tummy time. No wonder, since all of his new tricks can be done from that starting point!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

For Tired Parents

and anyone else who is sleep-deprived! A game published by the BBC to test the impact of your sleep deprivation on your reaction times. I am apparently hovering between a sluggish snail and an ambling armadillo!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Another New Trick!


Today was Kai's 4-month well visit. He's just about doubled in size at 16 pounds! He's in the 75th percentile for height (almost 26"), weight, and head circumference. Which means not very much at all, but it's reportable data, so that's fun.

I thought that with his shot this afternoon, he wouldn't be up for much other than nursing and sleep when we got home. He was distressed, to be sure, but after a nap, I moved Kai to the middle of our bed, where he rested on his back while I got ready to nurse him. Except then, in a sudden turn of events, he decided to roll over from his back to his tummy, shocking both me and himself! And then he did it again a few moments later.

Between that and his new slow-mo breakdancing move (scootching himself around 180 degrees while on his tummy), I think we're facing impending mobility. And must now begin babyproofing. Tom and Marissa were right. We should have done that while I was still pregnant!!!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Monday, May 05, 2008

Sweetest Thing Ever

After posting (lengthily) about sleep last night, I had a very sweet night of sleep next to Kai. Not sure how many times he woke up (there were a couple of diaper changes that both of us slept through), but with the exception of twice when he made it clear he was hungry, he fell back asleep by holding my hand whenever he woke.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

4 Months Later...

Bob reminded me this morning that it has been a while since I last posted. I do have a few thoughts that I've been mulling over of late.

First, though, I can hardly believe that just four months ago at this time, I was entering into the active stage of my labor, getting ready to meet Kai for the first time. It is true what they say. I have a hard time fathoming that he has not always been right here with us, part of our day-to-day lives. And at the same time, the rapidity with which he keeps growing, developing, and changing shocks me. I want to freeze time so that it will stop moving so (too) quickly.

My thoughts at the time of Kai's four-month "birthday" (I warn you, this has turned into a long post):

Kai is the best meditation teacher I have ever had
After years of struggling with monkey mind during meditation, Kai has me existing far more in the present moment than I ever have before. When he's hungry I feed him. When he yawns I begin helping him to sleep. When he shudders, or looks at me a certain way, I know he has a wet diaper, and I change it. Peaceful existence requires paying keen attention to what Kai is doing right now, and for the most part, I'm able to stay right there with him. When I don't, well, that tends to be when both of us get frustrated. I've also struggled in meditation with the concepts of "doing it right" and obsessing with what others think. More on "doing it right" in a moment, but as far as what others think....Now when I encounter new people or new environments, somehow the knowledge that I was able to create this life out of love, that my body gave birth powerfully, and that it continues to nourish and sustain Kai...well, somehow that knowledge trumps everything else.

Parenting, Breastfeeding, Sleep...
I've been thinking a lot about how important it is to be at peace with whatever parenting style one chooses, while also maintaining an open mind and some flexibility. After much reading, Bob and I felt drawn to what is known as the attachment style of parenting while I was pregnant. Once Kai was born, all of our instincts confirmed that this was the right choice for our family. Basically, this means that I breastfeed on demand (and Bob bottlefeeds expressed milk on demand) as opposed to on a schedule, we spend a lot of time wearing and holding Kai, we co-sleep (sometimes Kai sleeps in a co-sleeper bassinette attached to our bed, but lately, he's sleeping better in bed with us - we take the required precautions to ensure his safety). And most importantly, we really work to tune into him and respond to his needs.

Most of the time, I feel really secure in our choices. We've done a lot of reading and research, and have been most persuaded by the evidence that supports what we're doing. And our instincts tell us it feels right. But there's so MUCH out there about parenting, about how to make sure you don't "ruin" your child. Sometimes it reminds me of wedding porn, which, if read in large enough quantities by even the most level-headed of brides-to-be, can easily persuade folks that if two people really love each other, the proof will be spending at least $20k on a wedding. When it comes to parenting literature, it's easy to let self-doubt creep in.

And in the US, the biggest money maker of parenting literature and advice concerns sleep. If you are a relatively recent parent, then you know about the maniacal obsession that exists with infant sleep in this country. There are so many schools of thought, and so many "programs" or "strategies" to train children to sleep "correctly." And so many definitions of correct.

I've done lots and lots of reading about sleep, and paid attention to our experience with Kai, as well as to the experiences of parents we know in real life and literally hundreds of other parents on the bulletin boards at ovusoft.com (my favorite support network). I've ordered a book from Australia that I couldn't buy here and I've obsessed with the best of them, not because I generally have a problem with the way Kai sleeps, but because I want to do what's best for him.

Here's the conclusion I've come to: sleep development is not linear, and is not entirely in the control of parents. The best strategy for a parent/baby couple is whatever strategy works. If that's the swing, that's the swing. If the crib, then the crib. If it's holding your little one, well, then, hold your little one. There seem to be some babies who are outliers, who either sleep really, really well from the get-go with rare deviations from that pattern or who persistently wake up once an hour all night and catnap through the day, seemingly regardless of the various strategies employed by their parents. Most babies, though, whether their parents sleep train them or not, seem to go through phases of sleeping better and worse, and, eventually by the time they are a few years old, can fall asleep well on their own.

So I have decided to completely disregard the school of thought that says my child must fall asleep a certain way, otherwise his "sleep associations" will be "bad" ones. Somehow he manages to fall asleep sometimes by himself (not most of the time, but every so often), sometimes by nursing to sleep, sometimes with a pacifier, sometimes while one of us wears him, sometimes by having me rock him and sing to him. Sometimes in the car, sometimes in large groups of people, sometimes in a dark, quiet room with white noise playing.

Lest you think he's one of those "easy babies" for whom sleep comes easily, let me correct you at this point. This kid can resist sleep with the best of them. It's just that I've concluded that there is nothing wrong with helping my baby to sleep. With the exception of the past week or two, during which he's had a cold and been teething, he generally was waking twice nightly to nurse. With co-sleeping and nursing side-lying, I never even really woke up. He's still very young, and breastmilk digests super fast, so I assume he's hungry when he wakes. I know some little ones can go longer stretches without eating, and heck, maybe he could, too, but my instincts tell me he's truly hungry.

Some nights lately, he's woken up multiple times each hour between midnight and 5am. That's harder. Much harder. Much, much harder. I decided to take a wait and see approach and it's already getting better (last night we went back to two wake-ups, but I fully expect that tonight could be another long night). But you know what? Like I said before, he's teething and just got over a cold. He's also at a classic age for sleep "regression" - there's SOOO much going on for babies his age developmentally and all the changes they experience in their sight, hearing, touch, and cognition get processed during those sleeping hours. They "rehearse" new developmental moves like the motions involved in rolling over or sitting up or walking. Given what goes on around four months, it really is no wonder to me that he's somewhat restless. When he wakes up normally, I nurse him back to sleep. Even if it's just for comfort, I'm okay with that. Because of the combination of his reflux and my continued oversupply, though, I have to be careful not to overfeed him. So given the way he's been waking at night lately, I nurse if it's been two hours or more since he last ate, and I rock him back to sleep if it's been less than that.

As far as naps go (another obsession of us new parents), mostly if we wear him or hold him, he'll sleep for up to two or even three hours at a time. Every once in a while, I can put him down after he's asleep and he stays that way. Mostly, though, if he's not held he sleeps for 20-45 minutes whereas if he's held he'll sleep for up to three hours. We're blessed that Bob stays home full-time so we can support this styles of napping. On weekends I take almost all the naps, and as long as I don't resist the pattern (consistent with what the experts say about sleep patterns, Kai has minor awakenings after 5, 10, and 20 minutes - sometimes he needs help returning immediately to sleep, sometimes he does it on his own), I find that I can sit and read the NY Times on my iPhone, or sit and meditate while I hold him, or, if he's being extra cooperative, I can lie down holding him and take a nap myself.

As a working mom, I actually particularly appreciate the time at night when I nurse Kai, and the hours I spend holding him for his naps. At the advice of a yoga teacher, I try to focus on the feeling of his little body in my arms, memorizing it for the day he's too cool for hugs or the day after he leaves for college, when I will remember this time not for the sleep deprivation, but for the sheer joy and love and privilege of parenting an infant, a little creature who exists still with no malice or ill-will, who is whole and perfect, and whose needs I happen to be perfectly created to meet.

I write all of this not so much to say that what I am doing is right or wrong, but more to say that what has become important to me is trusting my instincts. I do my homework, and I pay a lot of attention to the cues that Kai gives me. I'm happiest when I accept him and his sleep (and everything about him) exactly as it is, and meet his needs based on that acceptance.

Love
There's little else to say than that word. I love Kai more abundantly than I ever knew it was possible to love.

Babies
I have also become, for the first time in my life, utterly obsessed with babies. When I find out someone is pregnant, I go nutty. I diligently check other people's baby blogs for the latest on their wee ones (my favorites are those that my friends Karen, Kris, and Rebecca keep for their progeny).

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Daddy Diaries: The Many Moods of Kai

Here are some pics from the last few weeks that highlight Kai's ever-changing moods.....



I let him try out sitting in the big person chair this day. I'll call this one bored. Or possibly confused:




Taking a bath with mommy. Definitely concerned or frightened. Demon eyes are a bonus:




This one I'll call dignified (but it's probably a repeat of confused):




Seriously distressed (I blame the hat):




Finally, my favorite. Super-duper happy:


I have much video to share, but I haven't figured out how to sufficiently compress the video so that it's small enough to post. I'll have to consult with Lauren and one of us will post it soon.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Daddy Diaries: Sickness, Bottle Feeding & The Weimar Republic

In the spirit of family togetherness, Kai & Lauren & I are all sharing a head cold right now.

Blergh.

In other news, Kai and I have finally agreed to terms for this whole bottle-feeding thing. Actually, it's less of an agreement and more of a series of decrees made by Kai that I never agreed to, but reluctantly observe because I have little choice. Not unlike the terms imposed on Germany post-WWI. Except I'm not angry. And I don't owe Kai reparations. In any case, the agreement goes something like this:
  1. There will be no bottle-feeding unless you sing to me.
  2. Bottle-feeding will not be successful unless you are bouncing, swaying, or rocking.
  3. I will only open wide when I feel like it.
  4. I reserve the right to spit milk at you if the mood strikes me.
  5. The bottle nipple will be chewed on, rolled around in my mouth, and clamped down upon if I so desire.
  6. Just because I get milk from the bottle doesn't mean I'm going to swallow it.
  7. The terms of this agreement are by no means final; I may tweak, modify, change, or alter this agreement as often as I like. Especially if I'm cranky.

I do have to say that, on the whole, these terms are not too bad. Kai typically drinks 10-15 ounces of milk per day when Lauren is away. All of his particular wants around feeding are a small price to pay for a happy, well-fed child.

As soon as I have the energy to mount a search for our missing camera, I'll post some more photos/video of Kai in action.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Chatty Little Guy

video

:) Finally got this to upload by reducing the image quality. It's from a few weeks ago (when Kai was, hmm, 10 weeks old). I discovered that my voice can get very high pitched and silly when I talk to babies! Kai LOVES the changing table. LOVES it.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Daddy Diaries: A New Seat and A New Toy

A quick post for those of you demanding more pictures.....

Here's one of Kai's first attempts at sitting in his new Bumbo:


And here's our little bear with his new wind-up musical bear:


Kid just gets cuter every day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Daddy Diaries: Parenting is a Contact Sport

Make no mistake about it, parenting can be painful. Physically.

Both Lauren and I have nursed sore backs from carrying Kai around all day. Lauren's shoulders and my biceps occasionally ache as well. Our dear son's freakishly fast-growing fingernails have been known to latch on to arms, breasts, and even faces. But by far the most fearsome weapon in Kai's arsenal of pain is his head. One sneak attack from his surprisingly hard noggin can leave me reeling. Yesterday morning he whacked me so hard on the bridge of the nose that tears sprang into my eyes (I was also laughing hysterically, which may have contributed).

Here's a recent pic of me trying to burp Kai, while hiding from the wrath of his steel-plated melon:




Owie.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A New Trick!

Kai rolled over this morning for the first time, from his tummy to his back. He's been working on it for a few days and when it finally happened, he looked mighty overwhelmed by his first step to mobility. Mom and dad realized that soon, he'll be rolling from back to tummy, and that means we're gonna have to finally get around to doing some baby-proofing. Oy. I've got some pics and video to post from the last week or so...will try to do that tonight.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cross Your Fingers!

For those who need their fix, more pictures from last week of the little man, wearing the sweater and booties my mom made for him (we'll post more over the weekend):



Bob carrying Kai in the Moby...I'm so proud of him for learning to use it:


Well, the breastshields aren't going to cut it. No pumping for me, hand expression it is. The good news is that I'm consistently getting 3-4+ ounces of milk per session, which is plenty. I'm going to see my Lactation Consultant soon to see if there are any things I can be doing to improve efficiency, output, or the rapidly developing repetitive stress injuries in my hands!

The bad news...a couple of our bottles of milk soured well before they should have. I nearly cried when we dumped them, and was impressed when I didn't, but I am getting considerably more practical about all of this and much less emotional. I am hoping that if we push the milk to the back of the fridge from the front, and/or store in glass containers, that will solve the problem. If not, then the problem is likely something called excess lipase in my milk, which starts breaking down the fat and leading to a sour smell/taste. Doesn't actually spoil the milk, but Kai flat out refused to take one of his bottles today and it turned out to be one that smelled slightly sour. I don't blame him. I wouldn't want sour tasting milk either. If it is excess lipase, scalding the milk before storing it will solve the problem, though it will also reduce the nutritional and immunological benefits a little bit (apparently not an issue unless one is exclusively pumping).

So anyway - cross your fingers that it's just a storage issue. We can scald the milk, but it would definitely be a PITA.

Can I just say - three cheers for my determination, and also for my body and its excess supply, which made it possible for Kai to gain weight, even when not latching well, and is making hand expression a reasonable alternative for me!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Back at Work...

Day one at work wasn't so bad. I have the world's most amazing, supportive boss. I'm using some vacation time to work short hours for a little while, upon her encouragement to do so. Called Medela this morning, since my package never arrived over the weekend - they agreed that they had made an error, refunded the cost of shipping, and said the breastshields should be here Wednesday. In the meantime, I had some success with manually expressing milk - 11 ounces today while I was at work. Not bad for my first day.

The Daddy Diaries: Day One

Lauren returned to work today, so it's my first day as a full-time stay-at-home super-Dad (I tried to think of ways to get some more hyphens into that sentence, but alas, my creativity runneth dry).

I was a bit nervous about me and the little monkey making it through the day without Lauren here to feed him, soothe him, and generally be fantastic. But with Lauren due home in a couple of hours and Kai fast asleep, we've had a pretty successful first day if I might say. Some highlights of our day: an enormously long (2+ hours) nap this morning (for Kai, not me), a walk to the Arlington Town Hall to pay the excise tax on the car, several successful bottle feedings, and a lot of time spent bounce-bounce-bouncing (I knew I could get some more hypens in this post somewhere) on the exercise ball while wearing him in the Moby wrap and listening to a looping white noise track on iTunes.

We'll see how tomorrow goes....

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I'm in Love

Kai's taking a nap on me in the Moby right now...he's about to wake up for his last meal of the evening before I put him to bed, and I just keep looking down at him and kissing his cheek and feeling completely, totally in love. He is the most precious, adorable, wonderful, soft, good-smelling gift I've ever received. I can't believe that we made him, and I can't believe I grew him (and am still growing him!). He's perfect.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Kai (at 10 weeks) and Friends

I had yet another reminder yesterday about why I love my husband so much, and why I'm so excited that Kai will get to have him as a full-time dad. Bob decided it was important to gather all of Kai's animal friends in one location for a photo shoot:


(This, of course, made me think of the time, shortly after we had moved in together, when I arrived home to discover Bob in our room, with the two big bears that we had (seen in the center of the pics above), seated in a circle on the bed.

"What's going on?" I asked.

"Summit of the Bears," he replied, knowing this would delight me (I'm really a two-year old at heart).

"What are you all discussing at this summit?"

"Inter-bear racism."

In addition to Kai's animal friends, he met one of his human friends, Joellen, for the first time on Friday. Jo, who works for public radio's Marketplace, sang Kai what she called a Marketplace rap. The second picture is quintessential Jo, and is, I think, a perplexed Kai deciding that he likes this kooky chic.