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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Life of the Party

Lauren is asleep in her party dress as I type this. Her Daddy put her to bed wearing it, along with her matching panties over her onesie, and her matching socks because she was so peacefully sleeping he didn't want to disturb her. The hat did come off though. She's tuckered out! (I don't even want to know if her diaper has been changed, let's tell ourselves it has.)

Tonight all 3 of us went to L. & R.'s rehearsal dinner. We have discovered the secret to a happy Lauren is keeping her well fed. However, it's not politically correct nor polite to whip out a breast at the dinner table, so I pumped beforehand and Ryan gave her her bottle (the 3rd bottle of her life). This worked out well and she sat there, full and happy, watching everyone else eat their solid food. After dinner, we played a bit of pass the baby, and at the end of the evening, people expressed regret about not getting a chance to hold her. On the way out of the restaurant, perfect strangers stopped us and wanted to see her face (her hat was covering it) and ask us about her and said how cute she was and what pretty little lips she has.

On the way home, Ryan and I were talking about two related phenomena in casual relationships. One situation, which I encountered today, is when you see someone whose face you recognize, but you can't quite place how you know them. Certain bits of knowledge about the person are even gleaned, such as you might remember that this person is generally in a pleasant mood, or that you had some past minor conflict with them. The majority of the time, I find that I know these people because they work in a store or business that I frequent, and their presence in that place is familiar to that place only. Taken out of their native habitat, I can't relate them to their new surroundings. The dissonance is troubling and the fear is that they know exactly who I am and that I SHOULD know who they are, and they will assume I do, creating an embarassing moment when I either pretend to meet them for the first time or admit to having forgotten not only their name, but their whole story.

The other situation this reminded us of is the "I know you too well to ask your name" scenario. Examples of this include neighbors you've met while walking the dog, and you know each other's dog's names and have had long chats about vets, training, etc. but at this point, it's too late to do the "by the way, my name is __
thing. Also storekeepers at places where you regulary shop who you become friendly with because you're there all the time. You only know their name if they wear a nametag, and they only know yours from your credit card but you start chatting about things each time you go in, and become buddies. However, if you have an unusual name like mine and they only see your name written, they are too embarassed to try to pronounce it. If they CAN pronounce it, you will know right away because they will read your name out loud from the credit card and immediately tell you a story about someone they once knew with your same name, and ask if you, too, are Swedish, or if you, too, have ____ as a nickname, etc.

Normally, there are 2 ways to help with these introductions. If Ryan doesn't know the person, I can whisper to him that I've forgotten her name, in which case he can stick out his hand and say "Hi, I'm Ryan" and he'll get the other person to reveal her identity. If we want, say, the neighbor with the dog to learn our names, we can talk about each other in front of him, by name. So I could say, "Oh, Ryan took Jake to the vet last time, didn't you, hon?" and the neighbor will catch on. The problem is with a name like mine, people often meet me, and then I think their brain processes the introduction as "this is Ryan, and his wife with that name I've never heard of before." Then they either tell themselves "sounds kind of like Bridget" and then call me Bridget next time they meet me, or they just give up entirely and never try to say my name.

With naming our daughter Lauren, we've at least spared her those kinds of problems. I'm sure some people will spell it Lauryn or Loren or will call her Laura or Lorie by mistake, but she can live with that. ;)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Doody Duty

Some musings on diapers:
I always try, whenever possible, to be as environmentally conscious as I can. I will carry my bottle or can back from lunch until I can find a recycle bin. In college, my friends and I were in an environmental club. I don't eat meat and I scorn gas-guzzling SUVs. Therefore, in that vein, I fully expected to use reusable, washable diapers on my children. I am told that there is a cloth diaper service in LA that costs under $20 a week which I guess is even less money than buying disposables.

I was also told we should use disposables at the beginning, though, because babies go through so many and the pile would build up too much if they were cloth. We were lucky enough to have 3 baby showers thrown for us, and at each, we got-you guessed it-disposable diapers. We had over 400 of them. We also got a diaper genie, over 1,000 disposable wipes & a wipe warmer (more on that below). So I figured, great, one less thing to spend money on, we'll use those until they're gone and then try the cloth service. But then this weekend we were just given some more diapers in size 3. At this point, I don't know if we will ever switch to cloth. She seems to have a lifetime supply of disposable! And we are always thrilled to get hand-me-downs from our friends, less things we need to buy. So we will keep accepting the diapers when people bring them. (I guess people buy the jumbo packs and their kids grow out of them before they can use them up.)

Also, we didn't know, until a more experienced mother was visiting and told us, that at first we had been putting the wrong size Lauren. We were using size 1, when we had a whole unopened packet of size "n". It turns out "n" is for up newborns up to 8 pounds and "1" is for newborns up to 11 pounds, iirc. So we should have been using up the "n"s first. Now we know. And we've also discovered that Pampers seem to be a bit more absorbent than Huggies. For the first few weeks of her life, she never had a leak or stain on her clothes, and that was with the Pampers Swaddlers, size 1 and then size n. The first time she finally had a wet onesie, it was while wearing a Huggies. And it has happened a few other times this week, while we are going through the Huggies, size n. Don't know if she has outgrown size "n" in that brand (they seem to fit though) or if it's just the way her shape is with that brand or what. But if we do purchase more disposables, I think we'll go with Pampers. Oh and Luvs were okay, too.

Re: the wipes warmer, Ryan wanted to get this for her in the worst way, because our friends mentioned their son used to cry when getting changed until they got one. My attitude about it was, there are going to be lots of harsh realities of life, unpleasant little things that will happen to Lauren. She needs to get used to a cold butt. And also, we won't be able to take the wipes warmer when we're travelling, so if she's spoiled by it, then she'll scream when we're changing her out in public, which would be worse than her just getting used to cold wipes ALL the time. I needn't have worried. Turns out the wipes warmer does warm the wipes, but they are only warm on your hand when you grab them out of the container. By the time you move the 5 feet from warmer to baby's bottom, they get cold. So I don't know what the point is. But Ryan's happy, he got his wish. Lauren cries about 50% of the time she gets changed, whether it's cold or warm or in between. It depends more on how tired she is than on the equipment conditions. ;)

Monday, April 24, 2006

technical difficulties

Something is wrong with our DSL. I don't know what, but last week I had to call SBC and they had me do all kinds of weird seemingly unrelated things (like verify my virus software was running in the system tray) and then reboot, and then re-login to the same page I set up my SBC account, and finally it was working again. Then it was out for another few days, during which we went out of town, then I was about to call them and though I'd try turning off the modem, then the computer, then waiting. I got distracted and when I turned everything on just now, voila, everything works again! But I wish I knew why it STOPPED working and how to prevent it.

Anyway, we went away this weekend, to the OC to visit Ryan's family, and then on to SD to visit mine. At Ryan's aunt's house, we took a few pictures and so did they. I have a silver camera, and so do they. I asked Ryan before we left, to please pack my camera and bring it out to the car. He thought he did but instead of putting my Nikon in the bag, he grabbed his aunt's Canon. We did not notice this until we got all the way to SD, and so we had to stop again on Sunday on the way back and switch. I don't think her Grandma minded much getting to see Lauren twice in one weekend!

While we were in SD, I did a little shopping at the outlets and got some good deals. Found some shoes for Ryan that were only $11.64! He wears the same kind of black Bass dress shoe until it wears out, and then buys an identical or similar replacement for around $90. This was in the 75% off clearance rack, and then I had a coupon for an extra 20% off that price. I also found a sun bonnet for Lauren at the Carters outlet for $3.21. She has some very cute hats she's received as gifts but her skull is so tiny that they cover her eyes. I wanted to make sure her head was covered at the wedding we'll be going to this coming weekend, since it's outside. She has fair skin like me and I can only assume, would sunburn if not protected.

I was trying to find a dress for myself to wear to this same wedding, but was unsucessful. The problem is, it needs to be able to button down or somehow have access for me to feed Lauren without getting completely undressed and naked. I'm probably going to have to sit in the car and do this in between the wedding and reception, and at other points in the evening. And also it's depressing buying a dress in a bigger size because, one can only hope, I will be a lot smaller in the coming months so I'd be spending a lot of money to only wear something once. (It's not the wedding of a family member, so it's not like I'll be in their album for eternity or anything.)

I'm not allowed to do any exercise until 6 weeks postpartum, which is in 2 1/2 more weeks. So until then, I still have the tummy that looks like I'm a few months pregnant. Do not want to draw attention to tummy, or have any strangers ask me when I'm due (though I doubt they will if I actually have Lauren in my arms). I may have to go with a skirt set in my closet that fits, but is a little more casual than I'd normally wear to a wedding. My rule is if I'd consider wearing it to work, it's not dressy enough for this kind of thing. (I can also wear jeans to work.)

While shopping, I did find some "yoga pants" at the Gap oulet, and a "Gap stretch" skirt, and a shirt with a zipper in front at Eddie Bauer. Also at Eddie Bauer, a linen dress in a big size that was so cheap ($12.99) that I don't mind if I only wear it a few times and HOPE I can only wear it a few times before it looks huge on me. ;)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Sleep

I've been awake since 5 a.m and I'm not headed out to ski! (Really, skiing and international flights used to be the only things that got me out of bed before 7 a.m.)

Last night Lauren went to bed around 11:30 and woke up at 5. I think she tired hersself out yesterday. She was probably having, according to L. and Nonnon a "growth spurt day" because she feasted all day, at one point for over an hour, always with less than an hour in between. Which made it difficult to get anything done because I had to sit and hold her little head. I can read a magazine, or check email but it's difficult to write back with only one hand.

Right now she is FAST asleep in bed tucked in next to Daddy. It's cute, they are facing the same way and both deeply asleep. She's his little mini-me if he were a bald little girl! I am not back in bed yet because when I changed her in bed, in between getting the old diaper off and putting the new one on, Lauren made a little mess. Some of it got on the sheet and I am not about to go back to sleep on that! Ryan is blissfully sleeping through the whole thing, and it's on my side of the bed not anywhere near him, so instead of waking him up I will let him sleep through it and change the sheets in the morning. We just changed the sheets the day before yesterday, too! Oh well.

And this brings me to my next point-blissfully sleeping Ryan can sleep through Lauren crying in the night, whereas I with my new "mothering hormones" wake up several times when she makes any kind of stir. I guess it's because he doesn't have breasts. ;)

The kind of sleep I am getting, or NOT getting, I've only experienced a few times in my life. The last time I can think of, I was in Pisa. I had flown in to Pisa at midnight and was supposed to catch a 5:45a train the next morning to Siena to be there in time for a conference that started at 8:00a, changing trains once. So this meant I had to get up at 4:45a in order to shower, check out, and catch a taxi to the train station. I was convinced that since my body would not accept ~4 hours of sleep, I would oversleep. So I set the alarm in the room, the alarm on my phone, and asked for a wakeup call. Despite this, I woke up just about every 10 minutes throughout the morning. I was never able to relax enough to get good sleep, and that's what I feel like most nights now.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"Good baby"

I have been told that Lauren is a "good baby", the corollary implication being that there must exist "bad babies". I feel very sorry for these children, if their parents already see them as negative, manipulative beings. Really, all a newborn can do is eat, relieve themselves, sleep and make little wiggles and beginings of sounds. We can attribute all kinds of adult behaviors to them, such as "she likes you", "she's so good to sleep through this", etc. but really, they are not doing anything to impress their parents, they are simply living their lives. It is the optimism of the caretakers that assigns this label of "good" to otherwise normal, standard baby behaviors.

That having been said, I am pleased that Lauren's physiology allows her to sleep for comparatively long stretches at night (sometimes 5 hours) so that I also can (theoretically) sleep. In actuality, I find that I cannot simply "turn off" and go to sleep when she does, so that old advice of "sleep when the baby sleeps" is sooner said than done!

We have tried our best to anticipate and meet her basic needs, so she doesn't cry very much, since a simple "Eh" will usually be rapidly heeded. However, nothing can be done to console her when she is having her diaper changed, and that is when the loud wails can be heard. At times she relaxes and seems to forget that she does not like having her genitals wiped at. (No, the wipes warmer did not help and in fact, the wipes are cold by the time they go from the warmer to her body.) So in this sense, if you were observing her at most of her daily routine, and not present for a typical diaper change, you might be tempted to say "WHAT A GOOD BABY!"

Cut off from the outside world

My DSL connection went down for about 2 days and it felt like pioneer times! I had to resort to such archaic communication forms as the telephone (through which I eventually obtained the needed information to restore the connection) and even FACE-TO-FACE VISITS!

Lauren has had more visitors lately and is expecting even more in the coming evenings. In case you wanted to see her, yes, it is appropriate to call us now and you won't be disturbing us. If you are, I simply won't pick up the phone. ;) I usually don't have the cordless near me when it rings, so it's either convenient for me to pick up the corded phone, and I do, or it's inconvenient so I just let it ring into the answering machine. Either way, unless you're calling at 3 a.m. or something, you're probably not going to bother us at this point.

YOU'RE not going to, but sales calls will! I'm on the do-not-call list and every "do not annoy me" list in existance (which means I get far less junk mail than, say, my mother-in-law who was staying with us for 8 months but moved out 2 months ago, yet gets far more sales crap clogging up the mailbox than I do). Yet, somehow I have been getting sales calls lately from political interest groups and people conducting polls. For a friend, I will gladly chat, even welcome the interuption if it is interupting. But for a call-bank person, I will feel annoyed even if I was doing absolutely nothing, standing inches from the phone and wide awake.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Nonna Grammy

Q: Who is this "Nonnon" character?
A: My mother called her Italian grandmother "Non-non" (sp? I don't think they ever wrote it down) which is an affectionate way of saying Nonna, Italian for grandmother. So she wants to be called this herself now. I thought about it, and probably when I'm a grandmother, I will want to be called Grammy, because that is what I called mine.

BTW Nonnon is pronounced like French "non", not "non" like "non-fat". ;) And maybe it is Parmiagiana for grandmother, not Italian? By that I mean, the official Italian word is Nonna, but the dialect from Parma, where my family is from, may have it as Nonnon. So Monique, if you're reading this, email and let me know if it is.

The Most Photographed Woman in America

...is not Britney Spears, not Julia Roberts but LAUREN! I take pictures of her every day to email to her Daddy while he's at work, and to her Nonnon. I do not share them with people every day but they are taken every day, so if you want your baby pictures fix, email & let me know and I will "share the album" on Kodak EasyShare. Last night we did a photo shoot of her in an Easter basket. The pix didn't come out as great as we hoped (lots of crying wrinkled faces, eyes shut, etc.) but we have 1 or 2 good ones.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

An Embarassement of Riches

The little girl has more clothes than we do! Probably more than both of her parents combined! She has over 60 outfits, most of them gifts or hand-me-downs from Alexa. Luckily, she was born small enough to fit in all of her size newborn clothes. They are all adorable, and the weird thing is that in all of the gifts we've received, no one's gotten her the same outfit.

My friend R. had a funny quote about his baby. He said "People at my office who wouldn't even give me 50 cents for the vending machine were buying my son clothes". It's true that all kinds of presents pour in from unexpected places. Yesterday my dad came home with an outfit for her from one of his employees who got a "granddaughter gift". And a friend of Ryan's aunt & mother got her an outfit and knitted her a blanket and cap. I have met the woman only once. It was nice of her to do.

Luckily, Ryan's cousin is having a baby in 2 months so she will get to inherit Lauren's newborn clothes. I am going to keep some of the very cutest things in case there is a little sister in a few years. (We are planning to have 2 children and space them 4-5 years apart if possible.) It will be tough deciding what to give away! But I will be excited to get rid of the large things like that rocker! (Not in time for the cousin, but maybe when K. has a baby?)

2 suitors!

I'm going to keep with my friend Esteban's (not his real name) tradition of nor mentioning people by name w/o their permission. So on Monday, M. came to visit, bearing gifts, and was thrilled that Lauren did not cry when she held her. Then J. came over for dinner (pizza, thank you Dad!). Jake is especially fond of "Aunt J_" and was delighted to see her but disappointed that she, too, found Mommy's pink squeaky "human puppy" to be of interest.

Then yesterday morning, I. came over with her baby boy, who is only a few weeks older than Lauren, but was born smaller so they are now the same size. We have a few cute pictures of the 2 of them in their car seats side by side. I.'s baby wakes her up in the night every hour or two to eat, so she's told me I'm very lucky that Lauren only wakes up once so I have more rest.

Then later that afternoon, L. came over with her baby boy, "R." who is 9 months old now. We have some adorable pictures of the two of them meeting. Lauren actually reached out and touched him. We tease them that they will date when they are older, but now I don't know...I.'s baby could be competition! Two boyfriends for the little girl. ;)

But the BEST part about L. coming over is that it turns out she knows how to install car seats. She actually took a CLASS on how to do it! So she put both of ours in correctly for us last night, so now they are very snug and safe. Ryan has one in his car and I have one in my little 2 seat car, but I have a feeling we may switch cars from time to time. My car is nicer than his ordinarily, but for getting baby seats in and out, his might as well be a Rolls.

Monday, April 10, 2006

24 hour diner, all you can eat buffet

i'm typing this with 1 hand, holding Lauren with the other, allors je m'excuse. i think the little girl is going through her growth spurt because all she wants to do is feast. evvery waking hour. literally. she will eat for 45 minutes, then get a new diaper, fall asleep and then wake up with her mouth wide open like a baby robin. then she falls asleep midway through her meal, until i say "lauren are you done?" and then she wakes up and eats even more voraciously. the upside to all this is that it happens in the daytime. i'm still in the 2 week "recovery" period where i'm not supposed to be up and doing much, which is fine because i spend so much time sitting & feeding her that i couldn't go far. at night we are both tired, and she sleeps for 4-5 hour stretches then. this morning she slept from 12:30-4:30, feasted from 4:30-5:30 and then slept in until 9:30.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

April Fool's Baby Plays Her First Practical Joke

Last night Ryan & I were changing Lauren together. She had just soiled her diaper, or so we thought. We were taking off the diaper when WHAM-she POOPED! AT us! It got all over the changing pad, Ryan's hands, her outfit, and even some got projected a few feet to the edge of the changing table. She looked quite pleased with herself right afterwards. I learned that Dreft stain remover does indeed remove bright yellow stains, if you do laundry immediately.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

One week reflections

One week ago today, I was in a hospital bed in the middle of labor. At about this hour, they were coming in to break my bag of water. And now I have a beautiful sleeping baby in my arms! (As usual lately, I am typing with one hand.)

We have taken to calling her the Pip because she makes little pipsqueak sounds. Her favorite thing is her hands. She does not like to be swaddled because she cannot access her hands to put them in her mouth or reach for things. Her dad gave her a pacifier one night (we are not in agreement about this one-everything I've read suggests waiting at least a few weeks or it causes feeding probs). When it fell out of her mouth, she reached over and tried to put it back in her mouth! This is pretty amazing for a 3 day old infant to do! But she doesn't have the muscle tone yet to get it to her lips, she was aiming it near her nose, then her chin, etc. It was like watching a drunk try to touch his nose in a sobriety test!

We took her to her 1st pediatrician appt. on Wed. and the doctor said she is very healthy. She grew 3/4 inch! She is now 20 3/4 long. She has "big little feet" which seem very long for a newborn. In mutt puppies, you look at their paws to see what mix they probably are and how big they'll grow. If this carries true for humans, then Lauren's tall Dardani genes are showing up!

We took her for her first walk around the block on Thursday and she slept through the whole thing. She has the kind of stroller where the base is also her carseat, but she hates it as a carseat because it restricts her hands. 99% of the time she cries, it is because she doesn't have access to her hands. In her trip to the pediatrician, she started screaming because she couldn't reach her arms to her face. There was nothing we could do about that, short of illegally unbuckling her, so we just let her cry it out, and then put on some classical music, which soothed her.

Friday, April 07, 2006

the outside world

i am getting all of your emails and phone messages, thanks, it's just hard to find time to answer them. and if you call me, chances are it will be when she's nursing, since we seem to spend good frequent chunks of time doing that. so you may not hear back from me for awhile, but i'm still here! and i do appreciate the emails.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Thank you, Mom

Mom, if you are reading this, thanks so much! We couldn't have done these past few days without you.

My mother came up on Monday and stayed with us until today. She cooked and cleaned and held the baby and walked Jake and kept us from getting too cranky (cranky, yes, but no punches thrown!). Ryan & I don't have any relatives in the same county, so it was especially appreciated that she made the 3 hour drive to be here for us.

I am typing this with one hand and holding sleeping Lauren with the other so I should go "sleep when the baby sleeps". Write more tomorrow...Love you Mommy!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Lauren FAQ

Q: What color are her eyes?
A: Blue right now

Q: Have you posted pix anywhere?
A: I have not yet. My mother took 42 pictures both while I was having contractions and then 5 minutes after her birth, and then emailed them to her entire address book without clearing it with me first. I have my hair in knots, I look like crap and I would not have approved her sending them out, especially to people I've never even met before. She sent EVERY picture, not even deleting the worst ones where I look half drunk, etc. And no, she did not ask me. So those pictures are available and if you know my mom and email her, she will send you a link. And has probably done so already. I will not. But I will post some in a few days when I figure out where to upload them. Meanwhile if you're on my gmail list, you probably got one from me. If not email me there at my first name dot gmail dot com and I'll send you one.

Q:Who does she look more like?
A: Ryan, everyone says! She has his eyebrows, forehead, ears, and nose. And possibly my lips, chin and fingers. (Which would also be Grandpa Jimmy's lips, the "Betty chin" from my Grandma" and fingers like me & my Grammy). She also has blue eyes (right now, that could change though) like Grandpa Jimmy and long toes like Ryan's mom.

Q: How is Jake reacting?
A: He's been good! Curious about her but well behaved. It helps that my parents are paying extra attention to him and that I bought him his favorite dog food last week.

Q: How are you feeling?
A: All things considering, it was not so bad. I'm not recovering from a C-section nor stitches, so consider myself very lucky. And I have a lot of help around the house with Ryan taking the week off and my parents here. I do feel weak and have tired muscles but the worst looking thing is the bruises on my hands from the IV and blood draws. Epidurals are a wonderful thing, truly I didn't feel much pain for most of the birth.

Baby Lauren

Lauren Diane Bradley
Born April 1, 2006
1:03 PM
UCLA Westwood Hospital
7 pounds, 13 1/2 ounces
20" long

We are thrilled to meet her at last! She is healthy & at home,
everything went well at the labor and she even brought good luck to
the Bruins as they won their game shortly after she was born!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Off to the Hospital...

We'll see if this is labor or something else. I had really strong contractions every few minutes starting around midnight, even when I took a bath, but they seem to have slowed down now that I have the bag on my shoulder. Labor & Delivery has been called & they know we're on our way in. Keep fingers crossed for us!