Monday, June 27, 2011

What's a baby to do ...

... when she's bored and the weekend weather is crappy?

Play with Daddy - of course!

Daddy can tickle your belly ....

... tell funny jokes ....

... and make you fly through the air ....

... it sure is fun to be Daddy's little girl!!

Long time, no post

It has been pretty quiet here on the Gottwoods blog, but in real life, we've been pretty busy!

Probably the most exciting/terrifying thing that has happened is that Phoebe is now mobile.  Last Wednesday, she took her first faltering crawl forward.  By Thursday she was crawling multiple "steps" but was still flinging/belly flopping herself the last few inches.  Over the weekend she turned into a crawling machine.  We were pretty amazed at how fast it seemed to happen, but nobody was more shocked than Danger.  Here is a short video from last Thursday.  You can see Phoebe's early technique of crawling until she is within one body-length of something and then flinging herself forward the last little bit.  At this point, Danger was still quick enough to get out of the way

Jeremy and I were fairly unprepared for the munchkin to mobilize and we've had to step up our planned time table for baby-proofing.  Adding to our panic, today when I went to pick Phoebe up at the babysitter's, she was crawling all over the bouncy seat - crawling on/over things was a skill she did not have when I dropped her off in the morning.  The babysitter said that while the older kids were coloring this afternoon, Phoebe motored over to the table and PULLED HERSELF UP - WHAT!?!?!  At first Jeremy and I were skeptical, but then the little muffin demonstrated her new skill several times at home.  While the implications are nothing short of terrifying, it is also kind of cute.  Every time Phoebe pulls herself up she gets super excited and proud and gets a HUGE smile on her face. 

The conventional wisdom is that kids either develop physical skills or verbal skills early and the other lags behind.  At this rate, Phoebe won't speak until she is twelve.  In the meantime, I think she'll be giving us a run for our money!

It is so hard to be the baby ...

... Phoebe would like you to know that she has NO TOYS to play with and is VERY SAD!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Theory vs. Practice

When we were expecting (we - ha!), a lot of people told us some variation on "there is really nothing you can do to prepare for a new baby".  We thanked them for the advice and dutifully read a selection of baby/newborn books and kind of half-a**ed our way through the online baby class offered by our hospital.  If we lived in a sit-com or movie, I suppose we would have gone to a class where we would have practiced putting diapers on dolls and hilarity would ensue (oh - that dad can't figure out the diaper!  and how funny - that doll's onesie is inside out!).  We would all giggle and then cut to a scene of perfect domestic tranquility: mom, dad and baby all snuggled up reading nursery rhymes and - look despite the inside-out onesie we've actually got this whole baby thing figured out within the span of 30 minutes (minus commercial breaks).  That whole montage my friends ... is a load of crap.

That doll that is So Hard to diaper - HA!  You want to know how you can practice for diapering a baby?  Try to diaper and dress my cat (the squirrelly, bitey one).  Do it while there is an unattended Big Mac on the other side of the room.  That will still be easier than trying to secure a diaper on a 5 month old baby.  Actually, the cat is a pretty good stand in for a five month old.  Try throwing the kitty in the Bjorn and doing the dishes ... let me know how that goes ... you might need to have the nurse dial for you.  Try giving the cat a bath.  Try lulling the sweet kitty to sleep with a snuggle and a reading of Good Night Moon (note that for a truly realistic experience the book should be bacon-scented).  I have not made it to the end of that book in weeks.  Somewhere around saying good night to the mittens, the baby looses her stuff.  I am guessing Danger has a similar tolerance for bed time stories. 

Of course, there are wonderful, amazing moments with the kitty too.  Every night, when he is exhausted, he snuggles up on your lap and purrs.  He knows who you are and gets excited every day when you come home from work. You love the kitty more than life itself and you would throw yourself in front of any coyote that even looked at him funny ... but ... man is that cat exhausting to live with.  Maybe the cat isn't the perfect metaphor for the baby but it does work in a lot of areas (for example, they both seem to enjoy chewing on socks) .

Today when I got to the babysitter's house, her youngest son was throwing up.  She said he'd been complaining of a stomach ache since the night before, but they thought he was just trying to get out of eating dinner (apparently the little guy is not a fan of enchiladas).  So I unexpected ended up with a day with the baby.  We actually had a really good day - we went to Target and got some birthday presents for cousin Nathan, we did a bunch of laundry, we went to my meetings (baby at meetings turns out to be a big hit), and we cleaned up a little around the house.  All in all the little munchkin was pretty easy going (especially compared to how she has been lately).  But when 5:00 rolled around and it was time to go to tot swim, I sent Phoebe and Daddy off without me because I was just completely exhausted. 

I think that part of the exhaustion comes from how active Phoebe is these days.  She has never really been a "snuggly" baby, and now that she can (sort of) move around, she really has no use for down-time.  When you are holding her, she is constantly squirming and wiggling and flinging herself in the general direction of things she would like to eat.  It can be quite the upper-body workout to try to contain all 15+ pounds of baby momentum.  Add to that the fact that the baby doesn't seem to need to nap (unlike her parents!) and by the end of the day I am just worn out.  On days like today when I get up with Phoebe at 5:30 and then watch her all day I end up contemplating a 7:30 bedtime myself. 

Don't get me wrong - I LOVE Phoebe.  I think we have an amazing baby and I am so lucky to get to be her mom.  I love watching her explore and learn new things.  It has been really neat to see her try to figure out the mechanics of motion (and to watch her get really angry when she ends up going backwards instead of forward).  I am grateful that my flexible schedule lets me spend more time with my baby than most working mothers are allowed.  It is just that days like today leave me pretty drained.  When Jeremy comes downstairs from putting Phoebe in her crib, we'll probably have just enough energy to hit the Tivo button and watch one show (if we're feeling especially alert it might even be an hour-long show) and chances are I'll nod off at least once.  Tomorrow we'll get up and start the whole process over again.  And despite the bone-crushing exhaustion, we feel remarkably lucky and blessed.

Large and in charge.

You thought I was kidding about the socks - didn't you?  And those are my good Smart Wools ...

Monday, June 6, 2011

We Clean Up Well (if I do say so myself)

Jeremy's advisor and his wife had their baby boy Avi last week and this Sunday we all headed up to Santa Cruz for his bris.  I kind of figured that the role of a bris these days would be primarily ceremonial with the actual circumcision done in some sort of medical setting.  I was wrong.  After watching that, we decided to raise our kids Presbyterian!  Yikes!  Once the deed was done though, we had a lovely time.  Everyone there was very nice and Phoebe got lots of attention (despite being a major grumpus).  Of course, being darn cute probably helped:

This is the first time that Phoebe has been dressed up and we think she cleans up pretty well!  Of course, we drove her to Santa Cruz in a sleeper and changed into her dress right before the party to avoid any baby "wardrobe malfunctions" involving spit up/drool/what not.  I think that both of my honeys looked super-cute all dressed up for the party.

New Toys!

While my mom was here our neighborhood had their annual garage sale and the weekend after she left the Navy club had their quarterly sale, so we did quite a bit of garage sale-ing the last few weeekends.  [In case you were wondering, getting up early and going garage sale-ing is Jeremy's favorite way to spend a Saturday so he was pretty excited to get to do it two weekends in a row!].  We didn't make out like bandits to quite the degree that we have in the past, but we did get a couple of great toys for Phoebe.  One of the most exciting things we got was an exersaucer - basically a giant circular plastic tray with a seat in the middle and toys all around the outside.  We had wavered on whether to purchase one of these things since they are huge and take up a ton of space.  However, our friends all vouched for the exersaucer claiming hours of baby entertainment.  Having just endured sick baby we were all for anything that promised to allow us to be physically detached from the baby for any period of time, so we took the plunge.  It was the best $10 we ever spent.  Seriously.  Phoebe LOVES this thing.  According to some "experts" (like doctors and what not) apparently the exersaucer is bad for babies' development and puts them in an unnatural position so you aren't technically supposed to use them - especially not often.  We figure that on the whole we're pretty good parents - we only let Phoebe eat paint chips after we have verified that they are lead free and we regularly cut her off after one episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey - so a few minutes in the exersaucer now and then can't be THAT bad for her.  Besides, now that Phoebe is in the exersaucer, Danger has his chair back:

Phoebe: "YAY!" Danger: "Really?  You guys thought this baby thing was a good idea?"

Phoebe does think that maybe the kitty is hogging the bouncy seat these days.  I mean Danger should have to share toys too!

Cat in seat, baby on floor.  Danger sees nothing wrong with this situation.

We did get one toy just for the cats.  While we were on our home improvement streak, we picked up a couple of bird feeders and hung them by our living room window.  The cats were pretty excited ... for about 10 minutes ... then they went back to napping.  We're sure that the bird feeders will be a hit - in small doses at least.  The birds seem to enjoy them as evidenced by the spilled seed all over our sidewalk these days.

The mighty hunters wait for their prey

Jeremy gives me a lot of crap for being a pushover for adorable, sad animals (usually in regards to how we ended up with a third cat) but I have to say he definitely lost some of his moral authority this weekend.  We had to go to Petsmart to get our special cat litter (that's right, not only do our cats need ridiculously expensive prescription food, but there is only one litter that they find acceptable for creating their clump masterpieces).   It just so happened that this weekend was also rabbit adoption weekend.  Each rabbit had its story printed out over its cage - a large number of the rabbits had previously been featured in ads using the words "fryer" and "roaster" and normally the dinner plate would be Jeremy's preferred way of encountering bunnies.  Something about their little beady eyes must have gotten to him though, because as we were heading toward the litter section he said "It's too bad we could never bring a rabbit home to the cats, because those guys were really cute.  And they're litter trained".  After we picked up our two 40 pound bags of Princess Kitty Butt (that's not the real name of the litter, but I always forget what it is actually called) we stopped by the adopt-a-cat room.  There were two absolutely adorable kittens and I made a joking comment about taking them home.  Jeremy must have thought I was serious because he started talking about how it might be a good idea to get the kittens "for Phoebe".  He thought that Phoebe could grow up with the kittens and they would all be great friends.  Now I may be a total sucker for a stray (I did bring Jeremy home after all), but even I am not prepared to own FIVE cats - I think that definitely would put us into a questionable category.  A category that contains most of the people featured on Hoarders.  Luckily, we left Petsmart without a new addition to the family and I am officially no longer taking crap about being the sucker for animals in the family :) 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sleep Regression, Teething and Ear Infections - OH MY!

It has been quite the week over here at the Gottwoods.  First, Grandma Joyce was here and we all had a lot of fun!  The day before Grandma arrived, we got a BIG box in the mail with a bunch of toys and clothes for Phoebe and a bunch of Girl Scout Cookies for Jeremy.  The cookies were the most important part since they were Jeremy's fee for the visit - they got here just in time :) 

While my mom was here we worked her pretty hard!  My poor mom has been to Monterey to visit twice and she has gotten to do ZERO touristy stuff - we always put her to work as soon as she rolls into town.  During her first visit she helped wrangle the world's most colicky baby.  During this visit our big project was cleaning, organizing and adding storage to the utility/laundry room.  This took a little longer than it might have since I didn't really have a plan ahead of time, so we spent a good day driving around considering different storage options.  In the end, we went with a ClosetMaid system from Target and I think it is going to work out really well!  I took some "before" pictures, so as soon as I finish up the last few things I'll post a before/after spread.  Of course, no visit from Grandma would be complete without a little shopping and cooking.  We ran tons of errands and made/froze food for both the baby and the grown ups. 

Phoebe enjoyed Grandma's visit a lot.  It took her a couple of days to remember my mom and get over her "stranger wariness" but I think it helped that Grandma kept promising her a pony (Jeremy points out that he thinks pony burgers sound delicious!).  It was nice for us to have a spare set of hands for helping with the baby - Phoebe is still a tad high maintenance.  Jeremy is finishing up his quarter, so while he worked on projects, my mom and I tried to keep Phoebe entertained.  This was especially hard since Grandma's visit coincided with the four/five month sleep regression.  UGH.  For those of you without small children, there are a couple of times during the first year (usually some time around four months and some time around nine months) when a baby's sleep habits just go nuts.  The explanation is that these time periods also involve major milestones/development and the baby's brain is just so busy their sleep patterns get all messed up.  In Phoebe's case, this meant she went from being pretty easy to put down with a predictable waking pattern to all out ridiculousness on the sleep front.  One night she was up every two hours.  Not ok.  It has definitely been rough on Jeremy and me.

On top of the sleep, Phoebe has been teething FOREVER.  And still no teeth.  She produces copious amounts of drool and chews on everything in sight (not to mention a noticeable uptick in grumpiness) but all she has to show for it are the same little pre-tooth bumps that have been there for weeks.  We're hoping those little guys poke through soon.  For everybody's sake! 

Because sleep regression and teething weren't quite enough, Phoebe also got an ear infection.  The last few days my mom was here, the little munchkin started to run a low-grade fever and to get even fussier than she had been.  This fussiness included the inability to sleep unless being physically held by either Jeremy or myself.  We spent a couple of pretty long nights snuggling Phoebe all night long just so she could get some shut eye (she would scream the instant we tried to put her down no matter how sound asleep she was).  After a few days of managing the fever with Tylenol and snuggles (per the suggestion of the nurse line at the doctor's office), we took Phoebe to the pediatrician.  It turns out the little pumpkin has her first ear infection and (therefore) her first prescription for antibiotics.  Luckily, she does not have her momma's allergy for amoxicillin!  We are on day three of the antibiotics and Phoebe is doing much better.  The fever is definitely gone, but we're still having some sleep issues and some grumpiness/inconsolability issues.  Of course, some of that is probably left over from sleep regression/teething, but it sure would have been nice if the prescription made EVERYTHING better :) 

So, you can see why the blog hasn't been updated in a while.  In fact, I am not sure this update makes any sense - I am still a bit sleep deprived :)  Of course, through all the grumpiness and sleep regressing, there is still plenty of adorable baby-ness going on.  Enough adorableness that we've pretty much transitioned from considering the "raised by wolves" technique of parenting to just wishing there was summer sleep-away camp for teething infants.