Thursday, April 30, 2009

Reading is fun... for 2 seconds

Here's a follow up post to yesterday's about Ben learning to turn pages. Apparently now the only fun thing to do in the universe is turn pages. And the only thing more interesting than the act of turning pages is WHAT'S ON THE NEXT PAGE. It doesn't matter that we're not finished reading the current page, the next page has to be better. Even better than that is the stuff on the page after that. So let's speed through the book, not even bothering to look at the drawings of happy animals frolicking in the field. The purpose of books is only to have pages to turn. Obviously.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Arianne will be so proud!

Monday night Ben and I were looking at a board book and instead of doing it myself, I decided to hold out the page to see if Ben would turn it. Up until now he's just banged books around and chewed on them, like everything else. But Monday night he wrapped his chubby fingers around the page, turned it and then let go. At first I thought it was a fluke, but he's been doing it for two days!

This makes me infinitely happy, not only because it means he's an absolute GENIUS, but also because I'm so looking forward to sharing my favorite books with him. I have big plans for his bedtime stories, once he's old enough. First Harry Potter, then Tiffany Aching and then The Hobbit. Later I can introduce him to Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and Margaret Atwood. Turning pages in board books is his first step on a hopefully lifelong love affair with reading.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Conversations with a baby - Part 3

Scene: I'm preparing Ben a breakfast of oatmeal and applesauce, while he sits in his highchair.

Ben: (whine, whine, whine)

Me: Ben, today for Second Breakfast we have a lovely selection. It features single grain rolled oats mixed with a smooth apple puree. I think you'll find it delightful.

Ben: (whine, whine, whine)

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Nicknames Heath Calls Ben (a very incomplete list):

-Benny Largeman
-Man Cub
-Googly chooberton (I have no idea what that one's about)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Holy %&#@

Thursday Ben leaned in to give me a sloppy kiss. As I've mentioned before, he always grabs something for leverage, usually my hair. This particular kiss was no exception, but he was unusually forceful. He pulled out one of my hairs, root and all.

It's a good thing he can't understand me yet, because he would've picked up a few new colorful words after that.

Friday, April 24, 2009

As in, the one who gave you life

Ben has been babbling up a storm lately. All I hear all day is "da da da da." When I politely mentioned that he may want to start practicing the 'm' sound (as in "ma ma ma ma"), lest his formula supply dry up, he just grinned, as if to say, "Like I'd give you the satisfaction."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cat scratch fever

A rare picture with both cats. Crooks is white. Minnie is dark.

We have two cats who pre-date Ben, Minerva (Minnie) and Crookshanks (Crooks). When we first got them almost three years ago, Crooks was the outgoing one. She would cuddle up to anyone and she was always around. She was more like a dog than a traditional cat. Minnie was the princess. You had to pick her up and pet her on her terms, lest you receive an arm full of scratches as she scampered away. So, as you can imagine, I was more worried about Minnie's reaction to the baby.

However, a very curious thing happened when we brought Ben home: Minnie and Crooks switched personalities. Now Minnie is the friendly, social one. She still wants things her way, but she's willing to let it slide a bit if you'll pet her. During the day, though, Crooks is nowhere to be found. She only emerges for mealtimes and after Ben's gone to bed. People make her skittish.

The most surprising thing is that Minnie actually interacts with Ben. I was not expecting that at all. The first time Pat and Beth brought Colin to our house, when he was no more than three or four months old, Minnie totally freaked out. She hissed at him and then spent the rest of the day hiding under our bed. Now she willingly rubs up against Ben and even tolerates it when he grabs her fur and ears. I guess any attention is better than none when you're desperate. But she's in for a surprise once he can walk.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Memories... light the corners of my mind

I have very little recollection of our first few weeks at home with Ben. There were a lot of visitors, a lot of food and a lot of crying (by both Ben and me), but mostly what I remember is being in massive amounts of pain.

The strange thing is that I remember the hospital stay very clearly. Here are some of those memories (in mostly chronological order):

While I was in labor we had the TV on some news station for background noise (which we needed since, as Heath says, I would've passed the Scientology "silent birth" test). That was only days after John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate, so that was all they were talking about. She will forever be associated with my first labor. And even though I had no intention of voting for them, I certainly wouldn't have after that!

At one point during labor I got really hot. Heath and Bekah alternated wetting wash cloths and putting them on my forehead, neck and chest. Heath was a very good coach and Bekah was a very good nurse.

Transition labor nearly killed me. I didn't realize that's what it was, I just thought the contractions were becoming brutal. It was at that point I asked for an epidural. However, by the time the anesthesiologist got there I was already pushing. She called into the room and my doctor yelled, "We're having a baby!"

I don't really remember seeing Ben for the first time. I was so relieved that it was over and so in awe that I'd done it. Unfortunately after giving birth I needed some serious stitches and I do remember that when I was holding Ben I didn't feel anything and when they took him away to weigh and measure him it was very uncomfortable.

When they took me to my postpartum room they took Ben to the nursery to clean him up and take some vitals. I remember feeling guilty because I didn't miss him. All I wanted to do was eat and watch TV and relax.

I remember that first night feeding him. He started crying afterward and I started to freak out because I had no idea what to do. Then I remembered that babies needed to be burped after they ate. I laid him against my shoulder, patted his back and he burped. Then he stopped crying and I felt the largest sense of accomplishment I think I've ever felt in my life. My baby was crying, I assessed the situation and I did the right thing! I am SUPERWOMAN!

I didn't sleep very much those two days and instead opened my eyes approximately every four seconds to check if Ben was still breathing.

It was so quiet on the postpartum floor, aside from the occasional baby crying.

The first night we spent in the hospital went like this: Ben would cry, Heath would bring him to me to feed him and then Heath would go back to sleep. However, I couldn't even get out of bed on my own, let alone holding a newborn, so I'd yell at Heath to wake up and put the baby back in the bassinet. But Heath is a very deep sleeper, so my yelling didn't wake him. I had to throw leftover Ranch packets at him to wake him up. The second night he put his cell phone on the bedside table and I actually had to CALL HIM from 4 feet away to wake him up.

My first shower after giving birth was the most satisfying shower of my life, even though it took twice the normal time.

Heath changed most of the diapers in the hospital. At one point he was out of the room and I was terrified to change one myself.

I remember feeling so inadequate when it came time to dress Ben in his going home outfit. I had never dressed an infant before and I was afraid of hurting him.

Ben cried at first when we put him in the car seat. As we drove home in the rain he fell asleep, but he woke up and cried every time we stopped for a stoplight.

That's where my memories end. I honestly have no recollection of what happened when we got home. It was so overwhelming and chaotic and I was so exhausted. Perhaps it's for the best that I don't remember.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sleepy McSleeperson

Ben slept from 9pm-7:30am with only two short wake ups at 11pm and 6am. I got 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep! That's about as rare as a unicorn with a dwarf tattoo.

Just wanted to share my joy.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The power of three

Well, Ben has his third cold in a month and a half. We somehow made it through the entire winter without an illness and now all of a sudden spring hits and he's getting sick all the time. I don't think it's allergies because it's not constant and there's a definite beginning and end to the colds. I feel so bad for him, but as usual he's a trooper. He had some trouble staying asleep last night. He woke up multiple times between 7:30pm and 12:30am, but eventually he slept from about 1:30am until 6:00am. That felt like a miracle, because I was fully expecting him to be up about every hour.

We're combating the cold with everything we have. We pulled out the humidifier, we have his mattress tilted up a bit for better drainage and we're making liberal use of the aspirator. You may remember the aspirator debacle from his first cold. We've gotten more adept at using it and Heath even devised a little system. He covers Ben's eyes before bringing out the aspirator. It does work the first couple times, but after a while Ben catches on to it. Oh, well, at least it's a little less snot to end up on my shirt.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Conversations with a baby - Part 2

Ben: Ah gaa goo goo.

Me: You have a very good point.

Ben: Ah gaa goo goo!

Me: You know, maybe that is what the Palestinians should do.

Ben: Ah gaa goo goo.

The previous conversation took place while I was cleaning Ben's poopy diaper, which goes to show you that just because you're in unpleasant circumstances doesn't mean you can't have sophisticated conversation.

Monday, April 13, 2009


If I never have to hear someone say, "That is one under-fed baby!" in jest again, it will be too soon.

We went to my parents' church yesterday for Easter and they got to parade Ben around for all to see. Everybody loved him, but I don't think one single person passed up the chance to comment on his size. Yes, he's a large baby. We know. Trust me, my aching back and knees know.

I realize people are just joking and being a chubby baby isn't the same as being an overweight child or adult. But it makes me feel like they're judging me. I swear, we're feeding him what the doctor recommended. He's just a big kid and always has been.

Oh, and while we're talking about it: Yes, Ben has red hair. No, neither Heath nor I have red hair. Heath has red in his beard and I have some relatives with red hair. Okay? Now we all know.

Maybe I'm just being sensitive, but over seven months of responding to these comments is starting to get on my nerves.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A!

I decided to join the YMCA. Though carrying around a 24 pound seven month old is phenomenal for the biceps (I got guns!), it's terrible for the back and knees. I haven't worked out, aside from the occasional walk, since before Ben was born and I'm starting to feel my inactivity. It doesn't feel good.

So this morning was my first trip to the Y. Obviously children aren't allowed in the work out areas, so this entailed dropping Ben off in the on-site child care room. I was actually fairly nervous about it. It was the first time someone other than family or close friends would be caring for Ben, if only for an hour. I even had a dream last night about one of the workers dropping him. However, when it came time to leave him in the room I had no problem. Even despite the fact that the workers are both old women and when I walked in they had four or five infants in their care, one of whom was screaming.

I've never been one who likes to exercise. It's a chore to me. Something to be done to keep myself healthy, but to be done as quickly and painlessly as possible. So when I realized I was almost done on my machine, I couldn't believe how quickly it'd gone by. I think it's because I was actually sort of enjoying myself. Not the exercise, exactly, but the fact that I was sans baby and doing something for myself. So much of what I do on a daily basis isn't only for me. Sure, doing laundry or cooking dinner benefits me, but it's also for Heath and Ben. Working out was for me only and it allowed me to be Katie. Not wife or mother, but just Katie. It felt good.

When I went to pick Ben up he was alive and not even crying, so it was a success! I'm still a tad nervous about those women holding him, just because he's so heavy, but they were very nice. Hopefully Ben liked it in there, because we're definitely going back.

Maybe if he'd bought her dinner first

My mom: Your son is trying to french kiss me.

Me: Aww, he's just trying to give you a kiss and say he loves you.

My mom: Yeah, but he's using tongue.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ben's first hurling match

Colin & Ben. Colin said that Ben looked, "awesome."

Ben's proud of Daddy even if his team loses.

Babbling Ben

Ben's been practicing his babbling lately and it's becoming a little more sophisticated. Now instead of only seemingly random strings of vowel sounds, occasionally he adds in seemingly random strings of consonant-vowel sounds, i.e. ga-ga, da-da. It's mostly "ga" and "da" right now. I think those are the easiest letters to pronounce.

Do you think baby babbling has any correlation with how much a person talks later in life? If so, we're going to have a talkative little kid on our hands. Saturday night at Ian's surprise party* it seemed like he was babbling the entire time. He does do it more around other people, I've noticed. Maybe I'm not getting another one for my team. *sigh*

*It was a rousing success! He was completely surprised and his face turned bright red when they walked in. It was great.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Closer to the Ben

When I was pregnant, one of the things I was looking forward to the most was seeing Heath as a father. I haven't been disappointed. From day one he jumped right in and embraced fatherhood. In my opinion, women are no more "naturally" parental than men, so Heath and I learned how to do everything for Ben right along side each other. We both bathe him, feed him, change his diapers, put him to sleep, etc. As a result, Heath doesn't "babysit" his child, like some men, but he simply cares for him as a parent should. Whenever I'm out and Heath is with Ben, it doesn't even occur to me to call and check on them, because I know they're fine.

Though Heath likes to whirl Ben around and throw him up in the air, he's also very gentle and kind. It breaks his heart to hear Ben cry and I've found them taking naps together on dozens of occasions. He talks to Ben constantly and every song he sings gets "Ben" inserted in an interesting place. Imagine, "Row, row, row your Ben, gently down the Ben..." I'd give more examples, but they're mostly Rush songs, so nobody would know them (ha!).

But the thing that proves Heath is a great father doesn't even come from Heath. Every night when he comes home from work, Ben and I go to the door to greet him. As soon as Ben sees his daddy he gets the hugest grin on his face. He is obviously overjoyed to see Heath and to me that says it all.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Our mothers keep us honest

My most recent post, Bink-ified, generated this comment from my mother, "I'm sorry my dear, but this one made me laugh out loud. You, of all people, raising a binky addict? Shocking! At least he can't be snotty with women at Target about it yet!"

The reason for the comment is that I used a binky until I was 5. Apparently it was quite difficult* to break me of that habit. However, it did lead to the following anecdote, which my grandmother delights in telling anyone who will listen:

When I was 4 or 5 my grandmother had taken me to Target and of course I had my trusty binky. We were walking along and suddenly an old woman said to me, "You're too old for a pacifier." Apparently I looked at her, took the binky out of my mouth and very indignantly said, "I need it." Then I popped it back in. My grandmother said she never worried about me after that because she knew I could take care of myself.

Hopefully Ben won't have the binky that long, but it would be funny to see him tell off an old lady.

*My parents and grandparents may disagree with that wording and have something more colorful to substitute.


Yesterday Ben came down with his second cold in a month. Like the first one, it doesn't seem to be too bad, just a stuffy nose and some coughing and sneezing. But, combined with teething pain, it makes sleeping very difficult. For everyone.

Heath put Ben to bed last night around 8, as usual, but he didn't go down easily. He woke up two or three times before 9:30 and I just knew it was going to be a bad night. I wish I wasn't right all the time.

The problem is the binky. He's become completely dependent on it to fall asleep. In some ways that's good, because most of the time when he wakes up at night I can just pop it back in his mouth and he's asleep again. However, when his nose is stuffed up, it poses a problem. Mainly in the fact that he can't BREATH.

I tried to get him to sleep without it last night and I was successful. I just would've had to hold him in the rocking chair all night. I was having major flashbacks, though. Rocking him in my arms at 2 am, feeling triumphant when he fell asleep and then feeling utter despair when, immediately upon his head hitting the mattress, his eyes popped open. Eventually I brought him into our bed, because I wouldn't get any sleep if I didn't. As it was I got very little. I did get to witness Ben sucking on the binky, pulling it out to breath and then putting it back in. We have raised a binky addict.