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He’s rolling over. Yippee?

23 Sep

Suited-up and ready for roll-training.

About a month ago, I went to my mom’s group and marveled at how many of the babies were already rolling over.  I came home and told Jake.

“Huh,” he mused.  “Are any of them not rolling over?” he asked nervously.

“Yes, just one,” I answered.  “Our son.”

This was my first mistake.  Developmentally, Seabass was right on track; it can take anywhere from two to six months for the average baby to roll over.  But the fact that ours was the only non-rolling baby didn’t sit well with Jake.  No, not at all.  And thus began roll-training.

In preparation for this exercise, Jake would spread a play blanket down on the floor and then lay little Seabass on his back surrounded by plenty of toys to reach for.  At the beginning, the poor dude just lay there staring at Jake as if to say, “Now what do you want?”  But soon the building blocks for rolling started to fall into place and we were thrilled at our wee one’s progress.

That is, until we put two and two together.  Seabass+rolling over=laying on tummy=end of the world.  Allow me to explain.

Despite our attempts to acclimatize Seabass to laying on his stomach during “tummy time” (a practice that is meant to strengthen baby’s neck and back muscles), the little fish hates hates hates to be face down.  In a matter of mere seconds he unravels.  He grunts.  He wheezes.  He plants his face in the floor and lets out painful, muffled shreiks.  Worst of all, he never seems to get used to it.  “Tummy time” may as well be called “Pit of hell baby torture time,” because that’s exactly how it looks.

But no, it never occurred to us that this was where the roll-training would eventually lead.  Ergo when Seabass howled frantically in his bed last week, I could not for the life of me imagine what was wrong.  And then I saw him: face down, arms swimming and feet kicking.  “Oh my goodness, he did it!” I whispered to myself, elated.  “And he’s furious.”

Try as we might to get Seabass to enjoy his pit of hell baby torture time, he just doesn’t.  Interestingly, though, he absolutely loves the whole rolling-over bit.  There has been many a nap in which I’ve rescued a face-down screaming Seabass only to watch him  roll back over the moment he’s left to himself.  The desire to move forward developmentally is stronger than the desire not to cry, apparently.  Or maybe he’s just not thinking.

Whatever the reason, I can’t take it anymore.  Yesterday’s naps where toast due to the roll-and-freak-out scenario, which meant that nighttime sleep was fragmented and weird.  After weeks of waking only once in 12 hours to feed Seabass, last night I had to wake up four – count ’em: FOUR – times.  Not surprisingly, I find myself longing for the days when all this kid could do was blink.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy seeing Seabass’ little tush in the air when I walk into the nursery.  It’s a funny thing, baby development.  One moment you’re wishing he could reach the next big milestone, and the next moment you’re wishing he would just stay put.

The last time I cared this much about percentiles, I was taking the SAT.

16 Sep

We visited Dr. Awesome today for Seabass’ four-month well check and vaccinations.  This wasn’t our first, second, or even third visit to the pediatrician.  No, it was our fourth in as many months.  Between a refluxy baby and a nervous mom, we’d already become well acquainted with the office staff.  And that’s not taking into account all the phone calls.  I’m pretty sure they recognize our phone number on their Caller ID now, too.  If they weren’t all so kind, I’d imagine them rolling their eyes and pretending to shoot themselves in the head whenever my voice comes across the line.

It had been several weeks since the last time we’d weighed the little guppy, so there was a certain amount of excitement to see the number on the scale.  Dr. Awesome laid our pink, fleshy naked boy on the infant scale and nudged the weight until it centered on 18 pounds.  “Is that good?” I asked Doc.  “Which percentile is he in?”

Now, I should take a moment to spill the beans and admit that I didn’t really understand the meaning of the word “percentile” until I had Seabass.  It’s not as though it’s the hardest concept to grasp – I don’t know why it took  me so long to get it.  But now that I do, I want to know the percentile for EVERYTHING about the baby.  And why?  Because I want to know that he is normal. 

No, scratch that.  I want to know that he is better than normal. 

There was a time in my life when I worked in the education field, specifically with young musicians.  The kids were terrific: bright, funny, and eager to learn.  It was their parents that were often the nightmare, nearly each one insisting that their child was a genius and deserved XYZ for it.  There was a lot of latent and not-so-latent jockeying for position, even among parents of seven-year-olds.  Perhaps especially among parents of seven-year-olds.

So you’d think I would take a moment to stand back and check my own not-so-latent competitive streak when it comes to Seabass.  Yeah, you’d think.

Dr. Awesome entered Seabass’ weight, height and head circumference measurements into a program on his computer and I held my breath.  “Looks like he’s in the ninety-third percentile for weight,” he reported, “the ninety-ninth percentile for height, and the ninetieth percentile for head circumference.”

This news yielded some serious high-five-ing and fist-pumping.  “The ninety-ninth percentile for height?!?” I mused.  “No wonder he’s so fussy all the time.  His whole life has been a giant growth spurt.”   Comments were made on how our boy would dominate the basketball court later in life, as though the fact that he has exceled at his one duty in life thus far – to grow – could possibly be construed as a competition.

Jake and I were both the first child to be born to our parents: Ambitious, head-strong, bossy and focused.  Furthermore, we were both the only first-born members of our respective families.  So when Seabass came along, we marvelled at the concept of a family of first-borns.  “Our family is going to KICK BUTT!” we’d say.  “Nothing will stand in our way!”  Only occasionally did we back up a little, self-assess, and remind our obnoxious selves that life isn’t about winning.  But that was before Seabass had percentiles to exceed. 

Let the games begin.

Maybe he’s less of a Seabass and more of a Lizard

15 Sep

Just don't look above the hairline...

Cradle cap.  What’s the deal?  Well, for starters, it’s downright disgusting: Scales of dead skin all over my otherwise-perfect Baby Seabass’ head.  Kinda looks like a dried-up river bed or the skin of an ancient iguana.  The baby book calls it “infantile or neonatal seborrhoeic dermatitis, also known as crusta lactea or ‘milk crust.'” 

Seriously?  MILK CRUST?  “Well, Mrs. Sullivan, the good news is you’ve given birth to a beautiful baby boy.  The bad news is, his head is covered in MILK CRUST.”  The only less appetizing medical term that I can think of is scabies.  Blech. 

For you pregnant moms out there, cradle cap is really nothing special – affecting half of all newborn babies – and completely harmless.  But it’s gross.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been cooing and making silly faces at my sweet boy only to notice errant flakes cascading down his back.  So, after four months of being distracted by Seabass’ scaly, milk-crusty head, I decided to take action.  Here’s the order of events: 

  1.  Lay Seabass on towel.
  2. Apply Burt’s Bees Apricot Oil to affected area.
  3. Massage well into scales.
  4. Using a fine-toothed comb, pick at scales, lifting them from scalp and combing them through hair.
  5. Gag.
  6. Wash Seabass’ hair thoroughly with baby shampoo.
  7. Brush out remaining flakes.
  8. Repeat as necessary.

The result?  A crust-free, soft, beautifully kissable baby head and a happy mommy.

Variation on a theme by Rod Stewart

4 Sep

As overheard while Jake changed the baby’s diaper this morning:

[To the tune of “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart.]

IF your name is Seabass
AND your diaper’s dirty
COME on, baby, let me know…

I thought this day would never come. And – hey look! – it still hasn’t.

4 Aug

Bad, bad baby.

Seabass’ 12-week birthday was Monday.  We’ve waited patiently for this day for, oh, well, about 12 weeks I guess.  And why?  Because everyone says that colicky babies stop being nuts by then.

On Sunday night, C was fussing fussing fussing with the intensity of an Olympian training for an event.  “You’re on the clock, buddy,” said Jake as we wheeled a screaming C around downtown, dodging peoples’ pitying and/or annoyed glances.  “By midnight, your days of fussing had better be over, or else…or else we’ll start charging you for it.

Midnight came and went.  Nothing’s changed.  He’s still nuts.

And oh man, is he gonna owe us big time.

Seabass’ First Word

24 Jul

A slip! A very palpable slip!

Like every Saturday morning, Jake sat eating his breakfast while I checked e-mail at the laptop.  The silence was broken by his chuckle.

“Oh man, I just remembered the dream I had last night.”

“Do tell, darling.”

“Okay.  We were going to sleep, and for some reason we had Seabass with us in the bed.  As we lay there, drifting off, he suddenly decided to utter his first word.”

“…which was…?”


“No way.”

“Yes.  Sexy.  And as soon as he said it, I thought, ‘We have to put this in the blog!  It’s his first word!'”

So here it is, in the blog.  Our son’s first (virtual) word is sexy. Freudians, have at it.

Crying and Peeing. Together.

2 Jul

A lot of new moms are shocked by how hard it is to recover from childbirth.  No one tells you that you’ll fantasize about walking for the first month, or that the real “little bundle of joy” you’re taking home is a bag full of adult diapers and Tucks pads that the hospital gives you.  No one tells you that you’ll be shifting in your seat on a very very very sore behind while nursing the new baby for hours on end.

And no one tells you that you’ll pee your pants.  Perhaps more than once.

At this point, some of you – particularly those of you who are male – may be clicking on that little red box with an ‘x’ inside the upper right corner of your screen because you simply don’t want to know this about me.  But those of you who have had a baby or are sickly fascinated with what it’s like will enjoy the following narrative immensely.


Once again, I am up with Seabass at 3am.  He’s probably about 2 weeks old, and I am dutifully changing his diaper.  But when I stand up, I vaguely notice that my bladder is full.  Huh, I think, I’ll have to visit the bathroom when I’m done here. This is pre-pregnancy, normal person thinking.  I bring Seabass over to the changing table and – whaddya know? – he starts to cry.  Really hard.  As I remove his diaper, a surprisingly acute stream of pee arcs from his body to the wall.  (Whenever this happens, it always takes me a second to realize what’s going on, and by that time, something – whether it’s me, the wall, or C’s face – is completely soaked.)  Something about the stress of covering Seabass’ little willy while attempting to quiet him at 3am causes me once again to consider my full bladder.  Wow, I really have to go, I think.

Only this time, as I’m thinking it, I’m actually peeing.  Never mind that my brain is telling my body to hold it.  That simply doesn’t seem to matter anymore.  So I start to cry.

If we’re looking for a silver lining in this story, I can tell you that it was wonderful to connect with my son as we were both crying and peeing together.  Really, a lovely moment.

But since then, I have learned a number of very important lessons:

  1. At the first inkling of a tinkle, run to the bathroom.  Do not mosey. Do not tempt fate.
  2. When everyone tells you to practice Kegels during your pregnancy, do not blow it off as a mere suggestion.  The practice of Kegels could mean the difference between a happy, fulfilled motherhood and the loss of all dignity.
  3. A wet bottom is just a sneeze away.  Beware.

All-Natural Dog Treat

29 Jun

C’s third week in this world is a blur to me now, but one moment does stand out.

It is 3am and I am nursing our little guy in a sleep-deprived idiot stupor.  I finish up, dim the lights (with the handy remote control dimmer my smart husband installed) and get up to put C down in his crib.  Something falls to the ground with a *clink,* but I can’t see it and frankly, at 3am, a bomb could go off next door and nary so much as an eyebrow would have raised.  The only things that matter: Sleep.  Bed.  No more consciousness.

The next morning, I am sitting in the rocking chair nursing C again and I spy something black and twisty on the floor.  It is C’s umbilical cord, which had been hanging by a thread on his belly button for a lot longer than expected.  Well good, I think.  It’s about time that thing fell off.  I’ll pick it up when I’m done here.

Just then, our dog Murphy (who had been shell-shocked since the arrival of this new, screaming demon) sniffs in the direction of the umbilical cord on the ground.  “No, Murph!” I snap, probably a little too harshly.  He slinks out of the room and I return my attention to nursing.

Minutes tick by.  C is still eating when I notice that Murph is back in the general vicinity of the fallen umbilical cord, and he is chewing.  And chewing.  Something very rubbery is in his mouth and he appears to be enjoying it thoroughly.

“Drop it!” I yell, but it is too late.  The dog has unceremoniously eaten our son’s umbilical cord.  We are now officially one with our dog.