Thursday, October 28, 2010

Smells like Halloween

When I took the lid off my pumpkin, it smelled like Halloween. It was a pleasant scent surprise full of memories.

The last time Casey and I carved a pumpkin together we were sophomores in college. It sat on the counter in my dorm room for a couple of weeks. We were still best-friends-that-everyone-thought-were-secretly-dating. This was it:

Now, we have a whole family of jack-o-lanterns...

I went and found the college picture after I started writing this post. Casey's current pumpkin looks a lot like it...he must have stored the design in his brain under "best pumpkin carving ever" and unwittingly recreated it.

Here is our little pumpkin eater....

Around town nobody else has carved pumpkins. We are new to the outdoor pumpkin carving scene. It is possible we will have green spotted pumpkins by Halloween. I have no clue when you're supposed to carve a pumpkin.

People in this community do, however, take their Halloween decorations seriously. This house has entirely converted itself into a pirate ship...

I love living in a community that dresses up for the holidays. A community where it is easy and safe to walk around and see all the skeletons, and pumpkins, and crows, and witches...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blushing Beaches

We went to the ocean.

Casey went to the same beach when he was young. He figured if he'd last visited at age 8, it'd have been 20 years since he was there.

Two decades.

I used to be horribly embarrassed when adults said things like that. Blushing
for them. Didn't they know how old it made them sound? It seemed lewd and improper.

I thought adults did it to shock themselves or others with the span of time. We say it, a
nd then we marvel at the passage of time...

We say it so we can step into time and feel the weight and texture of two decades in a moment. We try to hold its mass in our minds, turn it over, and see the space it takes up from different angles.

In sharing the moment with another, we say, "this is the span of my life". It is an intimate act.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Babies Anonymous?

I am seriously addicted to my baby.

For all the talk about "bonding" that I'd heard (chest to chest immediately after birth helps with bonding, make sure not to do too much after birth just "bond" with the baby in bed, wearing your baby helps you bond, etc), I didn't get a clear sense about what this bonding was, I just knew that I wanted it. It seemed abstract, "oh sweet, we'll be connected and want to keep each other around". I knew that we would get some addiction hormones immediately post-birth so I wouldn't leave him in the bushes or something, but our "bonding" is actually quite a dependency.

Hours of this created the best addiction in the world

When I think about how to describe it, I am at a loss as to how to differentiate it from other experiences. Just as it feels different to crave sugar, to fantasize about and pine for a cold beer on a hot day, or to yearn for Casey when he's away on a trip--this is a distinct feeling. It is in my body. My mind can stop my behavior, but is weak at stopping the physical want.

I feel like I have a better understanding of what it must be like to be an addict now that I'm a mother. That sounds strange to say, but it's true. I understand withdrawal in a new way.

My entire body misses the baby when I haven't been holding him for a while. If Wesley's been asleep in his co-sleeper for more than a few hours before I go to bed, I get amped up and can't sleep. Even when my mind tells me "no no no, you don't need to pick up that baby, let him sleep", my body says otherwise. I need my fix. I lay there willing it to be otherwise, but my body is humming. I close my eyes. It doesn't help. I am buzzing awake, staring at Wesley.

Sometimes Family Bed just feels so right

Nature perfectly manages this mother-baby need. When I think back to the first few weeks, I couldn't tolerate if he was anywhere but lying on my chest or in my arms for more than a moment. My system would revolt. Now, as his need to explore the world expands, my ability to have him elsewhere has slightly increased. I still get a huge rush of endorphins when I get him back in my arms, and I can't last long, but the expression of our "bonding" is shifting ever so subtly.

Now as daylight begins to creep into the sky, I find my heart racing and I am getting seriously antsy as I wait to shower him with kisses. When will you wake up, sweet boy?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Skills, New Parents

As new parents who haven't really been around little babies, we sometimes ponder over new happenings. This is how it goes...

Day 1
Take note of a new behavior

"Oh isn't that cute, Wesley is rubbing his feet together. How funny. I guess it's his new thing."

Day 2 :
Recount story to someone else
"See how he's rubbing his feet? It was so hilarious, he was doing it so much yesterday that the nursing cover was trapped between them and we had to pull
SO HARD to get it out."

Day 3
Ponder an explanation

"Hmm....I wonder what developmental skill this could be for...creeping? Doesn't seem like it...
I am pretty sure that it must be a standard baby thing...he seems fine..."

Later Day 3
Discuss and Act

Melissa: "Umm...he's doing this a lot...seems a little odd. You think it's okay, right?"

Casey: "He didn't want to stand up earlier because he was so busy rubbing them.
He's probably fine, though"

Melissa: "Yeah."

{long pause}

"You don't think he caught poison oak and is actually itching, do you?"

"Hmm..." {we both ponder the possibility}

Casey: "Maybe we should Google it."

Melissa: "Yeah, that's what I was thinking...

Later Later Day 3

Google complete. Totally normal. In this case, it's another sign that Wesley has "discovered his feet" (in a new way) and is playing with them. He has been staring at and craning toward them a lot lately.

What did parents do before Google? Seriously. I bet pediatricians received many more phone calls. Intuition goes a long way, but often it's nice to have Googled Reassurance.

In this picture Wesley is rubbing his feet together and examining/grabbing his outfit at the same time. Two of his current favorite activities. Perfectly normal baby activities.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Summer is Gone

Fall has come suddenly upon us. We went from 90 degree weather to 50-something in a couple of days. Wesley has experienced his first rain (family photo). We had to get out our layers and figure out how to keep a baby warm. Once again, we find ourselves living somewhere new, discovering its weather as the seasons unfold. Petaluma is slowly revealing itself to us with its coastal, often foggy mornings burning off into warmer days with chilly evenings.

Autumn holds some of my favorite memories. When I was little, I loved watching the leaves change to brilliant colors. I jumped in massive piles of leaves. This time of year, in California, I miss the colors. Wesley's early associations will be here. Fall means rain. It means cool freshness. It means the grasses turn green. The leaves change colors in subtle ways.

Fall means harvest season. On our walks we see people putting their gardens to bed. At the Farmer's Market, the apple growers take center stage. We went to the pumpkin patch to get our pumpkin. Wesley had a lot to say as we walked through the field, and he enjoyed touching the pumpkins. His Halloween costume is To Be Determined, but we've had many sessions of amusement thinking about what he might be...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Three Months Old

Wesley turns three months old today.

It is amazing how quickly he changes. He goes through phases at a shocking rate, picking up new preferences and dropping old ones as he continues to evolve. He gains new skills and adds different noises to his repertoire nearly every day. I can hardly resist laughing in disbelief as each of his new abilities emerges.

Here are some highlights from the day...

He "ooo"s and coos and squeals with delight throughout our visit to the ornament store.
He is transfixed by the shiny silver tree.

He smiles and makes faces during tummy time. He also grabs his toys and chomps on them.

He is feeling very social as he talks and showers me with smiles.
He takes frequent breaks to suck on and cuddle with his blanket animal.

And a couple just for fun.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wearing Wesley

I knew when I was pregnant that I wanted to wear my baby. The only baby items I gushed over prior to Wesley's birth were slings and wraps. I hardly know why. My babywearing experience is much more rewarding and diverse than anything I imagined at that time.

I wear Wesley every day. Wearing Wesley feels great for both of us. Some of my favorite moments are when I get out the Moby. He anticipates it more than anything else. He can be fussing or crying, and if I get out the Moby and say "do you want to go in the Moby" he will stop, watch, and often start smiling. That's enough reason for me to wear my baby, and to know that it is the right thing to do.

Week 3

Wearing Wesley enables me to get things done which I could not otherwise do. We do chores together in the sling. I wear him on morning and evening walks to help him slip into sleep. I dance with him in a sling every day--I would not be strong enough to last more than a song or two with my bare arms. Carrying an extra 7-13.5 pounds everywhere I go has helped me lose most of my baby weight. I walk to town, and I go in stores with Wesley snuggled close to my chest. He won't tolerate being left in an infant seat in public. He wants to be part of the action.

Wearing Wesley helps us connect. I can see him, I can feel his mood, and we share our experiences when he is so near. It has been some of my most precious time with him. Equally beautiful is seeing Casey wear Wesley--it makes my heart swell.

Week 13

I was inspired to start this blog and share my story after reading a post from my friend Erin at swonderland in honor of National Babywearing Month. Adventures in Babywearing kicked this whole thing off, and others are sharing their stories here. Join us and spread the news about the joy of wearing your baby.

Hello World

Since Wesley was born three months ago, I have felt the urge to capture what was happening in my life in word and image. Mothering a newborn is full of experiences that are new and wonderful and wild. I want to remember what it's like. I don't know where this blog will go, or what I'll want to write about, but it will be a space for me to write about my life and interests.

I haven't written publicly and I am not sure how I'll take to it. I'm not even sure how to do it, really. It may not be interesting to anyone except my current and future self, which, if it is, means I will continue to write. Thanks for visiting, if you are reading this.

This is my family.

Disclaimer: I am going to have to figure out the technical side of things, so please have patience and let me know if my links go nowhere or somewhere you really don't think I was trying to send you. Also, this blog template is ugly, so I'll work on that...thanks.