Thursday, March 22, 2007

I can carry him!

Yesterday Frost was allowed to carry Wren (supervised) for the first time. He was very proud and excited. It was allowed because he pointed out that he had only held Wren 3 times since he was born and we all agreed that it was not enough.

I said he could hold him every day from now on as long as a grownup was there.

This is the picture of Wren at 14 weeks. He is about 16lbs and has nice plump thighs. His eyes are still blue but a dark and speckled blue that could easily change color.

Wren has been crying a lot today because every single nap has been interupted. I finally nursed and put him down half an hour ago and he is still sleeping - a record. I have vowed to let Wren remain at home tomorrow (made easier by having no car). Today, I did carpool, groceries, yoga, fetched Frost and took them to the dentist. Wren cried on every car trip I made until my nerves were shot and he was exhausted enough to fall asleep (only to be woken when we arrived somewhere.)

I should mention that he has been sleeping VERY well at night. Last night he slept for 6 and a half hours without waking (he has done this one other night this week.) I am still having trouble sleeping soundly but I am sure my sleep will improve when Wren sleeps for longer periods on a regular basis.

Frost was late for his dentist's appointment so we have to go back for his sealants but he had his bitewing X-rays and there are no cavities. However, he has an overbite that is being made worse by sucking so mimi has to be 'given away to someone who needs it' according to the dental hygienist. Dr Sata said that Frost will be referred to the orthodontist when he is 7 or 8 to look at ways of resolving his bite. Ugh. I hope we have dental insurance by then.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wren at (almost) 14 weeks

Wren is 14 weeks old today and he is generally happy and always fat. He is becoming quite talkative and enjoys making noises in a conversational way.

I say "Wren, are you a fatty?"
He says "Hiyeee?" [grunt grunt]
I say "Are you kicking with your strong legs?"
He says "Aaayd"

We can converse like this for a long time before he loses interest and starts looking at the ceiling. Most conversations happen when he is propped up in his rainforest swinging chair or on the diaper change bed but he also likes to 'talk' when he is lying on his back on the floor.

He has tummy-time a number of times a day but still doesn't like to do it for more than a few minutes without fussing. Lying under the hanging toys in the gymini is still a favored activity and his hand-control has improved dramatically in the past weeks. When I set him on the mat it is only a matter of seconds before he has captured a toy or two and is grunting and tugging at them.

Watching him reminds me of a scientist learning to use a robotic arm. When I put a toy on his belly he opens his arms and hands wide and then brings them together in jerky movements to meet midway. He has trouble estimating distance from his face so his hands do not always meet with the toy, sometimes they clasp each other and miss the toy entirely. As soon as they meet or he grabs something he pulls it towards his mouth. Sometimes he scrunches up his face (plastic or felt toy) but if its a blanket or a hand he sucks on it and gets very slobbery.

Joshua is convinced he's teething. I am not sure. He has been fussy for a few days and chews on his fingers at every opportunity and he is always drooling so its possible. Still, I think Frost was like that for ages with without teeth coming.

One of Wren's favorite daily activities is bathtime. He lies in a little baby-bath which I lay in the filled bath for Frost. Wren kicks and puffs and waves his arms and hoots. He is very animated and gets so vigorous with his splashing that he often gets water on his face. Frost likes to play with Wren and I have to watch that he doesn't dump water on his face. He likes to take aim at Wren with the water pistol and other squirty bath toys. I have let him squirt Wren's belly but I think he is just itching to give Wren a full unsupervised drenching. As soon as I fix him with my beedy eye he starts kissing Wren and saying "I looooooove you Wren" in a parody or at least imitation of my behaviour.

Dinnertime is going well. We are all managing to sit together at table more often than not. Wren sits in his little purple chair on the floor and watches us and a mobile over the table. He is surprisingly content to sit there while we eat and only once has fussed to the point I have to hold him and eat with one hand.

Healthwise, Wren seems to be doing well. His feet are very pink and warm and his capillary refill time is much quicker than post-cath. When I squeezed his feet today the color came back almost immediately. He still breathes fast and gets mildly clammy when nursing at night (he is bundled for bed in PJ and swaddle) or after a lot of crying. He is almost over this cold and his eyes have cleared up but his cough was worse today and he spat up a few times because of coughing fits. If it doesn't improve tomorrow it will be back to the pediatricians at the end of the week to let them listen to his chest. I hope it improves - Josh is still coughing but Frost is now much better too.

Everyone comments how big and healthy he looks. He holds his head up well and likes to look at the mirror in the living room and the leaves of the bay laurel against the white sky. He is still keen on his crib mobile and the kuba textiles in his bedroom but being talked to is still his favorite activity. He is also a bit of a mimic. Today I practiced raising my eyebrows at him and he responded by raising his. He also sticks his tongue out a bit if you pull at tongue at him and once I made him cry by making a fierce face (I wanted him to copy me, not cry!)

Tomorrow, I hope to go to a postnatal yoga class with Wren. I hope he will be restful enough for us both to enjoy it. I shall post a few pictures tomorrow.

Emotional hide-and-seek

I went to my first therapy session yesterday. I decided to see a counselor sometime after my 40th birthday. Partly, to deal with feelings of anger and being overwhelmed and partly to see if I can find a way to get happy again. I don't mean I am miserable. I am just not actively happy. I think that my old coping mechanisms - those of a single, childless person with a good income - just aren't effective for the challenges of being a parent with little time alone, finite resources and lots of stress. Plus, few coping mechanisms are adequate when your infant is sick.

The session was refreshing and has got me thinking about my obsession with mess. I know this may sound funny but I have this strong conviction that if I could get the house totally clean, just once, I would have my life on track again. Okay, okay. I know this isn't true but somewhere along the line I have formed this equation of mess with powerlessness and that is where I have got stuck. I have every emotion under the sun about the mess at our house and work hard at it when I get a rare moment to myself. Then I resent everyone (read: Josh) for not doing more of it to "take this cup" from me.

Now, the weird thing is that I feel far less emotion about Wren's heart condition or potential need for open-heart surgery. People who hear about his CHD sympathize about how hard it must to live with the uncertainty. Honestly, thesedays I almost forget it. No, I don't forget it but its just a fact with no emotion attached to it. This changes a few days before an echo when I feel afraid but most days I am just coasting.

One of the things to come up during my first therapy session is the idea that we can transfer big emotions and issues into safe arenas, dress them up in a way that is manageable. Since I was never a neat-freak before motherhood the therapist suggested that I may have strong feelings about other things that are being worked out between the vacuum cleaner and the dustbunnies.

So, the good news is that I may not be a compulsive home cleaner driven to despair by cereal underfoot forever. The bad news is that hiring a cleaner may not bring me equanimity. Still, if cleanliness is my drug of the moment I don't think this is the time for me to go cold turkey so I shall persist in following the clean-home=happiness equation until proven otherwise.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Where to this blog #2

Joshua says metablogging (ie blogging about blogging) is boring. Since he is my web-style-master I shall allow this fact and make it brief.

I have decided to blog here about Wren and family and general moans about exhaustion and how I have 7 single socks and I will blog at my old journal about things that are simply because I feel like writing them down.

I don't know if this division will work - whether I can divide mySELF writing from my mommySELF writing. I sure hope so but weirder things have happened than women lost-at-sea for years.

Eg. I have just written about my problem getting rid of the holiday greenery. I justify that as a Wren-domain post because I am sure I would have taken it down if he were not just born a few months ago. Is any part of the mommy-mind distinct and able to form thought or has it all become a puddle of sleep-deprived goop? We shall see.

[Aside: Frost is running around the yard in the pre-spring rain in his underwear. Is this wise considering there is a virulent fever-illness striking everyone at his school? Probably not. Still, he is conducting a very energetic game he has made up involving the wreath-hoop and his hotwheel cars "I'll show you what I mean!!! JUMP THROUGH HERE... HA! HA! HA! Go... darn. You are dead. Well my...."] He tells me "it is a car performance and every time I do it the car playground gets pretty damaged."]

How to dismember a wreath?

As a sign of how far behind my housework truly has fallen - I took the holiday wreath down from the front door today. The Christmas lights are still entwined in the limbs of the leafless mimosa for another day. I had noticed the wreath (the one I bought from Laurie for her fundraiser) - bleached near grey with its red ribbon hanging limply - when we had visitors over. Politely, no-one mentioned it but in that moment of silence it was obvious the time had come to dispose of the wreath and welcome the spring.

But how to do it?

Now, for those of you who don't know - for 34 years of my life I have lived in countries where Christmas occurs in midsummer and you eat a big old ham and swim if you are lucky. There's none of this fashionable greenery strewn around and even Christmas trees are generally of the synthetic variety. So, understand my confusion when trying to dispose of the wreath.

1) It looks like it could go in the yard waste but has piles of wire twisted every which way inside it.
2) It looks like it might go in the garbage - but its too big for my regulation bin.

I ended up spending about half an hour gutting the thing. I had to get wiresnips to cut the wire, yard gloves to hold the painfully dry green bits, and patience to unwind and cut until I had made it full circle.

I now have a pile of green stuff for yard waste, a pile of wire for garbage and a nice round wreath frame to make my own next year. It is gratifying BUT I can't believe you all do this. What is the secret? What becomes of all the holiday wreaths in America? What would Martha Stewart do?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Where to this blog?

As some of you will notice, I have been keeping an almost-daily update of Life-with-Wren. In the beginning this made sense because there was always something new to report. Thesedays, Wren tends to do remarkable things in small increments so a weekly update would probably suffice to capture them. News on the status of his heart defect will tend to come bi-monthly at our cardiology clinic appointments.

So, my question is "what should I do with this blog?"

I could do the following:
1) Keep updating daily and make it more of a Life With Wren blog which includes my thoughts and rants about motherhood along with Wren and Frost's wonderful accomplishments and little mishaps - a snapshot of our daily existance.

2) Keep updating with daily comments about Wren, much like a baby-notebook and do my own soul-searching elsewhere.

3) Update weekly with summary of Wren that week (much like a less intense baby-journal) and post about Cardiac clinic etc as important events come up.

I am not leaning strongly in any direction right now. I really want to keep a nice record of Wren's life as I am so enjoying reading what I recorded about Frost. I also enjoy writing daily but might prefer to do this on topics not directly Wren-related.

Any comments welcome.