February 29, 2008

Welcome Evelyn Rosa Burns

This picture of Alden makes me laugh out loud

Evelyn Rosa Burns

Alden has been truly kicking our asses lately, so we have not had much time to post. He is in the middle of a growth spurt, that is following a previous growth spurt, and is eating all day and vocalizing all night. He is really wiggly now and can support is head pretty well. He's just shy of 10lbs.

On another note, I would like to announce the arrival of Evelyn Rosa Burnes, born February 22, 2008, weighing in at 8 pounds, 7 Ounces. She is the daughter of our friends Ian and Gillian and we hope Evelyn and Alden will become fast friends. She already takes after him. When Alden was born he had an IV and so does she. He was born with lots of hair and so she decided to have lots of hair too... it's very cute. Anyway we are very excited to have such a great new baby on the block.

February 24, 2008

Name those features!

Baby Ilana

Baby Alden

Baby Kerstin

We got some baby pictures of ourselves to compare with Alden's. These are the best ones we have so far in making comparisons of features. The ages don't quite line up. Ilana is 2 months in her picture, Alden is about 5 weeks in his, and we were not sure about my age in the picture, but I think its close.

February 21, 2008

Nighttime Breastfeeding– A choose your own adventure story

It's been a while since I've (Ilana) posted anything, but the babe has kept me surprisingly occupied. I've been working on this story for the past week, but have only been able to get one "page" or two before I am called on to feed. So here it is, finally, my breastfeeding choose your own adventure story. I hope you enjoy! (Apologies in advance to Cheyenne. This post is pretty close to your most recent blog entry. I guess we are having a similar experience.)

Page 1. It is dark and quiet in your bedroom. The baby is at your breast, blissfully feeding while all around is calm and peaceful. From somewhere far away you hear snorting and grunting, followed by a few choice farts. Then the crying begins in earnest. You wake up, it’s 3 am, the baby is screaming in his bassinet and you realize (much to your dismay) that you were only dreaming about feeding your child and now you have to muster all the energy to can find to rouse yourself and start the nighttime breastfeeding ritual, where it will likely take a good 30 minutes before you get to that quiet, peaceful feeding stage that you had thought you’d already accomplished. Awesome. As you shake the cobwebs from your head, you hear the baby groan and bear down, followed by more amazingly loud farts and fussing. If you decide to change his diaper, go to page 2. If you decide to feed him first, go to page 3. If you do nothing, go to page 6.

Page 2. Horror stories of diaper rashes from well-meaning, advice-spouting parents rattle around in your brain. You decide immediate action. Once you get the little darling out of bed and onto the changing table, he really begins to cry. You try to work as quickly as possible, but the cries turn palpably wetter (and frothier) and lead to… the dreaded hiccups. You will now need to spend the next 15 - 20 minutes trying to calm the baby down. This is an uphill battle at best. The more he hiccups, the more upset he becomes, and therefore the more entrenched his hiccups are. It spirals out of control. Shushing, swaddling, rocking, and crinkling a plastic bag by his ear do little to end the tantrum. Finally you stick a finger in his mouth and his cries turn to whines and whimpers as he tries desperately to extract milk from your pinky while hiccupping. It is normally pretty funny, but for some reason, you find it considerably less so at such an ungodly hour. “Suck, suck, suck.. hic, waaaahh… gurgle, suck, suck, suck… hic, waaaahh…. gurgle/gag, suck, suck, suck, etc.” After 15 minutes, the bout has wound down and he’s stopped crying, but his hiccups are so random now that you can’t quite get him to latch on. It takes another 10 minutes to get him to latch and start drinking. 25 minutes have now passed since you were so rudely awakened and the start of that all-important feeding, which was ultimately the cause of said awakening. 25 minutes of precious sleep gone forever… Proceed to page 3.

Page 3. You struggle with the latch for a few minutes, while the kid smacks his lips and licks your nipple, now oozing milk all over your forearm and half-unbuttoned nightshirt. The other breast, not wanting to be left out, is chiming in with its own little fountain, seeping through your shirt into the baby’s pjs and the boppy pillow. The latch is finally made and the baby seems contented. He drinks for a few minutes and then starts to arch his back and shake his head side to side… with your sore nipple in his mouth. You try to hold his head still and he lets go and lets out a loud cry, followed by a choke. Heart racing, you quickly upright him and pat him on the back to clear his airways. He’s fine, but has taken in large gulps of air. If you decide to burp him, go to page 4. If you decide to keep feeding and burp later, go to page 5.

Page 4. You burp him in the sitting position for about 3 minutes. Although drowsy and sort of pouty, he tolerates the procedure. Then comes this gigantic belch that sounds more like something you’d hear coming from a drunk frat boy than a little baby. He goes limp after that. You put him back to the breast, he doesn’t open his eyes or his mouth. You tickle his upper lip with the nipple, stick your finger in his ear, tickle his feet – all strategies you were taught at the lactation consultant’s office to wake him. Nothing. You try to force his mouth open with your finger. You can only get it open wide enough to fit the nipple in but not the areola. Such a rude forced entry doesn’t even register a response from him. He is out cold. If you let sleeping babies lie, go to page 6. If you decide a diaper change will wake him up, go to page 2. If you shake off what seem like dozens of propping pillows and a boppy and set him down in his bassinet, go to page 7.

Page 5. You stick the kid back on and he drinks for another 10 minutes, with occasional fussing. He does seem to be gulping a lot of air though. He finally lets go and seems contented. Finally. Maybe now you can sleep. You pick him up to burp him in the sitting position. His eyes open a crack and you pat his back while he squirms. Then the eyes open wide and he gags. Oh no… oh no. Not this, anything but this! Too late. You are powerless to stop what comes next. He heaves once, then throws up the entire contents of his stomach. No joke. We are talking rivers of curdled milk. You, the baby and the bed are now sopping wet, you will need to change him again and all that progress you worked so hard to accomplish is in vein. Cue the sobbing. No, not from the kid. Surprisingly, after all that vomiting, he is looking rather peaceful and sleepy. No, the sobbing is all you this time. You try to get him to take something in before bed, but he won’t bite. He looks completely worn out. Go to page 7.

Page 6. You wake up and slowly realize that you must have dozed off. Glancing at the clock, you notice…holy shit it’s 5:45! You missed a feeding! The baby is going to starve! No wonder he isn’t gaining enough weight. You are the worst mother in the world!!!! Wracked with guilt, you leap out of bed, grab the sleeping child and thrust a boob in his face. He groggily smacks his lips, but doesn’t want to eat just yet. Oh no, he’s lethargic! This is the first sign of a malnourished baby! He should be clamoring for food by now. You thrust the boob in his face with renewed vigor and he starts to wake and fuss a bit. The feeding cycle begins again … (at this point, if you wish, you can return to page 2 or 3). You promise yourself that you will try to get in an extra feeding for him today to make up for the lost meal, but you just end up feeling lousy all day, riddled with maternal guilt. The End.

Page 7. You set the angelic, comatose child in the bassinet and in 3 femptoseconds, zing! His eyes pop open and he starts to thrash his limbs wildly. How he’s able to tell that he has touched the bassinet when he is sleeping soundly in your arms is one of the great mysteries of life. You turn off the light, rock the bassinet and pray that he will settle himself and go back to sleep. He whines. You hop into bed and pull the covers over your head, hoping that he will settle himself in the next 10 minutes. You try to doze during this time. The whining turns to yowling. Exasperated, you hop out of bed, lift the baby (who calms immediately) and bring him to bed. You arrange the pillows to prop him up for feeding as best you can with one hand– again – and set him down for another go at the feeding trough. The now very sore and droopy (meaning nearly empty) feeding trough. He seems enthusiastic at first, but once the latch is made, he stops sucking and dozes. Aw yeah! Will a finger in the ear work this time? Not a chance. How about the toe tickling? Nope. Tickling his face with a lock of hair? He squirms a little and sucks absentmindedly, but stops soon and dozes again. You remove him from the breast, shake off all the pillows and put him back in the bassinet. Again, femptoseconds, and he is up and ready to… play? Learn? Stare at the ceiling fan? Whatever he wants, it doesn’t seem to be food or sleep. This in and out routine of the bassinet cycles a few times until finally, when he is asleep at your boob, you take him off and set him down in the bed next to you. He remains sleeping. Hallelujah! You buttress him with pillows so he won’t roll around and curl up at the very edge of the bed so you won’t roll and squish the little guy. You sleep lightly over the next couple of very nervous and restless hours. Then the feeding cries start again. No sleep for the weary. (Begin again at page one if you wish). The end.

February 20, 2008

1 month Alden video

Alden at one month. I can hardly believe it, it seems like years. On the good side of things, He weighs 9lbs 2oz, which is healthy, he's developing well, has a bit of cradle -cap, and a strong grip. On another good note Alden (and other January babes) are Golden Fire Pigs - as per the Chinese zodiac. Fire Pigs are cool, but only every 600 years comes a GOLDEN pig - they are supposed to be extra lucky and wealthy... I can dig it.

February 18, 2008

Random Lizard

Guido sheds

Here is a video of Guido, the leopard gecko Ilana and I were lizard-sitting in California. I was cleaning up some old video tapes and found this clip. I found it mesmerizing and a little disturbing. Guido sheds about every month, but it was surprisingly difficult to catch her doing it. Guido has since gone back to live with her rightful owner in Boston, Ilana's brother Ben.

February 16, 2008

Changes a-foot

Something happened this week. Beyond Alden’s umbilical chord stump falling off, he is exhibiting signs of growth! Not really physical growth, maybe not even mental, but… attitude growth. It’s like noticing when he changed from being a blobby little confused clueless potato-monkey, to being a less blobby slightly less confused potato-monkey that was learning how to feed and express his discontent (about a week old).

At the beginning of this week Alden started being more vocal. He wasn’t really ‘fussy’ he would randomly cry for about 8 seconds and then stop. He decided sleeping in his bassinet did not suit him and has moved into our bed with us as well. He was also being more alert during the day. By the end of the week was really getting the eating thing down, and was moving his arms and legs a lot more. It’s a bunch of little things, but he definitely learned some stuff these past couple days. He still gets the hiccups really badly a couple times a day though. I guess there's not learning not to get the hiccups.

February 14, 2008

cordless baby

umbilical cord 3 weeks later

Last night while Ilana was changing Alden his umbilical cord stump fell off. Good thing too, it was smelling kinda ripe. I don't think we put enough alcohol on it. We got mixed-message instructions at the hospital, something like 'putting alcohol on that will help it dry, but don't put on too much, some people over-do it', so we let the chord thing slide and it got a little gamy. That's all in the past though, the milestone has been passed. I want to collect another 200 umbilical cord stumps, pretend they're craizens, and hand them out to people as an April fool.

February 11, 2008

Favorite thing

In the car seat, on the way to get weighed

Alden with new favorite thing

Alden went back to the doctor today to get weighed. We are happy to announce that he is past his birth weight (just barely) so things are looking good. The lactation consultant said that awhile ago they gave babies 2 weeks to gain back birth weight, but recently the 'policy' changed to one week. It all seems rather arbitrary. We spent the last couple days perfecting our eating and burping methods which seems to have helped a great deal. Ilana spent a day in bed with the kiddo being mom-ly too. Anyway, we're feeling better.

Our friends Ian and Gillian loaned us a video about making babies happy, which boils down to tight swaddling, holding them on their side, gently giggling, making a sush-ing noise, and letting them suck on something. The sush-ing noise is supposed to be kind of like white noise that mellows kids out. In the video they said you should do it pretty loud, equally as loud as their crying to get it working right. I don't like sush-ing loudly so I came up with an alternative... a cellophane bag. Now before you call social services on me for endangering Alden's breathing, I want y'all to know I just crinkle the bag by his ear. He really likes the sound, it's easy to do for long periods, and it mellows him right out. Perhaps I can sell it as a baby-mellower and make a fortune.

February 8, 2008

Doin’ things wrong

father and son

We went to get Alden weighed a couple days ago and he’s not gaining as much weight as he should. He should be back to his birth-weight by now and he’s a few oz’s behind. The doc’s say they are worried but not seriously so… I’m not that panicked, but Ilana is pretty bothered by it. He is gaining weight, just not fast enough, and his health is not in danger, but if things don’t improve it may be. It’s a little concerning, but looking back, we haven’t been feeding him as well as we could. The first of many things we’ll do wrong, it’s good to get them out of the way early I guess.

Basically we would let him eat till he fell asleep (which was usually one breast) and try to burp him with mixed results. We didn’t think anything was wrong because he could eat all he wanted and he seemed fine except he was passing a lot of wind (a clue!). My theory (inspired by a talk with Michael Luck in NYC) is that he was filling up on air and felt full even though he wasn’t. By implementing more aggressive burping techniques he is now staying hungry longer. Also, when he is going to switch breasts I pick him up and give him pep talks so he won’t think about sleeping. The beauty is he doesn’t know phrases like ‘dig deep’ and ‘eye of the tiger’ are cliché so I’m feeling like a regular Tom Landry in his eyes… actually I hope that’s not the case.

Anyway, he’s been eating more over the past few days and I think (hope) he is gaining more weight. If anyone knows any tricks we’d love to hear them. Were taking him back to the scales in a couple days. More news then I suppose.

February 5, 2008

A night out

A night out

Bath time after

Alden had his first social night out last Sunday. We went to Karen's house for an evening meal.

February 3, 2008

Knees and art

Knees X-Ray

Alden had some X-rays the other week, and looking them over Ilana noticed he doesn't have any knee-caps. I guess that is normal. Kneecaps start as cartilage and ossify into bone over time, so they don't show on X-rays. The tiny circles above the void between the bones are his knees forming.

Alden's favorite piece of art

Alden's second favorite piece of art

Alden's third favorite piece of art (yes I know it's a plate with crumbs... very modern)

Alden an I went for an artwalk yesterday… around the house. We have a couple dozen pieces adorning our walls, and I wanted to show them to him. I heard that babies are particularly fond of high contrast things. This seems to be true from my experience. He also likes looking at dim lamps (picture not included)

February 2, 2008

2 weeks old - Alden video

Alden in action

Alden isn't hiccuping in this clip. In fact, he isn't doing much of anything... But he isn't sleeping and that's some good action at this stage of the game. This is for all you fans who haven't seen him in motion yet. I wish I would have pulled the blanket down a little so you could see his hand move... Maybe next time, leave em wanting more.

February 1, 2008

g diapers

Alden and g-diaper

A couple days ago we switched from the disposable diapers we were given from the hospital and had stocked up on ourselves, to the g-diapers we are really excited to try. g-diapers (http://www.gdiapers.com/)are diapers with a flushable pad that you throw in the toilet after the changing, instead of washing a cloth diaper or throwing away the entire disposable diaper. The things are freaking amazing and If you haven't used them before go have some kids so you can try em out.

On another note I came to a 'precious moment' realization today. Alden still has bouts of hiccups when he gets excited (like after baths or changing), and watching him hiccup is hilarious and endearing. He stairs buggy-eyed, his whole body jumps when he hics, which startles him, he gets more buggy-eyed, and then hics again (repeat every 5 seconds). This cycle can last a couple minutes and I wanted to capture it for posterity. Ive been slowly getting my camcorder, finding my tripod, getting a blank cassette, etcetera. I was finally set up to shoot the video yesterday but Alden then decided he can express his hiccup distress. It's not funny when he's crying. In fact it's pretty annoying, sad, and humbling (because you can't do anything about getting rid of the hiccups). Anyway that precious moment of helpless non-crying hiccups is past, never to return, never to be caught on video and posted on the internet. So sad. So sad.