Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A flutter of babies....

Is there a collective noun for a group of miracle babies? There should be; I propose a "flutter". I was at a gathering a few days ago with lots of new parents, nearly all of whom had "miracle" babies. There were the parents of new twins, conceived with the help of IVF and donor eggs and carried by their mom; there was a two year old conceived with a boost of progesterone, whose parents are hoping for another miracle soon; there was the couple who found out about a potential adopteive baby being born to a distant cousin just days before her birth, and there was Micah, conceived and carried with a lot of help half-way around the world.

I'm not a huge believer in or lover of the idea of angels, but certainly looking at this squirming, cooing, crying bunch, but looking at this group -- like looking at People magazine's assortment of stars having babies in their 40's -- makes you realize the amazing variety of medical miracles we have available to us today. Working in the health care industry, I know they aren't just for babies, either -- so many technologies keep us alive that just were pipe dreams 10 years ago.

At this point in Micah's life, as we get absorbed in the daily routine of diapers, projectile vomit, and mid-night feedings, it is easy to forget what it took to get him; what we sacrificed and what we achieved, so I thought it was an appropriate moment to reflect in thanksgiving.

And on the Micah achievement front, he's gotten a good report at his 2-month (actually, 9 week) check-up! He looks huge to us, but is still small relative to his peers (although the measurements don't take into account that he was 3 weeks early gestationally, so we don't think much of them.) The important thing is that he's on an upward swing, and thriving like crazy! Next stop: more sleep please!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is parenting everything you expected?

I think this is a funny question..... how can anyone ever anticipate what parenting will be like until you're there? Nonetheless, even a funny question deserves an answer.....

It's exhausting....

It's heart-warming....

It is intellectually stimulating....

And it is a basket of fun!!

Astute observers may ask, what's with the tape on Micah's ear? It is a doctor-supervised, non-surgical intervention for the correction of protruding ears. Little tyke's cartilege isn't hardened up at birth, so can be re-molded a bit. Apparently this is quite common in other parts of the world, with mamas pinching noses and sticking ears to the head with chewing gum to fit a cultural norm. And while protruding ears are taken as a sign of good fortune in other parts of the world, they tend to draw nicknames like Mickey Mouse here, so we're trying to gently convince them back. Its just tape and wax, so we figure it can't hurt and he might thank us for it later.....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dear Micah,

Today is the start of the Jewish new year, and is as good a time as any to write you the first of what I hope will be annual letters. You will be two months old later this week, and your daddy and I love watching how each new day bring subtle changes in you. One day you can't focus on anything; the next it seems like you're staring intently at everything. One day you're barely finishing 2 ounces of formula; the next you're chugging down 7.

You're developing great strength in your neck and back, and even though you don't like "tummy time" very much, it seems like you'll probably be crawling and getting into trouble really soon. Just the other day you managed to turn yourself over from tummy to back several times while I was watching, but no one else has seen you do this yet. You've started to really enjoy your bath time, and you seem to already dislike having a dirty diaper. We've seen a few little crooked smiles, but can't wait to watch your face fill with joy and wonder at the world.

More importantly, Micah, in your brief two months, you're managing to change us. I didn't get to give birth to you the regular way, but even so, it is becoming true that, as Ghandi said, "the child gives birth to the mother." Learning to sacrifice for you (oh, sleep, I do miss you!!!) , to take care of you before taking care of my self, and to worry more about your future than my own are just a few of the lessons I've been learning. You're daddy and I haven't left the house as often as we used to, but we're getting enjoyment from holding you and wondering what you're going to be like when you're bigger; where you'll go and what you'll do.

We're trying so hard to be good parents to you, Micah -- to set a good foundation for you to sleep well, be healthy, use your body, and have fun. I promise to try not to compare you to anyone else and to be proud of you in everything you do. I am fully prepared to have all of my theories of how to raise you go out the window faster than the cloth diapers I was so excited about did (3 days), and to continue to learn from you how to be the best mother I can be.

With all my love,
Your Ima

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Little Tree Frog Takes a Road Trip & I Earn My Second Bad Mommy Badge

Ahhh, ignorance is bliss.
"Let's go away for the weekend!" she proposed.
"OK, where do you want to go -- someplace close?" he asked cautiously.
"Nah," she said, "Let's go to Pagosa Springs! There's a hot air balloon festival."
"Uhm, that's about 4 hours away," he cautioned.
"But I really really want to see hot air balloons. And there's lots to do there."
"Uhm, OK, but I think its a pretty far drive. And I can't leave town until after 4 pm" he gamely replied. "But its your birthday, so whatever you want."

Long story short, it was actually over 5 hours to get there. And we didn't hit the road until 5 pm, so it was after 10 when we got there. Happily, Micah slept most of the way there, until we arrived at our tiny, one-room cabin. I tried to feed him while we were driving, but the bumps in the car loaded him up with gas. Unhappily, that meant that he hadn't taken in enough calories for the day, and so was up every 2 hours during the night. Blearily, we figured we had missed the hot air balloons, launching from the center of town about 5 miles away, but we arrived to find them just taking off (or rather, going up and not going very far due to lack of wind currents.)

It really is beautiful country here, even if you can't walk to Harvard Square....

We enjoyed a hearty western breakfast, then set off on Micah's first hike -- just about 2 miles along a lovely stream bed. As we hiked, for some reason I started thinking about my high school chemistry teacher, who had filled most of the year with showing us old documentary films like "Paddle to the Sea." (The following year, in physics class, he showed the same films backwards. I guess that's why there haven't been any great chemists or physicists from my high school.) The hike ended -- just as it started to rain -- with a surprise I've never seen on a hiking trail: wild cows!

Micah seems to think the best scenery on the trail is looking at Adam!

After our hike, we headed back to town to try out the hot springs in the center of town. The sky was starting to look pretty overcast and it was getting cool, but Micah was bundled up in the car seat, so we went into the hot springs resort -- a collection of man-made pools set next to the river that flows through town. Absolutely stunning setting. Google Pagosa Springs if you want to see some photos. The sky was getting darker, though, and pretty soon it started to rain. Micah was underneath a beach umbrella, happily sleeping, although I had a hard time relaxing in the hot springs. Then we began to see lightening in the distance, getting closer and closer. Finally came a crash so loud and close that we all nearly jumped out of our bathing suits (what a sight that would have been) and the management shooed us into the shop. Seriously, if there's a Bad Mommy Girl Scouts organization, I think I've earned a merit badge for taking my baby to a hot springs during a lightening storm..... But he slept peacefully through it all. When the rain, thunder, and lightening passed, we had a truly glorious late afternoon bit of sunshine for a last few minutes of soaking.
We slept a wee bit more on Sat. night than the previous night, or maybe it was just the good mexican food and cold beer that we had after the hotsprings. On Sunday, we had a relaxed breakfast at a little tea room with an outside patio, then headed to another very short hike to see Treasure Falls. Then it was back in the car for the "scenic route" home on smaller roads -- which took quite a bit longer because we stopped several times to let Micah eat without the bumps of the car ride (and to get lost a little, but never mind.) All in all, it was a lovely weekend trip, and I'm really glad we saw that part of the state, although next time, I might just opt for a closer destination!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Babies are like cats...

A funny IM exchange with a friend from work earlier this week:

Friend: So is motherhood everything you expected it to be?
Me: It is surprising how much you can love a little blob who is basically doing nothing but sleeping, eating, and pooping; and amazing at how you don't mind all those sacrifices. We spend lots of time just talking about what a great kid he is, how lucky we got....
Friend: I always think about how much I love my cat with such an irrational force I can't even imagine having a baby and what that would be like!
Yeah, it's actually a lot like that, except babies need more help wiping their @ss! It will be really cool once he starts reacting more to the outside world and us...
haha I bet
My current cats aren't nearly as loving as my last cat was, so Micah is a lot more satisfying than my cats right now. When I'm feeding him and he's locking eyes with me, it is one has ever looked at me like that!
Not even Adam??

Alas, no....
He's never depended on me for his next meal!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"I resign....

.... from my post as a future member of the House of Representatives. I don't want to be part of any club that would have Joe "You Lie" Wilson as a member......" (But thanks to Aunt Vicoria for the cool House of Representatives blankie, hat, and onesie, even if I never run for congressman!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Aunt Jamie and More Anne Geddes

Showing off my new turtle shoes (thanks Aunt Jackie!)

An Anne Geddes moment ..... how does she camophlage her hands?

We had an awesome visit from Adam's sister Jamie last weekend. She helped celebrate Adam's birthday and enjoyed every last moment with Micah. We can't wait until Micah gets to meet his cousins Jacob and Matthew (who, we just found out, shares the middle name Gabriel with Micah). Above, Aunt Jamie didn't want to put Micah down for a second!

At Washington Park, over looking the lake where Michah's great-grandparents got engaged!

Beautiful gardens at Wash Park.

A little Anne Geddes moment.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bris Pix

Before I get too far behind in posting pictures, here are a few from last week's bris. It was a very emotional ceremony!
This one is from after the ceremony; the mohel is demonstrating how a baby might balance on your arm like a tree frog would, as we explain why we call Micah our little tree frog -- and why we made our challah in the shape of a frog.
Mohel Ken Katz.

Grandpa Les meets Micah for the first time.

These were the two Jewish "men" who were the official witnesses to Micah's bris. The qualifications for witnesses were that they had to be shomer-shabbos observant and past the age of bar mitzvah. These guys must have had their bar mitzvah just before coming over for the bris!

Non bris photo, but fun to see Micah beginning to discover the world around him.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Getting Blue

No, the title of this post does not refer to:

  • My impending return to work next week (actually, I'm looking forward to some intellectual stimulation)
  • The need to change Colorado's liquor laws to allow groceries to sell wine and full-strength beer, paving the way for Trader Joes to open shop in Colorado
  • Micah's post-circumcision mood or color of any related parts of his anatomy.
No, it refers to the changing color of the gifts we received this weekend, compared to the pre-baby gifts that were all lovely gender-neutral greens and yellows. If there was any doubt in my mind about whether this is a boy-child (doubts that weren't erased by the fire-hose use of his equipment or the bris itself) we definitely have a boy here, who now has lots of blue puppy dogs, blankets, and even a grey and black plaid hat with matching vest and plaid pants. So cute! Off-setting all this lovely blue are plenty of frog-related items (thanks girlfriend Elana!). I'll try to get some pix of Micah in all his new Blue gear posted tomorrow.

In the meantime, two funny incidents from this week:
1. I was driving Micah for a follow-up appointment to check on his healing. The doctor's office was about 20 minutes away. I was happily listening to NPR in the car (something I haven't done much of since we've been back) and had practically forgotten that I was now someone responsible for a baby when I got 2 blocks away from the doctor's office and I realized -- it is very quiet back there! Did I forget the baby at home? I haven't figured out how to fasten the baby-view mirror to my leather upholstery, so I wasn't able to glance backward and see him. I distinctly remembered wrestling his car seat into the car. Did something happen to him and I've been merrily driving along without realizing it? How am I going to explain that? I would have pulled into a parking lot to set my mind at ease, but we were only 2 blocks away. I was very relieved to open up the back seat and see Micah completely dozed-out in his "bucket."

2) My aunt was telling my mother a piece of Jewish lore she heard that when a person converts to Judiasm, they get a new Jewish soul. She then asked my mother how Micah was doing after the bris, to which my mother replied "He's complaining a little more." "Of course he's complaining more, he's Jewish now!" was the conclusion they reached.

Finally, an interesting observation. I ran into a neighbor who I haven't seen since before we left for India, and I was telling her a little about our experiences there. I realized that, like they say about childbirth, the details of all our travails to bring Micah home have become a little less painful. I haven't forgotten all of the hassle and frustration, but it certainly doesn't rankle as much. So, if you are waiting for your baby in India, take cheer in the fact that the baby pick-up pain doesn't last forever, even though it felt like it would at the time.