Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Nori!

My friend Nori is one of the very few people that reads my blog, so I'd like to take a second to tell her happy birthday from Max and me. In Nori's honor, Max got his 2nd tooth today! Yep, that's right folks! My baby boy has two bottom teeth now. He's so timely to get this tooth on his Aunt Nori's birthday!

We went on a little birthday hike this weekend to celebrate Nori's special day. Lucky for us, she was able to break away from an Emmy Awards filled weekend for some exercise and food. It's so great that my friends and I all love birthday hikes. Don't tell anyone but those are our favorites!

While we were gone hiking, Marc was busy cooking breakfast burritos for a small group of friends that came over. I am super spoiled with my own personal chef. He had been cooking in the kitchen for over an hour to make sure everything was perfect for us when we got to the house. It was delicious and fun catching up with friends.

There was even more excitement on this weekend's agenda. Max made his Hollywood debut by appearing in a webisode of Bitter Waiter. He was a natural. It was a favor to his Aunt Kristi that we helped that production. They are a talented bunch of awesome people! I'm so glad we were able to be a part of it for my magnificent friends!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Look at his first tooth in this picture!

I just went back and watched the videos of when Baby Max was born. Wow, things have changed!

I was especially surprised to watch the video of 1 week postpartum to see how pregnant I looked. My belly was hanging out of the bottom of my shirt. How funny! I was huge!

The most special memory I have with my son so far is breast feeding for the first time. Everyone kept saying that breast feeding was so hard. But I didn't understand why or how it could be so difficult. Max came out ready to suck and made my job easy.

I think the reason it was so special to breast feed him was because it made everything so real. We put him up to the boob and he knew exactly what to do. It was probably the most pure and natural moment after giving birth. I stared at him the whole time. It was so amazing to see how he opened his mouth and started sucking. He seemed very happy there and I loved having him on me.

At that point my milk hadn't come in yet and I knew he was getting colostrum that he needed to clean out his digestive tract. The funny thing about colostrum is that it is clear and watery so you don't feel like you are feeding your child. It was more of a time to be close and get to know each other. My heart goes out to mommies and babies who are unable to breast feed because the bonding is so special.

But now that I have breast fed Max for the past 6 months, I understand why people say it is hard. It has nothing to do with putting your boob in a baby's mouth. That's the easy part for most. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule when there are health disorders and latch problems. But the actual act of feeding is quite easy. Especially with all the special pillows such as the boppy and the breast friend.

The reason people say breast feeding is hard is because you don't get to retreat away from your child and there is almost no opportunity to be selfish. For most of us that have only had to worry about taking care of ourselves for the past 30+ years, it is a huge lifestyle change. Newborns have to eat every hour or two, and that is the breast feeding mother's job. Point blank. You are the only one there to do that job.

So you might not think that sounds like a big deal, but when it comes down to not being able to sleep more than 3 hours in a row or just run off to run a quick errand, you start to realize how hard it can be. That's why you really need to look to your "village" for help with things like cooking and cleaning.

When I think about being attached to my son for the first 3 months of his life, it sounds easy and natural. But when you're living it and haven't been able to skip off to a yoga class or a retreat to the movies or anywhere at all by yourself for several months, you can see why many people quickly give up on breast feeding.

But if you hang in there past the first 3 or 4 months when sleep deprivation is at its worst, breast feeding becomes a miracle. Any time your baby is sick or fussy, you can always soothe by nursing. I've heard that many mothers regret that they quit nursing as soon as their baby is sick. It's too bad that moms will quit nursing and let their milk dry up when all they needed was help. It's a good feeling to know that I was able to nurse Max half the night before he got his first tooth. He must have been in so much pain and it's nice to know that I was able to bring him some relief.

My favorite thing about breast feeding is that I don't have to pack formula and bottles everywhere I go. Babies need enough these days between diapers, wipes, carseats, change of outfits, etc. The last thing I want to have to do on top of that is make bottles. And since I am not making bottles, I am not cleaning bottles. And you know the last thing I want to deal with is cleaning anything I don't have to.

Now that Max has begun eating solid foods, I am not the only one capable of feeding him anymore. So a breast feeding mother is only 100% in charge of feedings for 6 months. Then it is possible to share that responsibility with others. Just because breast feeding is so consuming in the beginning doesn't mean it will stay that way. It just gets easier and easier.

I'm starting to sound like a lactation consultant, huh! I wish all mothers could share this bond with their babies. My most special moments with Max are revolved around nursing when we stare into each other's eyes. He knows I am nourishing him and always there to fill his needs. And I know I'm doing a good job because he's getting heavy!

We went to the pediatrician yesterday. Max weighs a little under 17 lbs. I think he actually lost a tiny bit of weight this past week. He is so active these days and always reaching out and scooting towards his toys. He's burning tons of calories with all this action. He went down to the 25th percentile in weight and is in the 75th percentile for height.

We just started giving him brown rice cereal yesterday, so he'll probably pack some weight back on really fast. I barely gave him any these past 2 days, but we'll increase that very soon. After hearing too many nightmare stories about babies being constipated, I've started slow with the food.

Going to the park is one of my favorite things to do with Max. We love being together and we love being outside. I love being his mom and it is so beautiful to reflect on our journey together, thus far.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm obsessed

My obsession is with watching my baby sleep. It is the most peaceful sight in the whole entire world. Snuggled up blissfully like a little birdie in his nest is usually how he drifts off. Sometimes I think I will never see this magical sight again, until he finally tires into a milk coma. This is heaven.

Things get easier all the time....and time is flying! We rarely have a sleepless night anymore, and when we do, we are able to take a big, fat nap. Sometimes 7am seems like the worst day in the world, but by about 11 things are all good again. Naptime is the best, and suddenly it is the best day in the world!

He's gotten to eat a few solid foods, but I may change my approach to baby led solids. That way Max can eat soft foods such as avocado at his own will rather than me feel like I'm force feeding him. Every time I hold a spoonful of anything up to his mouth he arches his back and leans away from me. He just turned 6 months old yesterday, so it's not like he needs more than a taste anyway. So far he loves bananas, hates green beans, and might have liked sweet potatoes for part of a split second.

I got to go to an awesome power yoga class tonight. I bet I am sore tomorrow. Even though I've been going on lots of hikes, I'm not in stellar yoga shape. This class is a butt kicker for people that are in rockin' shape, so it was definitely a tough one for me today. It was so wonderful to go to a really hard yoga class that wasn't "baby and me". And it's even more wonderful for Max to have time with Daddy without me to sweep in every time Max fusses or needs something.

I can't believe Marc told me a few months ago that he would be the best volleyball player at the beach if he were a stay at home mom. I didn't say much because I was probably looking at him like he was crazy. He explained to me that he would play with all guys that had babies and they would rotate one at a time and that guy would take care of all the babies. Yeah, he seriously did say that. Like one guy could take care of 4 babies. That statement right there told me I need to leave Marc with Max more often. He couldn't have spelled it out any more clearly.

Since it is so easy, Marc will be taking over several nights a week for a couple hours while I go to a yoga class. The funny thing is he looks beat to a pulp when I get home. It's absolutely hilarious to see how two hours can tire a guy out. He is always so grateful to see me walk in the door and usually has a story about how many diapers or baths Max needed while I was gone.

I really hope Marc doesn't read this because he probably doesn't realize how ridiculous he sounded. Tonight when I got home Marc told me that he didn't play one single video game the whole time he was watching Max. HAHAHA!!! No kidding! You really didn't sit on your butt, eat bonbons and watch all your favorite tv shows? Huh? But I thought it was so easy....I'm still laughing at this one.

And the little story about how Max peed on himself after his first bath and he needed a second one was fantastic. That has happened to me so many times. I usually forget about that after a few throw-uppy burps. I mean really, who's counting. I'm not sure how many baths Max gets in a given day. It probably depends on how many bodily functions were out of control and had bad timing. That is usually a high number, so there is no telling!

So now Marc tells me he was wrong about his volleyball theory. I secretly LOVE it when he admits that I was right and he was wrong. Basically, I just love it that he appreciates me and the job that I do. He has been telling me every day that I am such a good mom and he doesn't know how I do it all day and night every day and every night. It is so nice to hear that.

Yesterday Marc told me he wished he had taken maternity leave when Max was born. It's hard to believe that one simple statement like that could evoke so much emotion. But it made me cry. He finally realizes that it takes a "village".

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Max enjoyed what turned out to be almost a full week of eating banana. Ok, let's be real. I enjoyed my newfound time when he's busy sucking on his banana lollipop. Sweet!

After much deliberation and research, we have decided that his next food will be green beans. So Marc bought fresh green beans and boiled and pureed them. I was all prepared to make Max's food, but I was happy to let Marc take care of it. He's so good in the kitchen, and made Max's food for the next few days while I was putting Max to bed.

After Max fell asleep, I went in the kitchen to see how the process was going. And to my surprise, liquified green beans tasted delicious. I finger licked the blender clean. I think with a little salt and pepper it would be like any freshly made vegan soup I would order from A Votre Sante. Max's homemade baby food is delicious! Unbelievable, huh!

Only problem is that I shouldn't be eating so late at night. Green been mash after a huge Lizzy salad and sweet and salty mix from Trader Joe's for dessert. Who am I kidding. I do this every single night these days.

Sherrie is visiting from Dallas and we had a nice visit today. Our plan was to hike up temescal canyon with our babies. Her son Ethan weighs 10 lbs more than my little baby so I told her I would carry her son and she would carry mine. But she insisted that she had mom arms and was in great shape to carry the heavier baby. She even bragged to Marc that she was so strong and flexed her muscles for all to see.

That turned out to be a funny joke and we didn't even come close to the magnificent ocean view at the top of the loop. Nope, not this time. We had left salads and snacks in the car and she decided she would rather sit down at the beach and have a picnic than continue the forward march. We were hot and sweaty and tired.

In my opinion, it would have been easier to hike the rest of temescal. We didn't have any type of a blanket or towel to spread across the sand, so we improvised by sitting on our slings. I wish I had a picture of my awkward position. I spread my wet-with-sweat-moby wrap on the sand to sit on. As I attempted to snack on salad, I was holding Max with one hand and a little umbrella to keep us from getting a sunburn with the other hand.

We got sand in all our food and every crevice of our bodies, but it was a great time. Ethan has a funny love/hate relationship with the ocean. He's fascinated yet scared of the water that keeps coming back to get him. He was all boy running around and digging up sand.

Max was slightly less impressed. Nothing compares to milk bottle numbers one and two. He had his boobies so all was good. Yeah, imagine that. With everything else I was trying to balance, I had to whip out a sweaty boob for my boy. Kinda' yucky sounding, but what's a thirsty boy to do....

Sunday night we went to dinner at Sor Tino for Robert's birthday. I love this restaurant because it is walking distance from our house and the Italian food is delicious. It was such a nice, normal dinner, and then our little group of five (plus one sleeping baby) walked over to Yogurtland. We took the little sample cups and kept re-filling them over and over again. I couldn't stop laughing. Part of me was giddy happy at how long Max had slept without a peep and the other part of me couldn't believe this group (ages 33 - 42) was having so much fun eating free dessert. Gosh, we are so mature.

When I was little, I can remember thinking that being an adult meant you had to be a boring, predictable person. Now I think it means you can have more fun than ever. I can't believe no one at Yogurtland told us we needed to purchase a yogurt, or better yet to just leave.

Hey, I guess there are worse places to be than a yogurt bar on the weekends. At least we weren't at Cabo Cantina smoking cigs with the baby. Or better yet at home licking baby food off the counter.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bananas & Babies

Max got to eat his first bite of a banana today. It was hilarious to see how much he loved it. We froze a small bite for him inside a mesh net. He worked on that banana for 20 minutes....enough time for me to make a beautiful salad for myself! It must have felt really good on his gums to chew on it because he smiled and kicked his legs with enthusiasm. It was the equivalent of giving Boogars catnip to let Max attack his new frozen treat!

I just put Max to bed at 10pm and I'm very curious if that bite of a banana will help him sleep any longer. He's been going 6 hours for his longest stretch these days and that is already considered sleeping through the night. But he is up 3 times almost every night and that's still a lot.

I'm proud of myself for not giving in to the baby training short cuts. Every time Max entered a growth spurt and was eating every hour or two, Marc would say to just feed him already. But then we'd get through that little phase and be so happy we were able to stick with exclusive breast feeding. This will ultimately benefit Max's health forever and reduce his risk of so many diseases including diabetes, allergies, and obesity.

I have to admit that when I look at my 17 pound baby who has more than doubled his weight, I am elated at the fact that I am the one who fed him every single meal. Even the small amount of bottles he's had has been my milk that I pumped. I think I would advise any new mom to just hang in there and keep up the good work. One day your baby will get sick and you might look back and wish you had done things differently. No regrets....

Thursdays at the park are always a treat. I love this group of mommies and babies. It is one of the highlights of my week to see this lovely group. Max is usually one of the most talkative babies of the bunch. I think he is happiest in groups like this where he is getting lots of attention. You can see Max upside down holding his rattle. It was a great day as usual!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Funny Little Dude

Max is being so adorable that I couldn't resist a little update. Right now he is laying next to me and laughing out loud for no apparent reason. There is absolutely nothing funny going on. He doesn't even have a toy in his hand. He is just laughing and laughing and laughing. It's making me laugh because it is funny to watch a little boy laugh like this!

He has started entertaining himself for 15 minutes at a time on a regular basis. I still hold him as much as possible, but when I have stuff to do, I can easily lay him down with some toys and he is good to go. These little chunks of time give me so much freedom!

We've only been home from our trip to Birmingham and Dallas for a few days and we are already getting on a good schedule. Last night he went to bed at 9:30 pm which is pretty good time for us. He's usually ready to go for the day 11 hours after he falls asleep. Today that meant he was ready to go for the day at 8am. That would have been fine with me except that I stayed up kind of late working on a project.

So he has been waking up at 1am for a feeding. This has always been ok for me because I want him to have a full belly before I get into a deep sleep. But last night he woke up and was back asleep in less than a minute. That's because he found his pacifier and put it in his mouth all by himself. So he was instantly a happy, sucking baby and didn't need me. That was kind of awesome!

Last week he started groaning in the middle of the night, which of course means he is hungry. I turned over to feed him and he used his hand to take his pacifier out of his mouth so he could drink his milk. That amazed me that his hand-eye coordination was so accurate and he knew exactly what to do. I guess it makes sense that if he knew how to take the pacifier out of his mouth he would know how to put it back in.

Marc has said a few things that I found funny. A month ago before I took Max to Florida, Marc goes, "Look, he loves me! He's holding on so tight!" Marc also said he thought I was crazy in the beginning for talking and singing to Max. Now he said he understands why I do it--because he loves it. It has been nice to see Marc come around and learn how to communicate with his son.

One of my friends was talking about this with me. She said that we are so used to talking to our pets and anyone that will listen, that talking to our baby is natural. But you know me and the extensive reading I do. I read that eye contact along with mimicking the baby's sounds gives them confidence and high self esteem. So of course I do that all the time.

Last night Marc took Max out of my hands and gave Max a bath. And then they cuddled on the couch for a while. During this time I was able to clean the litter box, shower, and pluck my eyebrows. It is nice that he has started doing things like that without me asking. Really, it is a relief for me, and it is so sweet to see them bonding.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Goodbye Mama Ellen...Hello Tooth!

Baby Max went to his first funeral this week. He lost his great grandmother Mama Ellen. So we made the trek out to Birmingham, AL for the celebration of her life. Here he is sleeping on the airplane. It is always a wonderful occasion when there is an empty seat next to me for him.

Mama Ellen's funeral was a lovely and quite humorous day. Hopefully it doesn't sound bad to refer to someone's death in such a light-hearted manner, but the stories about Mama Ellen's life were so funny! She was a real character and I feel like some of my silliest qualities have been passed down from her. It was great to hear stories about how she was filled with the holy spirit and that was why she was so lively and full of personality. Mama Ellen had a lot of friends and it was such a nice congregation. I think it was especially wonderful and a bit of relief that I introduced her to her great grandson before she left us. It made me feel better that I was proactive and able to make that happen.

Mama Ellen was cremated and that was a new experience for me. After the service, the immediate family went outside to spread her ashes. I think that's a better way to go than viewing a dead body. But I guess it's all personal preference. In a sense it was as if it didn't register that she was gone. Maybe it was partially because I was busy with Max through out the entire service and ceremony that I didn't have the opportunity to cry or be my usually-emotional self.

On our way home from Birmingham, we stopped through Dallas for a few days and I got to see some of my most wonderful friends. This is a picture of Meg's son Julian with Baby Max.

I made a little baby swimming pool on the back porch for Max. It became his spot for bath time. He would sit in his pool for quite a while and be happy to splash his hands in the water. He seemed quite comfortable in there...almost like a little pimp. The way he would lean back with his arms out on either side of the bin was a little too cool and confident for someone that can't even walk!

It looked like a great way to spend nakey nakey time. In my opinion every baby needs a chunk of time in a day without wearing a diaper. Especially babies that have to wear plastic, disposable diapers. We use cloth at home, but when we're travelling we just go with the grain. I'm surprised more people don't use cloth. It's easier than you think and even Marc agrees that the baby likes it better.

For a guy that's been on about 10 different airplanes in the past 5 months since he was born, it was about time Baby Max reached another milestone. Today I felt his gums and realized he cut his first tooth! I just felt inside his mouth 2 days ago and didn't feel one, so it just came through TODAY! How exciting! I really had no idea I would be this excited about Max getting a tooth, but I am absolutely elated.

So it was a busy, sentimental week. Mama Ellen died on Papa Joe's birthday and after we arrived home Max got his first tooth. I refuse to go anywhere again until Thanksgiving. All I want to do is enjoy sunny California and my boys. The only problem with this is that LA didn't get the memo that it's summer time....brrrr!