Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Monkey Kisses

Happy Halloween! All weekend we are reminded of our own childhood joys of dressing up in homemade costumes and trick or treating all over the neighborhood. And we can't help but remember the sorrow of having our parents throw away all the candy. And the joy of having an extra secret stash that they didn't know about. And the sorrow of eating so much sugar that we had to vomit.

It probably wasn't necessary to eat the entire trash bag full of candy in one night. Just thinking about it gives me a simultaneous sugar high and low....I do not know how we were physically able to tear open hundreds of wrappers and shove that many nerds, reeses, and tootsie pops into our mouths in one sitting. In my old age (early 30's) I've graduated from binging on sweet confections to getting a head ache after a single peanut butter cookie. And I'm simply unable to resist the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. It has become rebellious of me to eat two whole cookies.

Contesting how much junk food I can ingest on Oct. 31 is not the only thing that has changed for me this halloween. Now all I care about it my little monkey. Seeing him at the park with his friends yesterday was the most precious thing in the entire world. All the mommies were eager to show off their little ghosts and goblins. Whether it was a lobster, farmer, or angel in tow, you can bet it was stinkin' cute.

As an outsider looking in, I probably would have thought that we were a bunch of nutball mommies torturing their little ones by forcing them to wear ridiculous outfits. However, I was on the inside all the way and loving every minute. Nothing could have been more normal and natural than staring at our little pumpkins.

Ballerina Calli was leaning in for a kiss, and Monkey Max decided to chew on some keys rather than reciprocate his lady friend's affection. Silly monkey....happy halloween!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lights Camera Camping

As if we didn't already know it, Max is a ham in front of the camera. We booked an infomercial together and shot it last week. He was all smiles as I talked about the fantastic baby food processor that we've been using to make all of Max's baby food at home. He was a natural and we enjoyed our time on set.

The whole crew including the producers raved about Max's happy demeanor. Every single one of the babies at the shoot was adorable, but they unanimously voted Max the Gerber baby of the group. He won it by a long shot.

Max may read this later one day and think it's crazy that he ever loved so much attention. Or he may laugh at how he was born loving the camera. Either way, I will support him, but I'm guessing it will be funny to look back on how his life began.

On Friday, we headed out for a weekend of camping out at Joshua Tree. I think it was fairly brave of us to take a 7 month old camping, but everything went really well. Max absolutely loved all of the bustling activities that encompassed camping. Once again, he was a natural.

Like all little boys, Max loved being in the tent. He didn't seem to miss the comfort of his crib for one single second. He slept on the air mattress for part of the time and in my suitcase for the other part of the time. It got really cold at night and we had him bundled up like a burrito. We kept him so busy that he never turned down an opportunity to sleep. Awesome!

We went on 3 beautiful hikes and Marc and I traded off carrying Max. It was a little too hot for me to keep him in the moby wrap, so Marc ended up just carrying him in his arms most of the time. That had to be an arm workout for Marc and pure bliss for Max. He was so content that he even fell asleep around Marc's neck on one of the hikes. It was pretty darn cute if I say so myself.

This was truly a week of reaffirmation that my baby is a super star camper. He doesn't mind roughing it or earning his keep. What a trooper! I'm not ready to get him an agent, but we will start planning our next trip!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Plan B

The biggest news we have these days is that Max is sleeping in his crib and only gets up a couple times a night now. The way we initially devised the plan was not the way I carried out the plan. But sometimes you have to go to plan B.

Plan B involved me jumping up and down through out the night like a jack in the box. I could no longer breast feed him laying down in the middle of the night because I would fall asleep while nursing. And then forget about waking up to put Max back in the crib. I was too tired to care, and too absent minded to think about the baby sleeping anywhere else besides right next to me. So I would breast feed in the rocking chair and lay him back in the crib when I was finished.

It sounds like a really easy process, but nothing was easy that first week. It was harder on me than anyone. It wasn't very hard on Marc (except for a couple feedings he did) because he slept in another room and couldn't hear what was going on. And it wasn't hard on Max, because he always got and continues to get fed and soothed whenever he needs. But for me it was brutal.

We put the air mattress in Max's bedroom for me to lay down on after feeding him. That was especially useful when Max wouldn't go right back to sleep after a feeding. I could lay him down in his crib, and if he woke up I would be right there in his room to assure him that he was ok rather than running back and forth from one room to another.

Most importantly, I am very pleased with the results. We didn't use any cry it out methods or any baby training techniques. We didn't subscribe to the Ferber method or any other nutballs. We stuck with basic attachment parenting principles and hold your breath. Dun dun dunnnnn.....maternal instincts.

The easiest way to transition a baby to a crib this way is to have the father do all the night time feedings with a bottle. That way they still get their milk without looking to the boob for comfort all through out the night. But I crossed the hardest hump on my own before Marc's mom came in town. She did almost all the night feedings and helped me out tremendously. I think that really allowed us all to adjust to our new sleeping arrangements.

And just to clarify, I would start off co-sleeping if I had to do it over again. There is no way in the world I would have been able to hop up and down to breast feed every hour or two in the beginning. I'm certain that there is no way I would have succeeded with much separation between us. I believe mommies and babies are meant to be very close together in the beginning to develop a strong, secure bond.

Max is doing tons of adorable things that are much more interesting than just sleeping. He's been eating solid foods for well over a month now. It took a while to care about food, and now that he does I think he's obsessed. Today he wouldn't stop eating and Marc just kept feeding and feeding him. Marc thought he would know when to stop eating because he was full, but that was absolutely not the case.

Marc fed him hummus, a little slice of a peach, and a ton of sweet potato. He wouldn't stop eating sweet potato and Marc thought he was still hungry. Later when Max threw up we decided that it is our job to have portion control in mind after a certain amount. If he really likes the taste of a food, he might never stop eating if we don't stop feeding him.

We also like to feed him some foods such as avocado, banana, and boiled carrots that he can feed himself. It's fun for him and keeps him busy while we are doing other things in the kitchen. Here's Max in his high chair where he hangs out and watches me make shakes and clean dishes. The blender doesn't even phase him because he is so used to the noise. This is part of our routine almost every single day.

Marc's mom brought her friend Barbara with her to visit us and they stayed for a whole week. We went to some really fun events together. We all went to the movies and saw "The Town" with Ben Affleck. It was a great plot with a tremendous amount of violence. I got to see a fair amount of the flick except for when Max was talking to the big screen and we had to take some breaks to go sit outside.

We went to the Ahmanson Theatre to see "Leap of Faith" with Brooke Shields. It wasn't up to Broadway's standards, but we enjoyed it. I was so excited about getting out with the girls in my high heels that I wasn't paying attention and ungracefully fell down a small flight of stairs. Let's just say, "Ow, I'm still sore from that mistake!"

One night we got a babysitter and all went out to a comedy show at the Groundlings. We laughed our butts off and probably got a little ab workout that night. It was an absolute blast.

And for some "me" time, I went to a few yoga classes, got a massage, rode my bike, and got lots of extra sleep. That's really all it takes to make me happy. That was such a treat for me to do these things that I love and come home to the cutest baby in the world. It's amazing how he becomes even cuter after the opportunity to be selfish....I am so blessed!