msLaura: Modern Mama Laura Hamilton + Dan Baker = Julian Hamilton Baker & Adrian Hamilton Baker "When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her."
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And in important late-breaking news...

My two-month old boy likes to pee in the potty

Happy news about chocolate and poop

What? Time is flying by *again*?

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« March 2004 | Main | May 2004 »

April 19, 2004

And in important late-breaking news...

And in important late-breaking news...I fit into my size 8 Gap khakis! OK, it's a tight squeeze, but not extremely tight.

I feel idiotic even writing the above as though it were news considering the *real* news, specifically the horrifying we've-just-opened-the-gates-of-hell news coming out of the Middle East, but you know, I'm not going to go there in this journal. I've done other journals about current news and politics, *this* one is about being a mom. Pure and simple. Let me just say that Bush had better not be re-elected, or I fear that my beloved baby son won't have much of a future. The environment will be irreversibly degraded, corporations will rule the world (without even bothering to hide it), and the entire world will hate us. Oh, they already do. Yikes.

By the way, with all the crazy gun nuts out there, won't one of them please take out Ralph Nader? What is UP with that guy? Ok, back to mom stuff now. No more politics.

Actually, I can transition out of that with the following story... Julian was watching a Baby Einstein video the other day while I was brushing my teeth and washing my face. Sure, I know the end of the video shows the nice mom watching the video WITH her child, but come on...I'll bet 99.99999% of parents who buy that video plunk their babies down in front of it to buy tooth-brushing or meal-preparation time...SOME kind of choring to be done while baby watches various toys flash by on the screen to bad MIDI tunes that are reminiscent of some famous composer.

I started folding laundry upstairs and lost track of time. The video only lasts 25 minutes or so, a mere split second in choring time. When a video ends, the regular TV comes back on. So to my horror I came downstairs and my 9-week old boy was watching the latest news from Iraq...a series of explosions, Marines with guns, Iraqi crowds chanting for death to America, smoke billowing out of destroyed homes, the works. Horrible! I'm sure I just scarred him for life. And he was totally staring at the screen transfixed too. Ugh.

That was definitely worse than last week's fiasco, where I was changing the sheets upstairs, lost track of time, and came downstairs to find the Baby Einstein video had ended a few minutes back and Julian was eagerly watching the latest Avril Lavigne video on MTV. What made it even more embarrassing is that the guys who are tiling our patio had arrived in the meantime through our back gate. They looked through the sliding glass door, I'm sure, and it must have been a chilling sight...the innocent baby plunked down all alone to watch MTV while his slattern of a mother is MIA. Awful, just awful.

I'm not really a fan of Baby Einstein videos so far. They're certainly better than CNN or MTV, but I just don't buy the whole "it makes your baby smarter" thing. Smarter than if they sat in a room staring at a blank wall maybe. If it were actual people playing musical instruments, or real animals, I would be fine with it. But it's really just a series of shots of different toys. Toy animals. Toy trains. Toy musical instruments (that no one plays, they just appear on screen). It's like an ad for toys, they even list all the different toy manufacturers at the end of the video. OK, there's the occasional flower or candle, but otherwise it's all just toy porn. Oooohhh, look at THAT toy, kids! I mean, half the toy musical instruments hardly even look like the real trumpet or piano or whatever it is they are supposed to be. The animals *sort* of look like their real-life counterparts, but not really. It's like a weird parallel universe in primary colors.

Lately I've been plunking Julian down in his Gymini to actually PLAY with a toy rather than just looking at a series of them on a TV screen, and I play opera arias for him while he bats at the dangling giraffe's multicolored feet. I figure that has to be better than watching 2D images of toys while listening to crappy MIDI music. And it keeps him absolutely entranced for 45 minutes or so. He is much better at batting with his left hand than with his right, but I think that's just because he's had much more practice with the left, that's where the giraffe was before I moved it around to his right.

Not that I'm worried at all, he's technically not supposed to be able to bat at toys for another month or so, so he's already way ahead of the game. My boy :-)

I read the other day that in parts of western Africa most of the babies ride in slings on their mother's backs. Newborn's heads are not typically supported at all, they just bobble around, and this bobbling is something fierce when they are riding in a sling on the back of a walking person. (My friend Elisabeth mentioned the bobbling baby heads that she saw in Africa too recently, an interesting coincidence.) Anyways, the bobbling, though it looks absolutely horrifying to us, apparently does no harm whatsoever to the baby. In fact, those babies tend to gain head and neck control many weeks earlier than American babies do, for the simple fact that the bobbling makes them start working their neck muscles a lot sooner. The other thing that those mothers do is swing the babies up onto their backs by one of the baby's arms, which also looks terrible but does no harm.

I noticed with Julian that he has really good head control and has had it for a long time now, since he was about 4-5 weeks old. People have marvelled at how well he can hold his head up. Apparently this is something that he should just be mastering now, at around 8-9 weeks? No, don't worry, I haven't been swinging him around by one arm or letting his head bobble all over without any support, but I don't handle him like a fragile doll. I'm certainly *careful* with him, but I turn him sideways to get him into the car, I lift him off the changing table without fully supporting his head, and when he rides in his sling his head does indeed bobble a little tiny bit when I walk. Not a lot, but he has to hold it up and work his neck, back and abdominal muscles, as opposed to being strapped into a car seat and just being a blob.

I'm not sure why people are so overly careful with babies though. They're only completely floppy for a very little while, and Julian was always wanting to work at holding his head up, pushing with his arms, standing on his legs, etc. For several weeks all I did was change him from one position to the next, and one of his favorites we called "climbing the mountain"...I would bend my knees and put him on my thighs with his face looking over the tops of my knees, and he would try to crawl over them. Of course, he wouldn't get anywhere, but he certainly tried his best and found it great fun. He has always been a big fan of being moved around a lot. Definitely not a baby who sits strapped in a car seat all day long.

Now Julian loves to be held under his arms while bearing his full weight on his legs and waving his arms around, and he loves to be held against my chest as he looks over my shoulder. He always tries to slip sideways in that position so that he has to cling on like a little monkey, but that is too hard on my arm and shoulder, so we don't do it too often. Anyways, this kid is strong, and I think it's because I let him actually do a little work from time to time. He gets that Gymini workout too, beating the hell out of the giraffe. He loves that. And kicking his legs like crazy on the changing table while staring at his mobile, another favorite. You can watch the video of that below.

I hear from a lot of moms that their baby has a flat head from being on his/her back all day...which amazes me. Julian always wants to be up and doing something, rarely is he on his back. Only if we're actually in the car going somewhere is he in his car seat. Otherwise he's being carried in my arms or in a sling (no head pressure). Oh, he sits in his bouncy seat, but that's kind of a sitting up position. He likes to sit up. He's not really a fan of reclining unless he's being nursed, or if there is something interesting to look at overhead. He sleeps mostly on his side, only sometimes on his back. So what's up with the flat heads? Do I just have a vertically-oriented baby? There's no way he would ever allow me to keep him on his back all day. Maybe if I just ignored his cries?

So back to the newsflash, yes, I am wearing size 8 pants. They are tight, but I am wearing them. Just a month ago I couldn't fit in the size 10 pants, now I can wear size 8! Strangely enough, I have barely lost a pound. Maybe 5 pounds total at most. But I have lost a lot of inches. I guess I am replacing postpartum fat with muscle. I'm so glad I am doing Baby Boot Camp! Obviously it is making a huge difference. I noticed today that I can actually *run* up this one hill with the stroller...two weeks ago I could barely even walk up it without feeling like I was going to die. Rock on! The human body is remarkable.

April 12, 2004

My two-month old boy likes to pee in the potty

Holy crap, I can't believe it. I took Julian to his potty last night when he woke up and squirmed against me. He wasn't interested in nursing, I never knew what he wanted before when he did that. His diaper was still dry as a bone at 3:00am. So I figured I would try to take him to his potty. When I took him, he peed a LOT. I thought he was done, so I took him back in to put his diaper back on, but he totally started fussing. On a guess, I took him back in to his potty and he stopped fussing, strained a bit and pooped right in the pot, then peed again!

Call me weird (go ahead!) but this whole thing is just too amazing. My two-month old boy likes to go in the potty! I took him again at 6:00am and just now when we woke up, and he pooped and peed each time. He had peed a little bit in his diaper in between, but it was almost dry. His rash is clearing up, and I can leave him on the changing table now uncovered without worrying about him turning into a baby fountain.

Totally remarkable! Babies are way more smart and capable than anyone gives them credit for. I mean, you can potty train a puppy...why would a baby be much different? They are less mobile, but it doesn't mean they want to crap in their pants any more than a puppy wants to poop in his bed.

I just think it's so hard to read their signals and communication because no one takes babies seriously, and you need to sit down and actually spend time paying close attention to the baby, not just try to shush him/her while trying to do something else. Plus, we're not very intuitive as a society...we've all become quite dense and oblivious to other people's feelings, even when they can talk and spell things out. Now that I'm paying attention, I can see all kinds of little attempted communications from Julian. I can already tell when he wants me to pay attention to him, when he doesn't like someone, when he wants to be in a different position, when he's bored, hungry, tired, angry. This potty training thing has opened my eyes to a whole new set of signals from him that I was totally missing before.

It's funny, I thought he would just be a little blob for the first six months, because that's what I've heard from everyone, but he's so *not* blobby, he's a real little person with a real personality and preferences and an ability to communicate with me if I would just pay attention to him and try to clue in. Are all babies like this?

April 11, 2004

Happy news about chocolate and poop

I put up new photos below, and one new MPEG video. I can't wait until Julian is older and we can go on Easter egg hunts. Fun!

So he pooed and peed in his potty TWO more times today. I am really amazed. We would have caught every single poo today, except that I ignored my intuition. We went for a long walk with Bugs this afternoon, during which Julian slept in his sling. When we got back and he woke up I felt *sure* that I should take him potty, but Dan wanted to say hi and play and I had to start dinner, so I didn't take him to the bathroom. After Dan had him for just a few minutes, he pooped in his diaper several times. Ooops, sorry baby! I totally dropped the ball in that case, knew he had to go and I didn't respond. Well still, not bad for our first day at it.

Tried to give him a bottle of pumped milk again tonight to no avail. Arrgh, this is torture. We need to get him to take a bottle from time to time in case I am gone and he gets hungry. He was taking the bottle just fine at around 4 weeks, but then we didn't give him a bottle for about a week and a half and he decided in the meantime that Breast is not only Best, it's the only thing he wants. He screamed nonstop when Dan offered it to him, he screamed nonstop when I offered it to him, my friend Lisa got him to take only about an ounce last Friday (after *much* protesting, but it was better than nothing!), and tonight Dan tried again, but he just screamed like he was totally pissed off that we could be so stupid as to offer him this ridiculous horrible PLASTIC thing when he was hungry and wanted a real nipple!

After about ten minutes of attempted bottle-giving the screaming got to be too painful, he was so mad he was choking and purple. I breastfed him and then tried to sneak the bottle nipple into his mouth on the sly. No dice, man. He got this completely offended look, then started screaming in anger again. DAMN that bottle! I HATE IT! GET IT AWAY FROM ME!

So great success on the potty front, but the bottle-giving is not going so well. Oh win some, you lose some. I go back to work when he is 5 months old...maybe he can handle a sippy cup by then? That's what the lactation consultant suggested.

And yet another new breakthrough today...yes, it was one of those very eventful baby days.
He hasn't been very interested in his Gymini until yesterday, when Dan played with him using some of the toys in it. Then today I laid him down and had the toy giraffe talk to him. He was fascinated by it, but didn't reach out or anything. He hasn't been batting toys or reaching out very much yet, that's not supposed to happen until Month 3, I guess. Well, I took his hand and batted the giraffe with it and he got the idea. Within about 10 minutes he was batting the giraffe like a punching bag, just got totally into it. So we'll do another "Baby Workout" in the Gymini tomorrow.

Every day there are more ways for us to interact and more toys we can play with. As he gets older he is so much more fun!

Newsflash! Chocolate During Pregnancy Has Good Impact on Baby! And it's a good thing too, because with the amount of chocolate that I ate when I was pregnant, I should have given birth to a chocolate Easter bunny instead of a baby.

"Six months after the infants were born the mothers who had eaten chocolate reported more reactions such as smiling and laughter in their offspring." Well, that could explain how I got a baby who started smiling at me right after he was born, and started laughing at only a few weeks old. People ask me all the time if he has started smiling yet...yet? He has been smiling since Day One! He's an old pro now.

A while back that I posted about how I would like to try Infant Potty Training (also known as Elimination Communication) with Julian after he was born.

I didn't really start doing it until now (he was 8 weeks old on Friday) because I was busy doing other things and kind of overwhelmed, plus I nurse him on demand and it seems like he is constantly pooing and peeing. But I revisited the book that I got (Infant Potty Training by Laurie Boucke) and decided to start in. Two months is actually a good age to start, not too late, although some moms start right after birth.

Well, I wasn't expecting too much, because I understand that it is a slow gentle process, and I don't really have any goals in mind other than to have better communication with my baby and spare him from having to sit in his own waste as much as possible.

I started off this morning...I woke up and he woke up next to me at the same time. I immediately gave him a kiss and took off his diaper. As I was holding him over the potty (I got a Baby Bjorn Little Potty that I can sit him on while he leans back against my stomach, it's great!) he pooped. I was so surprised I forgot to make the cue sound!

Then I said, "Sssssss" and he peed in the potty! He seemed happy about it!

I told him, "You peed!" and told him what a good baby he was, then wiped him off with a little toilet paper and put a clean FuzziBunz diaper on him. So psyched!

I am starting off slow, not taking him to pee every half hour or anything, but just taking him when he wakes up in the morning, after he nurses, and when he wakes up from a nap. You can do it as much or as little as you want, whatever works for the both of you.

We took a bath, then I nursed him. He was falling asleep afterwards as he usually does, so I wasn't sure if I should wake him up, but I did, I held him over his little potty and made the sound. He immediately started straining a little bit and pooped and peed in his potty. It was amazing, so easy! Again, I just wiped his butt with a little toilet paper and he was all clean and ready to go back into a clean cloth diaper. So much easier than changing a poopy diaper and having to wipe all the squished poop off him! And the poor thing, the diapers are all chafing his groin and now he has a yeast infection there in the groin folds that is red and sore. I am treating it and it's clearning up, but it breaks my heart to have to keep putting a diaper on him when I know it will rub on the sore patches no matter what I do. I wish the weather would warm up again so we could go outside and be diaperless for a while.

The squatting position that he is in on the potty seems to make it much easier for him to poo than sitting up with legs out, or on his back in the diaper.

So anyways, we're off to a good start. I'm excited to keep going. And I swear, he is too! I get the feeling from him that he is SO much happier not having to poo and pee in a diaper and then sit in it, even if it's just for a minute or two. It's like "Finally Mama, you understand!" When he was born he absolutely HATED to sit in a dirty diaper for even a minute. He would cry instantly until he was changed. He is a mellow baby, and doesn't cry anymore when his diaper is a little dirty, but I can't imagine it's fun for him. And I don't want to train him to get USED to sitting in his own poo/pee, which is what happens as babies get older. They start off hating it though. So this is a bonus for both of us. It's a little more time-consuming to strip him down and hold him over the potty, but whatever...I'm not so busy these days that I can't handle it. It's not like diaper-changing isn't time-consuming, either.

We went to my friend Gillian's birthday party last night and he was wonderful. Everyone commented on how calm and alert and happy he was. I just wore him in the cotton pouch and took him out for a stretch every now and then, or a little nursing. We danced to the DJ and he looked intently at all the sparkly lights. Gillian's friend Heathcliff played guitar and sang and Julian thought that was fabulous. I really should take him to more live music events, he loves music and singing.

We took a whole bunch of new photos of Julian, he is so cute. Must post those today.

April 07, 2004

What? Time is flying by *again*?

I can't believe it's 3:00pm already. Where did the day go? Time is just flying by at light speed, it's kind of freaking me out. I can't believe Julian is almost 2 months old already.

I keep thinking that I need to take WAY more pictures. I have been trying to get a family portrait of us taken, but either we all are in sweatpants and look scraggly or else we forget the camera or we forget to take a pic. It's infuriating. We just had Passover dinner over at Dan's parents' house on Monday and both of us looked decent and fairly stylin', the baby was freshly bathed and had a cute outfit on, and Bugs had a bath the day before, so he was all shiny and soft. I brought the camera and told Dan to remind me to ask his family to take a pic of us.

On the way home afterwards I remembered the family photo...too late. Infuriating. And tragic, because I know I will kick myself later for not having more pictures of this sweet period in our lives.

My poochy stomach is finally flattening out a little. I credit Baby Boot Camp. I broke down and bought some cheap capri pants from Old Navy because I just can't stand wearing the same old three pairs of pants all the time. I just can't. And two of those three pairs are sweatpants! When we were having the heat wave I could wear some cute skirts at least, but now that it's cold again I'm back to sweatpants. Dammit.

I really need some more hot weather. Not only do I have nothing to wear when it's chilly, but Julian only has a few sleeper-type outfits with feet on them, so I have to do laundry all the time. He's got about a *zillion* short-sleeved onesies, but it's too chilly to wear them. He has a few pairs of pants, but when you have to access the baby's butt so many times a day, it gets old pulling pants on and off. I like the easy on/off one-piece outfits. I like gowns the absolute best, but I've been wearing Julian in the Moby Wrap all the time lately, and the fabric wraps between his legs...a gown doesn't work.

Lately I just can't get this baby to take a long nap outside of the Moby Wrap. I tried his bouncy chair today after New Mom Group. He was passed out at New Mom Group, and in the car afterwards, and in my arms on the way upstairs. Once I put him in the bouncy chair though (a favorite napping locale), no dice. It was Playtime! So we played for a while, making silly noises to one another, smiling and laughing a lot, ultil he suddenly fell asleep about a half hour later. I snuck off, planning all the things I was going to do during his naptime, then he woke up again. not ten minutes later! We did that three times, then I finally put him back into his wrap, in the tummy-to-tummy position facing my chest. He passed out cold as soon as I put him in and has barely awakened since in spite of dogs barking, buzzsaws going every few minutes in the backyard, etc. He slept in that position for FIVE HOURS yesterday, and I don't think he woke up even once. He slept through a walk in windy weather to the grocery store and back home, through a sushi dinner in a loud restaurant blaring a baseball game on TV, then halfway through a visit to my friend John's house. Finally I woke his little sleeping baby ass up at 10:00pm for food, play, and a diaper change.

If only he would nap for five hours OFF my body. But I'll take five hours of nap however I can get it. He's supposed to be getting 14 hours of sleep a day. It's not easy to achieve this on most days.

We are redoing our back patio, tearing out the splintery wood deck and the scrubby little patch of grass that never grew right and putting in charcoal gray tile, plus stylin' modern lighting. It will be a nice place to hang out with the baby this summer. I can't wait to get a baby pool and splash with him in there.

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