Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The "Plus Pooch"

Remember the sing songy rhyme we all sang in grade school- "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage!" Well in our case, it was love, marriage, puppy, baby.

I have talked about her a lot, but I feel she has been slighted when it comes to introductions. Please meet Norah. She is the "plus pooch" in our blog title. Norah is a four year old boxer, and the best big (doggy) sister in the world.

She is very loving and very gentle with Marin. When Marin cries, she runs right to her side. In fact, Norah gets there most times before I can! And, if I don't get there soon enough Norah looks at me like, "Oh now you decide to get in here!" As Marin gets older we have really seen Norah's maternal instincts kick in. Right down to the kisses when we brought Marin home. Once Norah learned that the baby is not to be treated like a popsicle, they bonded immediately.

I also had a boxer growing up. Alex was equally as loving. My brother Jake and he were really bonded the most because they were about the same age. Poor Alex had crayons stuck in his ears, a nose in every picture, and I think one time Jake even tried to ride him like a horse.

I think Marin and Norah will have a similar kinship. After all, life with a 50 pound, four legged furry creature of drool in her face is all she knows. Norah is as normal to her as Jason or I. Although most of the time we smell better and eat less.

(I warned you yesterday that I took way too many pictures of the dog when Marin was at daycare. Here is some of the proof.)

Marin's first day of daycare...

We decided that it might be best to ease Marin into daycare. Instead of her first day being a long day, she could go a few days for a little bit at a time so when it came time for her to be there all day long, she was used to being there. Now, I realize that it doesn't take a genius to read between the lines here to realize that this scenario also really works for my piece of mind. And it helps not to have to go back to work after three months and take her to daycare for the first time, all in one day.

So yesterday was the big day. It was a tough one. Jason and I took her together. I had a bag full of her things, all labeled, and a note on the bag describing its contents. If they wondered if I was going to be "one of those", I guess I really showed all of my cards at once. I wanted to go back and get her about five minutes after we dropped her off, but I realized that not only would it have been counterproductive, it would have been crazy. And I didn't want to show my crazy card just yet.

We wanted to do a trial run of the timing of everything how it would be when we went to work, so here it was 8:00am, and I was dressed, had my hair dried and had makeup on. To top it off I wasn't pushing a stroller, or even tugging on a dog's leash. What to do? In the time she was gone I was like a lost puppy. I decided I had to busy myself to squelch the thoughts of going back to get Marin. So I went to Starbucks, ordered a drink, read the paper cover to cover and the sat outside Crate and Barrel waiting for it to open six minutes later. I mean, come on, like you wouldn't have done the same thing. I know you would have.

A few shops later, I decided it was safe to come home. After all, I had to hide my purchases from Jason. (Only kidding, honey) :) Once I was home, I did our laundry and Marin's laundry plus washed the rugs in both bathrooms as well as our sheets. I emptied the dishwasher, loaded the dishwasher, made the bed, wrote in some of Marin's books that I gave her, tidied up our house, took way too many pictures of the dog, checked my bank statement online, and baked banana bread. Then I went to pick Marin up. When I got there they asked if I had lunch or got a manicure. Those would have been much more fun that laundry. Why didn't I think about that?

Marin was sleeping like a perfect little buttercup when I arrived. I'm sure she wished that I had waited so that she could finish up her nap and say goodbye to her new friends. But I couldn't wait to get her home so that I could kiss her cheeks some more and tell her how I hated being without her.

I am so proud of Marin for adjusting well to daycare. Sure, she's just a baby. But it is a different place with different people. And even if she didn't know the difference, I'm just telling myself that she likes it better with me. :) Plus, having her home was a welcome reward for having completed all my chores.

Today we took her back again and it was a little easier. I went to the gym and came home and soaked in our whirlpool for two hours. Heaven. She'll go back again tomorrow and I don't know what I'll do then- maybe I'll have to learn how to cook a roast or something. Friday she'll be with me again all day. It will be our last day together, so it will be strictly devoted to reading books, singing songs, and smiling at each other. I have to go back to work on Monday. I don't know where the time went. It is true what they say; time flies when you are having fun.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Sale!

This is a story of a new mom.

A new mom who, due to recent birth of daughter, has been wearing the same jeans every day for way too long.

Said mom has not bought anything for herself without elastic in almost a year.

Said mom found a sale. The sun was shining. The sale/sun combo caused the following:

Mom in good mood because of warmth of sun on her arms.
Mom sees a dress that catches her eye.
Mom decides to try on dress for various upcoming events.
Mom removes eight dresses from the racks.
Daughter sleeps peacefully in her stroller.
This makes mom happy.
Mom tries on dresses.
By some stroke of insane luck, dresses fit.
Mom in even better mood now.
Mom feels hot.
Mom wants to buy four dresses.
Mom buys three...
And two pairs of shoes.

Will Dad kill mom? It is probable.

This is a story of a mom who needs to go back to work.

Who me? Never. :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

next up... napping in her crib!

Marin's lifelong to do list (to date):
1. Learn to nurse- check
2. Follow an object with my eyes- check
3. Sleep through the night- check
4. Hold my head up (most of the time)- check
5. Drink from a bottle- check
6. Learn to nap in crib- HELP!

Marin refuses to nap in her crib. She sleeps there at night with no problem for hours. But during the day for a couple of hours? No sirree. She naps in our arms, in her swing, in the car, and in the stroller, but not in her crib.

We'll get back to you on our progress here.

All smiles....

Marin is smiling up a storm these days. We went to the doctor last week to get a shot, and as I laid her on the examination table, she looked up at the nurse and smiled the biggest, sweetest smile. Then she got her shot. I think I watched Marin get betrayed for the first time. It was terrible. I swooped in with lots of hugs and snuggles and she quieted shortly after.

I think Marin is starting to recognize Jason and me. The other day I went in to get her after she woke up from a nap and when she saw me she stopped crying, looked up at me and smiled. The BEST!

She smiles at Jason when she sits with him on his knees. Her smile is so big and because she obviously has no teeth, its all gums.

When we are changing her diaper, she smiles. When she is sitting next to Norah, she smiles. When she is in her swing, she smiles. And for sure when we smile at her, she smiles back.

We are LOVING it! It's a little hard to get on camera, but here are a few that are pretty close.

Who do I look like?

Many, many people ask us "Who does Marin look like?" meaning either Jason or myself. Even after people meet her, often times they ask the same thing. She doesn't really look exactly like either Jason or I did when we were little. There are features of hers that are definitely Jason, and there are features of hers that are more like mine. Jason said it best: "She looks like Marin."

Marin was 10lbs. 10oz. and just over 24 inches long at her last doctor's appointment. We are told that that is in the 90th percentile for her height and 25th percentile for her weight. Jason and I were both pretty long and narrow when we were children with skinny limbs-- so perhaps she is just like both of us.

You decide for yourself:

Here are a few recent pictures of Marin:

Here are a few of my baby pictures:

And here are some of Jason's baby pictures:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Straight Legs!

I hope you all had a nice Easter weekend. We sure did. The Easter bunny bounced all over the state for Miss Marin. The weekend included visits by all of her grandparents and great grandparents, most of her aunts and uncles, a marathon (Go Natalie!), a photo shoot, and a rear ended accident at the fault of myself (mother of the year) for being on my blackberry. (We are all okay. Our insurance rates and my otherwise squeaky clean driving record were hurt the most.) We had another successful, tantrum free mass; Aunt Lindsay told Marin all about "the country" (next time she hopes to see a cow!) and she set foot (well, not really) on her future University for the first time. We took a picture on the football field for her dorm room. :) ILL! INI!

As much as a joy Marin is, and as much as we love every second, there are times where we learn the true meaning of the word challenge. And just as we get one thing figured out... another pops up. Marin is now sleeping through the night every night, in every crib, in every new location that poor child wakes up in. What a trooper! Mark socializing and traveling down to her list of likes-- right under smiling, eating her hand, and burping.

There are a few things that she doesn't like, however, and we have come to learn her way of showing us. Whenever she is unhappy she straightens her legs out really straight, becomes stiff as a board and then starts to cry. We'll be holding her, something will set her off, and she will straighten up those legs. Then we say, "Oh! Straight legs!!" and wait for the other shoe to drop. It's actually pretty funny. I think it is her way of showing us her strong will. Jason is a little worried about that "will" in her teenage years. I say, way to be an independent woman, Marin. We just need to fine tune those manners. :) But first things first. With the straight legs come the tears and sometimes screams, and then, of course, we run around like crazy people trying to find a way to make her happy once again. One thing that we discovered that she does not like is eating from a bottle. Whenever we give her the bottle, Marin straightens those legs and screams and cries like we are trying to poison her. I had become quite concerned about this in the last few weeks. Her daycare days are fast approaching, and she'll need to eat from a bottle there to um, I don't know, survive! Plus, we weren't sure how endearing the daycare ladies would find her straight legs. We had heard that it can be hard for babies at first, and that it might be better if someone other than me try to feed her. Jas tried, my mom tried, Jason's dad tried, Katy tried, Lindsay tried... no go. We had been told to try holding her facing out, not cradled like I do when I nurse her. We all tried that. Twice.... no go. More cries... more screams... more straight legs.

Our pediatrician suggested that we try another kind of bottle. We did just that. Marin hated it. So, I bought 3 more kinds of bottles and continued the good fight. The third time really is the charm. We finally found a bottle that she will take without a fight. Of course, they are $10 a bottle. I'll tell you what though, after all of those straight legged fits, I was ready to spend $50 a bottle if I had to. Now, she still doesn't exactly gulp it down, but she takes it without tears and with legs relaxed comfortably. I'm not sure if she really likes the bottle or if she just got sick of being defiant and decided to appease us, but she drinks it none the less. Hallelujah.

To make sure she keeps up her streak, we have been feeding her from the bottle at least once a day. This morning I was giving it to her and she looked up at me like, "Okay mom. I'll do you this one favor. But you owe me." It's a favor I plan to repay her for someday by riding the teacups over and over again at Disney World. Then, mid bottle, she took her tiny little hand and rested it on the bottle. Just as I took note of how sweet it was, I noticed that her middle finger, and only her middle finger, was propped up against the bottle. I had to laugh. A message to the bottle. Letting it know just how much she disliked it. Take that, bottle!

It appears whether she knows it or not, straight legs or relaxed, we have ourselves a spit fire. Way to go, Marin. Once when I was about 18 or so, and having an especially defiant moment myself, my mom looked at me square in the eyes and said, "One day I hope you have a daughter just. like. you." I think she got her wish. :) Now please everyone, pray for our patience.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Two Months Old!

Marin was eight weeks old on Sunday. She is now smiling up a storm!

Two months old means only one month until I have to go back to work. Ugh. Jason has now committed to taking the train with me the first day. I think mostly to make sure that I actually go. :)

We have found childcare for Marin when I go back to work. We were going to get a nanny, and in the meantime we joined a parenting network and through that found out about an opening at a day care near our home. So, thanks to a family who is relocating to New York, we visited the day care, checked the references, discussed it to death, and decided to enroll Marin. She will be going to a woman's home. She has a staff of 6 all of whom have early childhood experience, she herself has health care experience, and has run daycares for longer than I can imagine. She has raised 3 very polite children (all of whom we met) one of whom is a violinist at the Chicago Youth Orchestra, and comes to play for the children once a week for "music day". She comes with glowing reviews from all of the parents we spoke with; she is clearly loving and enjoys children; she has tons and tons of toys and activities for the children to play with; they take field trips to the park, and the library and the Old Town School of Folk Music; the other children she cares for looked happy and engaged. She wants to know all about Marin's favorite toys, her pets, her friends and playmates..... She's a lovely woman, and it's a good place for Marin to be during the day. But I still hate it. And for the record, the woman's house is a little too unorganized and crazy for my liking. A lot actually. So there; take that!

But Marin will be happy there. I really think she will be. And that is what is important. Now I have just four more weeks to convince myself of this.

To be or not to be a working mother (out of the home) is the hardest decision I have had to make to date. Anyone who has had to make this choice knows the pains exactly. For some, I imagine it is an easy decision. But for others of us, it is seriously difficult. And the kill of it is- there is no right answer. And I may never ever know if I made the right choice. If only I could have it all. If only I could smuggle Marin to work with me in my pocket.

Maybe I'll work on that in the next few weeks just as a back up plan. In the meantime, I'm enjoying my last 30 days of the good life. Of all Marin, all the time... all along getting paid.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Odds and Ends

It seems like a lot has been happening around here lately. Here a few odds and ends:

We've come a long way:

Last weekend we were in the car on the way to our friends' engagement party when I said to Jason, "You know, we've really come a long way since we met." When he asked how, I pointed out that the first time we really hung out was on a Wednesday night, (in the middle of a work week!), at the Cubby Bear, where we stayed out until 2am yet each stumbled to work the next day. Now, a Saturday night, we were driving to an engagement party, drinking decaf tea with our baby in the back seat.

It's good to have someone to love in both situations.

Have Grandma will travel:
My mom and Marin and I spent the week together last week. Marin and I spent the night at my parent's house on Monday night, and my mom spent the night at our house on Tuesday and Wednesday. We had a fabulous time! We went shopping and to lunch and had cupcakes at a little shop in my parent's hometown; and Grandma and Marin had a lot of cuddle time. Marin did very well during her first ladies lunch! So naturally, we decided to do it the next day... and the next!

We wish we could spend this kind of time with you every day, Mom.

Present for Great Aunt Vee and Great Uncle Bob:

A few weekends ago Jason's Aunt Laveda and Uncle Bob came to visit us. We had such a nice time, and they just loved spending time with Marin. Marin gave Aunt Vee a lot of great big smiles, and Sunday right before they left, Marin gave Uncle Bob a much different kind of present. The kind that necessitated a bath for Marin and a wardrobe change for Uncle Bob.

I'm sure Marin will kill me for posting this some day, but we all got a good laugh!

Moving Out:
Since Marin is sleeping through the night these days (occasionally), she has moved from her bassinet in our room to her crib in her room. I have mixed feelings about it, but I know that she can't sleep next to me forever. Mark it down as the first time I've had to learn to let go. :)

Here are some pictures from her last time in the bassinet:

She really is an angel:

Yesterday was Marin's first Mass. It was Palm Sunday and Jason and I had our escape route all mapped out should she start to cry (read: scream so loudly that everyone turns to stare). But right at home at church, perhaps Marin really is an angel; she didn't make a peep the entire time.

Work out with a freak out:
So I worked out yesterday afternoon for the first time since Marin was born. Who am I kidding; it was the first time since two months before Marin was born. It's amazing what can change at the gym in four months. They had all these great new weight machines, and fancy new ellipticals. So, I grabbed one of the ellipticals and got going. (I am ridiculously weak, btw. I won't even tell you what happened on the ab cruncher. It was down right embarrassing.) So the elliptical has one of those tvs built right in, and although I prefer my ipod to the tv while I am on the machine, the tv was on- presumably from the person who worked out on the machine before I did. About ten minutes into my workout, I start to kinda watch the show on the screen and although I didn't hear a word, I could not look away. It was a show called Lost Tapes on Animal Planet-- have you heard of this show?! It was terribly wonderful! This episode featured a girl out at sea, and it was her gorgeous boat that first caught my eye. It was her inability to contact that coast guard after she saw blood all over a neighboring boat that made me watch, and after she decided to get out of there and fell overboard, I couldn't turn away. So here I am watching this show to the tune of "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me" and the boat gets farther and farther away from her, despite her swimming faster and struggling all the way. By the time "I like the way you move it, move it" came on, I fully expected the closed captioning guy to have told me that she was rescued. But instead it just said, "[crying]" and "[screaming]". I found out during the "Thong song" that although the coast guard was eventually reached, and search and rescue scanned the area for days, she was never found! Although her camera was found. And these are her Lost Tapes! I warned you that it was terribly wonderful. What a mystery!!

I will be back for this show.

Lucky Lindsay:

If you are a parent, I don't have to tell you how much easier it is to run errands without an infant in tow. There is the whole stroller factor, and the feeding factor, and the possible baby break down factor, and then there is the extra time I spend in the aisles saying, "Well Hello!!!" as Marin looks back at me with her bright eyes.

Saturday afternoon Jason and I had a bunch of errands to run, so we asked Lindsay to babysit. Marin was happy to have a little alone time with her Aunt Lindsay, and loved her first visit to her apartment. I don't think Lindsay minded either.

Kitchen river:
Have you ever heard of Kitchen River? Oh me either- until I flooded my kitchen this morning. Woops. I was filling the kitchen sink with water to wash Marin's bottles when the phone rang.... you can see where this is going. I plead sleep deprivation. Not to worry, it's all cleaned up now. No harm no foul. Ahh.... it's good to laugh at ourselves.

.... and that's about it. What can you take away from this post? Well, you have a new tv show to try out; if you hadn't suspected before, you've learned that your abs are totally shot after childbirth; you now know that Jason and I are officially boring, and that I've officially lost my mind. But that Marin is still a little Angel.