Monday, June 29, 2009

Father's Day (one week later)...

Last week, when people were wishing Jason a Happy Father's Day for the first time, he kept saying, "Father's Day is for my dad." It reminded me of the first time I met his dad when I shyly offered, "Nice to meet you, Mr. Patterson." And he shot back, almost as a scold (although the nicest possible scold), "Mr. Patterson was my dad; call me Bill!"

Although when Jason woke up last Sunday, and I wished him a Happy Father's Day, I asked him how it felt, and he admitted that it did feel special. And it should have. Jason is a great Daddy. Marin and I are the lucky recipients of his generous love and comfort.

When you choose a man you will marry, you know his attributes and how they compliment your own. For me, it was Jason's sense of wit, and laughter that really won me over. His sense of responsibility and delicate care for me let me know that he'd be a great husband. But I didn't really have any idea about what kind of a father he'd be. Sure, he made jokes with my goddaughter about how she was going to turn into a pumpkin if she ate pumpkin pie. And I remember a warm hearted moment on a quiet night in Wisconsin when Jason fished at the end of the pier with his cousin's son. But not until Marin was born was it really confirmed that Jason would be an absolutely amazing father. What I have learned is, it is the same reasons why I fell in love with Jason, that have made Marin googoo for him as well. He is playful and fun. He is kind and gentle. When Marin was only a few days old he was the first one to pop out of bed and run to her side and quietly calm her sweet frightened cries. As she grows, Jason is always the first to play with her and test what she can do. Where I want to keep her clean, and safe; Jason knows better to let her explore her new world and discover on her own. Jason has great pride in Marin. It is largely because of him that she thrives as she does.

As a mother, it is an incredible gift to know that your child sees their father as the superstar of her life. When Jason enters a room Marin follows him all the way across the room and beams when he comes to her. I am eternally grateful that Jason sees Marin as the most important thing in our lives. As a wife, I feel immensely lucky to get to embark on this journey of parenthood with Jason. He keeps me grounded. He keeps me calm. And he loves both Marin and me wholeheartedly.
This Father's Day was special not only because it was Jason's first, but because we were able to spend it with both of our dads- together. Last Father's Day we told our families that we were going to have a baby. How quickly a year goes. This year, we revelled at how much a new life changes the entire dynamics of a family. As always, Marin was the source of much joy on Father's Day. Jason and I feel very lucky not only to be very close to our dads, but to each have a grandfather in our lives. Along with our dads, they both have taught us a lot about the people we are today.

As Jason realized very quickly last Sunday, Father's Day absolutely is for him. And he's right, being a dad is special. And it's all because of his Mare-bear.

Jason, you are truly a terrific father. I hope you know how important you are in our lives. We love you to the moon and back.


Wow. It has been a busy week. But I think I can finally stop holding by breath. Things are starting to slow down from a sprint to a jog, and life is getting back on track.

Here's where the marathon began:
My brother got married last weekend (June 20th). It was a gorgeous weekend. We all had a great time and welcome his wife (that word is still a little hard to swallow -my baby brother has a wife!!) into our family with great honor and joy. It was also a very emotional weekend; Jake is my only sibling, and the baby by six years. I am so incredibly happy for him, but am still not quite sure he should be 16, let alone the 25 year old grown adult husband that he truly is.

The wedding brought a weekend packed with events starting with the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner on Friday, straight through to the brunch on Sunday. And it turns out that when you have two parents of a 4 month old infant who are both in a wedding, that the infant needs to also attend... and who's being cared for for the day by a darling Aunt and Uncle (Jason's) that live 150 miles away... it is a bit like a clown fire drill at the circus. Everyone going in different directions at ridiculous speeds.

Add to this: Family in town from all over, both for the wedding (essentially ALL of my family, and Jason's parents) and to watch Marin (Jason's aforementioned Aunt and Uncle) who were staying with us, plus Father's Day (Jason's first- so I wanted it to be extra special)... and you see why I have been holding my breath.

As if that weren't enough, on Thursday before the circus rolled into town I came down with a cold. I have one sibling who gets married once in his life, requiring one weekend out of my entire existence, and of course, I'm sick. What are the odds. What's more is, I only got sick because I apparently underestimated the toxicity of germs from a person who only weighs 12 pounds. Marin had been sick, and she passed it to me. In all of Jake's wedding pictures I either have watery eyes (and not from crying) or a red nose from blowing it until my brains about burst. People will look back at the pictures and think I was a crack addict. Johanna the red-nosed bridesmaid.

But there was no time for vanity, because on Sunday morning Marin woke up with a terrible cough. Since Sunday was Father's Day (more on this later) we spent the day monitoring it, and finally decided to take her in first thing Monday morning. Just in time for Jason to ship out to New York on business, leaving me a single mommy for a few days. Monday morning I woke up to call the doctor to find that I, myself, had no voice at this point. When I called some people at work to ask them to take care of some things for me while I was out with Marin, one girl thought it was a man playing a trick on her.

Monday we spent about 2 1/2 hours at the doctor's office because once we got there the doctor got called into a "difficult case" and we were left waiting. Meanwhile, Marin is coughing up a lung, and the girl at the front desk is all but offering to make me lunch while I wait "patiently". When we finally were seen, the doctor listened to Marin's lungs and told me she was so glad that I brought her in (mom panic sets in here). She also said that Marin was the happiest sick baby she has ever seen (mom pride sets in here). Marin would hack up what sounded like her entire miniature lung and then look up at the doctor and grin from ear to ear. Marin was having labored breathing and was given a nebulizer. For those of you who don't know what this is (I didn't) it is a breathing treatment where by a mask was strapped to Marin's tiny little face and she had to breathe in this medicine that is puffed out through this machine that is plugged into the wall (I'm clearly not in medicine- this is as technical as I get.). This lasted only 10 minutes, although considering the fact that Marin was screaming bloody murder the whole time, it seemed like 10 hours. So much for the happiest baby bit. Marin was sitting on my lap and I was essentially holding her down, all the while leaning over the machine thinking maybe it would help my lungs, too.

Horrible as this whole thing was, it apparently worked, so Marin was fitted for a little take home mask and was prescribed an inhaler. The rest of Monday was spent sucking Marin's nose out with the aspirator, and trying to get her to inhale her medicine by way of the inhaler, and a tube attached to the mask. Did I mention that Jason was out of town? Poor guy- it was much harder on him to be away, not knowing what was going on. And lord knows that I was wishing he were home, if for no other reason than his two hands, and his patience. When the day was done, I just wanted to sleep. Marin woke up at 2am, 4am, 4:30am, and 5:30am. Awesome.

When Marin wasn't much better the next day, the doctor wanted to see her back again (mom panic continues). Luckily this time Marin was better! She still had the cough, but the doctor said it sounded like it was moving out of her lungs. Best. News. Ever. When we got home, I was greeted by my darling dog, who went to the bathroom all over the rug by the front door- where she no doubt stood patiently for me to take her out- only for me to ignore her due to the (finally sleeping) sick baby. I vehemently apologized to the dog (who at this point thinks she getting a treat) and flipped the rug over to find the laundering directions. "Profession Clean Only." I interpreted this to mean that I can throw it in the tub for a good soak with mild detergent.

When I finished cleaning up the dogs "accident" a quick check of my blackberry reveals that a student has been trying to reach me and when unsuccessful, wrote a note to a colleague to the tune of, "where the (heck) is Johanna and why isn't she helping me." Oh yeah, I have a job. I quickly write to my colleague to explain the situation, then forward the student a quick response and copy another colleague asking her to expand. I had a information session for a struggling group later in the day that I have gotten a slew of RSVP's for- a can't miss- and I asked the same colleague to cover for me. I spent the next few minutes thanking God for my flexible job and that of my friends that I work with.

But the dog needed to go outside, and with her accident fresh in my mind I wasn't taking any chances. So I gathered the baby in her carrier, throw it around my neck, and get the dog outside. As if I didn't already have my hands full, special treat discovered here: the dog has diarrhea. I can't make this stuff up. I don't have to tell you how I spent the rest of this day, but it deals with a lot of sucking and scooping.

At the end of the day, the house was finally quiet. Another check of my blackberry informs me that we have FOUR showings the next day. I did a little happy dance, then began stuffing diapers in the dryer, and dog beds under the couch. And I emptied the trash cans filled with boxes of snotty kleenex.

It suddenly hit me that it is Tuesday night and the next day we are all leaving the house for 11 days. So I began packing for a dog, and a baby and one tired mama (Jason can pack himself when he gets back) for 11 days. Luckily Jason helped schlep some things to the car before he left for New York- hallelujah- one less trip back and forth. I'm not even sure what made it into my bag. At that point I just hoped that I would be clothed, and that something would fit my slightly bloated post pregnancy frame. I made a master list of all that I needed to pack (categorized by person, of course); it filled an entire legal size of paper. I packed and piled things until after midnight.

Wednesday morning my mom arrived for some much needed relief. With the news that Marin was getting better, I needed to head back to work. I had a meeting in Wheeling, and was 15 minutes late. But I was there and in one piece. That night we went to my parents house for a few days. They helped with Marin, and Jason met us on Friday when he was back in town. It was so great to have us all back under one roof (even if that roof wasn't our own) and on the path to recovery.

Saturday morning, Jason woke up with Marin's cold.

Still, healthy or not, we celebrated a wonderful occasion, and Marin (and I) survived her first bout of sickness. We are headed to Lake Minnetonka in Minneapolis for a Patterson cousin's annual reunion Wednesday morning. And you better believe that come h-e-double hockey sticks or high water, I'll be enjoying a cold drink in the boat by Wednesday afternoon. I'm determined.

I think I have definitely earned my title as "mom".

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The long and lean string bean!

When I first started this blog I laid some ground rules. One of those rules was that in writing about our baby, I promised not to act as though she was the greatest baby to ever set foot on the earth. Well, I am afraid that this post might break that rule. Just a little.

Marin had her four month doctor's appointment today and she got a great report! She has already hit many of the six month milestones, and her doctor was impressed with Marin's strength and her overall happy, cheerful attitude. All through her examination, Marin smiled up at the doctor and cooed at her. Dr. Bergquist kept saying what a good baby Marin was and how laid back she seemed. (Yes, people, somehow I produced a laid back child. She gets that from her daddy, for sure!) She didn't even cry that hard when she got her shots!

Here are her 4 month stats:
Weight: 12lbs 12oz (10th percentile)
Height: 25 1/4 inches (70th percentile)

That's right; she is a long and lean string bean! Although the doctor was not concerned about her low weight (it has always been on the low end and she is still growing and thriving) she did say that she wants to monitor it a little bit to make sure that she doesn't continue to place in a lower percentile group next month. Although you may not know it to look at us these days, Jason and I were both skinny rails when we were children. Marin's little waist is so tiny that pants and bloomers are constantly falling off of her. But, we can't get the next size down, because then they are too short. Still, have you seen that girls chunky monkey thighs and arms? The girl can eat, and she is no wimp.

After the appointment I worked from home (but not before a quick, harmless shopping trip (shhh) for Marin's first party shoes that she'll wear to my brother's wedding this weekend). Marin napped for a few hours in the afternoon, but when she woke up she was the perfect apprentice. Here she is hard at work helping mommy.

And of course, Norah had to get in on the action as well.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sleeping right through it...

One of the problems with being an infant, is that you sleep right through many of your "firsts". I get all excited about some monumental first of Marin's; I get her all geared up, and she sleeps right through it. Case in point: her first parade over Memorial Day (right).

Recently, Marin slept right through her first boat ride. We all headed down to Jason's family's lake cabin last weekend. We had a great time visiting, grilling, and sitting by a nighttime campfire. Jason helped his cousin Neal build a dock, Norah played ball to her hearts content, and Marin entertained us all as she cooed and smiled away. Saturday night when the days work on the dock was done, we all went for a boat ride. Marin slept peacefully all bundled up and didn't move a muscle the entire ride.

She was much more lively the rest of our trip. Here are a few of the highlights, in picture form:

The next day we headed to my parent's house to celebrate my brother's birthday. That night, (at Grandma's request) Marin (and Norah (although this was not Grandma's request)) spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa's. It was Marin's first sleepover away from home without Mommy or Daddy. Marin and Grandma spent all day together the next day and had a great time! Marin was a good girl, and they all had so much fun together- visiting neighbors, taking walks, reading books, and chatting with friends (everyone wanted to stop by to see the baby!)

Meanwhile... Jason and I went home to an alarmingly quiet household devoid of any and all responsibility. No dog to take out, no baby to feed... I wish I could say we did something usually wild and crazy with our free Sunday night, but instead we crawled in bed early and didn't make a peep until morning. The next day, the news channels and everyone at work was talking about the huge storms the night before. What storms?

We slept right through it!

Proof that Marin is already teaching her old mom and dad a few things.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

4 Months Old!

Somehow, another month has passed in a flash right before my eyes. I can't even believe it!
Marin was 4 months old on Monday, and aside from going to battle with her first little cold, she is doing great!

Here are some of Marin's 4 month developments:

**She is rolling over a lot more now, which means that we have finally witnessed it actually happening, instead of just discovering her in the opposite position in which we left her. Last week she really surprised me when she rolled from her back to her stomach and to her back again! I applauded this as if she scored the winning touchdown, and beamed with pride the rest of the day. Of course, we have yet to get any of the rolling over on video. Every time we get out the camera she becomes more interested in it, than rolling over, and all activity halts.

**She still loves to "stand". She props her little feet up on your thighs and wants to bounce or dance. With our aid, of course. :)

**Marin continues to love music- We sing every day and read a book that features music played by pictured "baby" musicians. So far Vivaldi is her favorite; I think mostly because she recognizes the violin from daycare. She really perks up when she hears it.

**Marin has made her first two little friends. They are Shelby (11 months) and Sloan (14 months) from daycare. They tell us that Marin sits and "talks" and laughs with them like a couple of girlfriends.

**She doesn't hate tummy time quite as much now. Probably due mostly to the fact that she can hold her head up about 90 degrees, which allows her to be able to look around better. Sometimes she moves her legs back and forth like she is swimming.

**Marin is reaching out a lot and grabbing for things with her hands- including my hair, and recently, Jason's lower lip.

**She is definitely more interested in toys than she ever has been. She doesn't have a favorite yet, but loves to play on her play mat. She becomes very engaged with toys that are bright colors, and if they make noise it is an added bonus.

**We have ourselves a little extrovert in Marin! She loves looking around and wants to constantly be part of the action. When Jason and I eat dinner we usually put her in her swing, and she talks to us the whole time as if to say, "Hey guys. Don't forget about me! Whatcha' talkin' about over there?"

**I have been reading that Marin should now begin to better understand the role of communication. She babbles away and we have a lot of conversations like this:
Marin: (aaaah. daaaaaa. aaah! ahh! aaaaa!)
Us: "Oh, yes. I see. Can you tell me more?"
Marin: (aaaaah daa)
Us: "Do you see Norah?"
Marin: (aaah)
Us: "Norah is a dog. Norah is a brown dog."
Marin: (ahhhh aaaaaayyyyyy aaaaa!)
Sometimes I imitate her sounds and see if she can say them back to me. I say things like "ma-ma-ma-ma-ma" or "da-da-da-da-da" and "ba-ba-ba-ba" to see if she can say it back. So far she mostly just stares back at me blankly, but someday maybe she'll just surprise me! :)

**Marin loves playing with her feet. She puts them together like they are little praying feet. One day when she pulled them up to her head, we marveled at a baby's flexibility and I tried to see if I could do this too. Take it from me- it wasn't as cute.

**She loves to look at bright colors on the pages of books, even more this month. We read colors and shapes in Spanish as well as English, and numbers in Spanish and French (they are written in the book). I don't know how to pronounce much more than these though, so hopefully she's not too curious about another language.

**She is blowing a lot of bubbles with her mouth, and lately she has taken it to the next level by making an even bigger sound while trying to blow the bubbles. It's probably good for her motor development, but sometimes she ends up almost spitting at you.

Marin remains the number one greatest joy in our lives. We absolutely marvel every day at the rate and method in which she learns. Even with congestion, she is a happy, delightful little baby. And the complete love of our lives.