Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Think I'm Ready

Our midwife, Catherine, with Calliope 


























Yesterday, Calliope and I went to see Catherine, my midwife, to bring her a lavender plant and a birth announcement. She told me that I looked "better than I've ever seen you," which felt great! She also asked if my PCOS did not come back, because she said my skin was looking so very clear. I've not been dieting, but I have been loosely following a book called "Eat Fat to Lo.se Fat" which has me eating a high fat, relatively high protein and low carb diet. This includes taking coconut oil three times a day. I would not say that the weight is just melting away, but I do think it's helping with my skin and a couple of days ago, I felt cramping that felt like it could be ovulation... so I wonder if it really could help the PCOS?


Calliope and my awesome RE, Dr. Trivax

























We also went back to see my RE and his staff. That was fun! It has been such a long time; I felt more distant than I had expected (having a baby definitely cured me of my crush on him!), but it was really nice to see them. And I warned them that they may see me back in a few years to thaw one of my blastocysts and give it another try. But my RE cautioned me not to hurry, to enjoy my time with Calliope, and I am certainly inclined to agree. I feel so fortunate to have those blasts on ice, because they will keep indefinitely. Of course there are no guarantees, but he seemed confident about the quality, that one would work. We shall see.

But it all felt like a nice round of closure, seeing him and Catherine. Which makes me determined to finish my birth story tonight. One more thing to have done before I return to work tomorrow.

What won't be done is... washing the dinner dishes, or packing my lunch, or the pumping bag. I'm so tired.


Yesterday I was so exhausted from Calliope's late night hijinks the previous few nights (as a result of her cold) that I took an early evening nap with her. Which left me wide awake after her bedtime... affording me the opportunity to open my mail, pay my bills, sign my lease, and generally get organized.

Today Amy, the other nanny share mom, and her baby Eleanor came over. We spent several hours finalizing the contract (we downloaded a sample from the Pa.rk Sl.ope Par.ents website -- so helpful!) and typing it all up. Taking turns nursing and typing. Eleanor is just two weeks younger than Calliope and such a cute little peanut!

I told Calliope that she is going to have a built-in BFF, and she got a huge grin on her face!

Tonight Amy and Eleanor came back over as well as "Ana, " the nanny. We went over everything and then when Amy and Eleanor left, I went over my notes on Calliope. She gave me high praise for getting Calliope on a four hour schedule and being able to put herself to sleep, which made me feel great.

I'm happy about Ana. She seems very confident and kind and responsible. She hasn't watched TV in seven years! (This is not an example of confident and all the rest, just a nice plus to me, since I don't watch TV either.)

In other exciting news, I started putting Calliope on the potty occasionally. I would cue her to pee and nothing would happen. I was determined not to stress it so I continued once a day or so for the past week. Yesterday, I think, she started, uh, passing gas, so I gently put her on the potty (because I was committed to stopping if it made her cry, since I think putting her there against her desire caused a potty strike last go-round) and cued her with a grunting noise (rather than the "psst") and she immediately pooed. The exact same thing happened three times today! And now it seems like she is passing wind and deliberately not pooing until I put her on the potty. So it seems more of a collaborative effort, which is great! And the nanny is very happy to continue to offer the potty as well, since they toilet train young in her country, starting when the kids can sit, which is older than Calliope, but she will try anyway. And as a result, Amy is game to try it as well!

More Calliope developments... so she's been avidly sucking her fingers for the last week or so. Making very adorable but very loud slurping noises which are especially humorous when they are emanating from the baby carrier where you can't necessarily see her face, just hear her. Well, today she figured out how to get her thumb inside her mouth, instead. Just the thumb. This is clearly a huge win for her. Suddenly, she can suck her thumb, and not just for entertainment, as with her fingers, but for comfort.


For her final evening nap, I put her down with the right hand unswaddled... and she went right to sleep, with the thumb firmly in her mouth. No squawking for the pacifier! Same thing at bedtime! No complaining whatsoever about bedtime or the paci! This might mean... that I don't have to get up to get her in the night until she is really, truly hungry. Wow!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thank You

Thanks everyone for your kind and compassionate support over the last few days.

Calliope's cough never really came back after the end of my last post, apart from the occasional hack here or there. And I did, in fact, pull out my neonatal stethoscope last night and lay it on her swaddled little body and from what I could hear from the position she was in (on her back)... she sounded clear as a bell. I also, of course, heard her heartbeat. That was interesting because I hadn't heard it since she was born, of course. All those times of listening to her while she was on the inside... and now, to hear it with her on the outside, knowing who she is, now, as a person (to the extent that you can know an infant)... wild! And amazing.

So I did sleep in the same room with her. And now that we are so close to my returning to work, I scrapped the nighttime bottle (since she will soon be getting them during the day) and brought her into bed with me to nurse. Of course, looking at my Bab.yCare app on my phone, I realize that meant that we nursed for an hour and a half! But at least we were both mostly sleeping during this. Given the roughness of these last few nights, this seems like an obvious win.

Of course, this means that the results of this morning's pumping were far less abundant. Which of course gives me one more thing to worry about. But I'm drinking Mother's Milk tea and planning to pump again in the evening, just for reassurance, so hopefully those will both help. I have to keep reminding myself that of course I'm not going to make much extra milk -- it's when I skip a feeding that I should have a lot more.

It seems so obvious but my crazy brain has trouble with the logic.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Frayed Around the Edges

It's possible that I am not doing entirely as well as one, namely me, would hope.

I've got a call in to the pediatrician's office tonight, at around 9 pm. To the pediatrician on call, who happens to be the chairman, who isn't my boss, but is one of my bosses' boss, so isn't entirely not my boss.

I called in, and am awaiting a call back, because my baby is coughing. Hacking.

She was fine all day, apart from the same runny nose that has been plaguing her the last few days. I still can't find the Ba.by Com.fy Nose (aka Sn.otSucker), so I went to CVS and bought a little baby first aid kit with nasal bulb aspirator to use until I can get to the baby store (where, unforunately, you cannot buy babies, only products for babies) tomorrow to buy the much more effective Sn.otsucker.

But since I put her down, I can hear her hacking every five minutes. In a way that seems far too loud and harsh for such a small baby.

I haven't gotten out the stethoscope to listen to her, because I am sure she must be fine. Plus, as I said before, I really don't want to "play doctor" (or "play nurse practitioner," to be more precise but less succinct) on my own child.

But seriously, I won't be able to sleep in the same room with her the way she's coughing.

On the other hand, how can I not sleep in the same room with her? She's sick and I abandon her???

I don't know, what do you more seasoned mommies do?

(Excuse me while I cough. Yes, I reckon I know where she got this cough from. What I don't know is where I got it from. After my first year of pediatrics -- a new cold every week for ten weeks, then pneumonia, then bronchitis. What a year that was! Anyway, since then I rarely get sick. But this is my third cold since Calliope was born... and I'm not even around sick kids yet! What will happen when I return to the germ fest that is my work?)

Anyway, while I wait for the doctor to call back, I am pumping.

I've started pumping at night in addition to the mornings because I'm nervous about my milk supply holding up. Yes, I have three gallon zi.ploc bags in the freezer filled with little baggies of milk. But my milk supply used to be so overly abundant, and I'm worried that now it's merely (?barely) adequate. Calliope used to only nurse for 5-10 minutes, even as a newborn! And now she can easily go 15 minutes per side. And I worry that she is stopping simply because she's tired of working so hard, not because she necessarily got enough to eat.

Of course, she looks healthy and great. She is smiling all the time, and just starting to figure out how to use her hands to grab something. I offered her this plastic ring in the tub tonight, and she oh-so-carefully calculated the distance... slowly reached her hand out... extended her fingers... and missed!

Luckily I caught it all on video.

Anyway, I spent the day racing (mentally) around the apartment. I still have so many items left on the to-do list. For every one that gets crossed off, it seems another two get added.

I was talking to my cousin about this tonight. I was telling her that I am not caught up on thank you notes. She advised me that I am doing a great job, and to cut myself a break.

And I realized that I am holding myself to this ridiculous standard... of perfection. It is unacceptable to me that thank you notes not go out, preferably promptly. Is this because I am a single mom (by choice)? Do I feel like I have to prove myself? Is this the American career mother conundrum? Are we all doing this? If yes, how do we stop?

I'm trying to let go, to recognize that this is most likely displaced anxiety about leaving Calliope... and that the best antidote, whatever the cause, is to spend time with her. So tonight, after her short evening nap, we went for a quick walk to the hardware store to see if they could fix the keys they just made that don't work (they tried, but nope, still not working, but I didn't have the heart to drag the baby on a third trip to the hardware store) and then she took a lovely long bath while I watched and cooed and read her a bath book, several times over.

I asked my friend Catherine recently, "what, exactly, do you do with your baby?"

Because I know all of the things I do to her, like bathing and feeding and changing her diapers. And some of the time I also sit next to her while she plays on the floor. But then I'm just observing.

And so recently we've started reading together, and also doing nearly nightly baths. And so these are what we  do together. We read lots of stories -- it's adorable and incredible to watch her looking intently at the pictures at such a young age! -- and we do long baths. Where she churns her legs and coos long liquid phrases... and I sit on the closed toilet lid and watch, and listen, and coo back at her.

I just re-read the salient parts of Hea.lthy Sleep Hab.its, Happy Child, and so now I am feeling very focused indeed on how I should be prioritizing her napping times, and not interfering with her rest.

But lord, it is hard to not compromise a child's sleep when she is only awake for 1:15 (that's one hour, fifteen minutes) in the morning and 1:30 in the afternoon and then 2 hours in the evening. You try getting an errand done in that 1:15 window (which has to include nursing, diapering, and ideally, changing clothes... yesterday she stayed in her pajamas all day long and it made me feel sluggish every time I looked at her)! After those brief awake periods, she sleeps until the next feeding... so yes, those are some long-ass naps.

So now I have one more thing to feel guilty about!

Does it ever end?

The doctor just called back and of course he told me there's nothing I can do that I haven't already done (humidifier, saline nasal drops, bulb syringe, suffer... perhaps I made that last one up). He may have sounded a little impatient. Or else tired, since it was 10 pm when he called. He did, kindly, encourage me to bring her in tomorrow to be seen. Perhaps because that lessens his odds of hearing from me again tomorrow night?

He also asked if she was having trouble breathing. Which of course is such an obvious question, but duh, well, I hadn't really checked. She was so completely fine when she went to bed. So I just went in and laid a hand on her chest, and she's breathing fine (at what age do you stop creeping to your child's bedside and laying a hand on her chest to make sure she is still breathing? this is still at least a once-or-twice-a-night ritual for me, and I, for one, am tired of facing that moment of fear so frequently.)

So now I have to decide if I want to bring her in tomorrow. Also on the list for tomorrow: visit midwife to get clearance to return to work and also say an emotional goodbye/thank you of sorts, ideally with a gift, visit entirely crush-able RE with baby at long last, go to employee health to get cleared for work and also to show off baby. Oy. Adding a visit to the pediatrician in the mix, although geographically convenient, adds a whole new level of complexity. Even without considering nap schedules.

My mom (who I just called for commiseration) had the brilliant idea that I could take the baby to an urgent care center tonight.

But even I, in my hysteria, recognize that it would be sheer lunacy to wake a peacefully sleeping baby, even if she was coughing badly (oh yeah, it has subsided for the time being).

Thank god for small favors. Such as the fact that I am physically removing myself from the keyboard now. No more verbal diarrhea for tonight.

Sorry.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Final Week...

...of maternity leave, that is.

And it's not even a full week. I go back to work on Thursday.

The facilitator of a new mom's group I attended a couple of times suggested that. She said that starting work on a Monday will make the week seem impossibly long. Made sense to me.

It's going to be terribly hard to leave Calliope, I am sure. on Thanksgiving Day, I left her at my mom's house under the capable care of my sister. i mean, to be clear, the baby was sleeping. I wasn't planning to go to the race, but Calliope slept through the night (8:15 pm to 6 am!!!!! only once, to be clear) and so I fed her and had her back in the crib for her morning nap by 7:15 am, when my brother in law was ready to leave to go to my cousins' to meet everyone for the race. So off I went with him to my first 5k race in... a very long time.

The race, by the way, was an amazing success. I was afraid to run it at first, afraid that I'd be disappointed by my time when I am trying to be so positive about my comeback efforts. I mean, it's not like I was ever fast, so I'd only be disappointed in comparison to my own results. But my brother convinced me that I was being ridiculous, that I just had a baby three months ago!!!! So I realized I could let myself off the hook.

The first half mile felt awful. My hips felt tight and sore. Then things warmed up and I pretty much sailed (slowly) through the rest. And at approximately mile 2.5, I realized I had a lot left, and actually picked up the pace considerably. It felt great! And I didn't even see the time clock when I finished, and there was no chip timing anyway, so I have no idea what my time was... and I don't care! I'm so proud that I could just finish, and run the whole thing! Plus it felt so damn good to stretch and push myself hard (unlike, say, during childbirth!) Yay!!!

Various delays meant that I waited at my cousin's after the race for quite awhile before getting a ride home.... getting more antsy and twitchy by the moment. I really did feel a little like an addict, waiting for the next round... of baby love.

Finally I got back and scampered up the stairs, to the sound of crying, and found her swaddled and being rocked in my sister's arms, with my mom standing by. They were both still in their pajamas, and it was actually a sweet scene, them tenderly working together to comfort my wailing baby. I'm afraid I fairly snatched my precious girl out of her arms. I was so relieved to be home to comfort her cries -- because of course they didn't know just the right way to cradle and bounce and sing -- and thankful I got to see her before she went down for her nap. It felt like such a relief to have her cuddled against me at last. Oh, and yes, it was just a teensy bit gratifying to have her stop crying within seconds of my holding her. Just to know that she really does know that I am her Mommy  most devoted servant.

So yes, that was about a three hour separation. And on Thursday, I will be gone more than nine hours.

Ack.

To make matters worse... my fabulous medical assistant is gone. She had to transfer to a job back in the hospital because she realized she couldn't afford to have summers off.

And no, there is not a replacement yet.

So... I'm [to be] a medical provider running a clinic... solo.

No one to answer the phone, do triage, make ice packs, perform first aid, pull charts, call parents, schedule appointments, manage the waiting room...

Yet there will certainly be patients waiting for me.

My administrator says the job has been posted to the union. No word on if there were any applicants from the union. No mention of a temporary medical assistant in the meantime.

I've had to do a day or two of running the clinic alone in the past. It is completely, thoroughly exhausting. To do it for an undetermined amount of time? When I'm just coming back from maternity leave? And have to am determined to add two round of pumping to the "to do" list...

Umm, that would pretty much be defined as hell.

Oh, and my administrator? The one that is hiring a new medical assistant?

Her last day is Friday.

Naturally, there is no replacement for her just yet.

I'm trying very, very, very hard to focus on summers off.

But with no administrator, there is no one to write the grant application due this June.

So who knows if I will even have a job, come next September?

I am resolved not to think about this at all, because there's just no point. If I lose my job, then I am meant for some other job that I just don't know about yet.

But summers off, then, seems doubtful.

If all this weren't going on, I think I would be a lot more ready to face returning to work.

As it is... I'm dreading work far more than leaving my precious baby.

And that is saying something.

Ugh.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

One Year Ago Today

What a joyous day!
Insemination attempt #6.
IVF attempt #1.
Frozen embryo transfer because I was too sick from IVF for a fresh transfer.
My BFP at last!


My beautiful miracle, one year later!
(Currently fascinated with her fingers and all they can do.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Change in Plans?

My plan was always to have Calliope in a daycare setting.

I liked the idea of more accountability with more providers. I figured that anyone would be nicer on a bad day if there was another adult around watching them.

Plus, I couldn't afford a nanny. And all the complications of on-the-books versus off, the weirdness of having an employee, it just seemed overwhelming.

A couple of days ago, I ran into an acquaintance, Amy, from the local moms' group. Her little girl is just two weeks younger than Calliope. Her daycare had just fallen through -- they wouldn't have the spot they had promised her until January, and she is due back at work in early December -- and she was scrambling as she had only three days to figure something out before leaving town. I recommended a couple of daycares -- the one where Calliope is enrolled, Elf, and another I had seen and really loved but it was just too inconvenient and quite a bit more expensive than Elf to boot.

Amy asked if she could email me to get the names. Of course I said yes.

The next day Amy emailed me. She had just met a nanny who would charge $600 a week, regardless of whether there was one baby or two. Amy knew I was a single mom and couldn't afford a lot, so she offered that she and her husband could pay $350 a week and I would pay $250 a week. And Amy really liked this nanny candidate, and would prefer to use her for two years and skip daycare entirely... if I could go in on this with them.

Suddenly life felt a lot brighter.

The idea of leaving Calliope at a big daycare center had been weighing heavily on me.

The biggest complication is that I just enrolled for dependent care FSA money for 2012. That means that I get $5000 pre-tax dollars from my paycheck to pay for childcare.

I can't use this in this situation.

But I realized that I won't get this money until January.

So I am thinking that I could use the nanny for December, which would certainly make the transition to being with Calliope every blessed moment to working full time a lot easier.

After that, I will chip in a little bit and have Calliope with the nanny one or two days a week while I pay full time tuition at Elf (I would pay $200 a month and my best friend offered to pay the same) and at Elf the rest of the time until June. The nanny said that she can find work for the summer since Amy and I won't need her (Amy is a teacher -- ideal that we have the same schedule since I work in a school, even though I am nurse practitioner and employed by a hospital). And then in September, Calliope would be full time with the nanny!

The nanny came over last night and she seemed really nice. She is only 24, but to me, that is an advantage -- more energy and less likely to be jaded. She was an English teacher in her home country, and speaks English beautifully. She prefers a nanny share to just one baby because she thinks it's more interesting. She is used to doing music class with babies, and could do that with ours. When I asked about taking the babies to story hour and the zoo, she said, "of course!"

I feel really happy about all of this.

Of course, Amy's husband seems a little reluctant, and she doesn't know why. He said he really liked Elf.

Personally, I think he doesn't want to spend the extra money. And the spring would definitely be extra money for them. I told her that it's not ideal for them, and I would understand if she wanted a share with a family that is available now. She said no to that, because it's great that we are on the same schedule and also that we live so close -- across one big street and then one short block -- and our babies are only two weeks apart in age.

Fingers crossed that this all works out.

Who Needs Sleep Training???

...When your baby decides to sleep from 8 pm to 6:30 am all by herself???

Ok, to be fair, I put her in the crib at 8, she didn't fall asleep until at least 8:15.

She is learning to fight sleep, or perhaps more accurately, to fight being alone and swaddled in her crib. She loves playing in her crib, because her beloved mobile is there. But now when I put her in the crib to swaddle her, she starts to fuss halfway through the process. I think she's figured out that swaddling = mommy leaves and she have to leave this fascinating world for a while.

Of course, then I scoop her up again and rock her and sing "you are my sunshine" and offer her the pacifier. She usually alternates between fussing while singing -- "NOOOO, I know what is coming, please don't make me go to sleep," and "mmm, my goodness, this pacifier is delicious, isn't it?"

Then as I transfer her, usually sleepy but awake (rarely, wide awake but looking glazed), back into the crib, she spits the pacifier out, timing it to maximize the odds of it falling on the floor.

Then I put her in the crib and she kvetches for a minute. I put my hand on her tightly packaged little body (because of the swaddle) and sort of jiggle her. She quiets. I offer her the now-rinsed-off pacifier. She refuses it.

I walk out of the room.

Quiet.

Two minutes later, I hear kvetching again. Not crying, just this sort of "eh eh" thing.

I walk back in and offer the rejected pacifier. She accepts it with a "well, I've been waiting for this long enough, at last I can relax," and her eyes close.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Three Blissful Months






In which Mommy, curious how much Calliope eats in a feeding, tries to do
pre- and post-meal weighings with the help of a popcorn bowl.
FAIL.
Apparently Calliope now exceeds the scale's maximum of 5 kg (11 pounds).
At least she didn't fall out of the bowl. 


The most horrific of the hand me down velour jumpsuits with enormous collars

video

The three month old dance!


She's Not Such a Good Baby

People, generally strangers, like to tell me, "Oh, she's such a good baby."

This was particularly noticeable with our eight hour "adventure" at La Guardia airport a few weeks ago, waiting for the snow to stop so that we could fly to Florida (why we ever came home to winter is an open question).

Calliope was certainly a trooper. To be fair, she loved being at the airport. Sleeping all day and evening in the Beco against Mommy's chest, then coming out for breastfeeding and to gaze in awe at all the faces and lights... well, what could be better?

I am very lucky to have an easy going baby. For sure. And I am grateful. Exceedingly so.

BUT. I hate the parlance "a good baby" because her worth does not depend, at all, on how gracefully she handles the shit the world dishes out. I do not want to have a child that smiles and says nothing if something is amiss. (To be sure, this does not happen so far. She is sure to complain against maltreatment such as being removed from the bathtub, well, ever.) I do not want to raise a little girl, and later woman, who is praised for keeping her mouth shut.

So what a darling baby? Yes. What a beautiful baby? Yes, although I'd rather not be all about her appearance. What a charming baby? Sure!

But what a good baby?

Nah. She's not such a good baby.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Not-Really-Sleep-Training: Phase Two-ish, Day Six

Well, as I had been mumbling about in yesterday's post, I decided to more or less scrap the sleep training and follow Calliope's lead, at least for now.

And yet... she slept until 5:25 am! That's without any wake-ups! She did her occasional kvetching, but I only got up once to check her. Her mouth was firmly closed, not searching blindly for the pacifier. After that, I just let her squawk for a moment without interference, and each time she immediately went back to sleep on her own!

When she woke up at 5:25, she was most definitely awake and wanting attention, so there was no question of trying to make her wait a bit... but it was already later than yesterday's wake up of, I believe, 5:15 am. So we are moving in the right direction for sure! I could live with 5:25. And maybe it will get even later!

I got up and gave her a bottle that had three ounces of milk in it, but took it away when she showed signs of slowing, mostly because I wanted her to be able to eat again in an hour and a half, for her regular 7 am feeding. So she took about two ounces (which is what she was "supposed" to get if I was still following the sleep training schedule).

Then I put her back in the crib.

Unfortunately, she didn't really go back to sleep. BUT she stayed in her crib and, I think, talked to her mobile rather than complained. Certainly when I went to get her at 7 am, she was wide awake, having wiggled out of her swaddle, and was sucking enthusiastically on her fist. Which raises another question: is it time to stop swaddling her? Or is the fact that she didn't fall back asleep because she was no longer swaddled?

She didn't eat quite as much as usual for "breakfast" but was in fine spirits, despite having been awake for two hours (typically she's only up for an hour at a time, though that seems to be shifting towards an hour and a quarter lately), but she had a harder time than usual going to sleep. And since I know she can go to sleep on her own, and usually does, it was sweet to rock her and finally to nurse her to sleep.

So I've got my fingers crossed that she continues to move in this slightly later direction for her nighttime feedings. Once she hits 6 am, assuming she does, I will combine the two into her morning feed. I've been thinking a lot about her schedule starting next week, and how to share her information with daycare... next post!

Thanks, everyone, for your lovely and kind and supportive comments. Yesterday was a really, really hard day. I just moped around the apartment feeling horrible. But late in the day I climbed on the elliptical for a punishing workout and that really helped turn me around. I still feel sick about this mix up when I stop to think about it... but I'm trying not to dwell on it. There's most likely not much I can do about it. I'm pleased with myself that I did sit down and write Calliope a letter about it last night, despite being really tired. I didn't want to put it off. Three pages worth, mostly crowing about how fabulous she already is, such a short time into her life, but also telling the story of how I chose her donor (without using the word "sperm"). It occurs to me that I am glad to have that written down and in her file, just in case something should happen to me. It's right next to a print-out of her donor's profile.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Big Shock

A couple of weeks ago, I checked Manhattan Cryobank's website because I wanted to confirm the donor's eye color.

To my surprise, I noticed that he was listed as an anonymous donor, not as an ID release donor.

The original donor that I had picked out, affectionately known as "Didge," because he played the didgeridoo, had had problems with the labels on his vials. The day of shipment, the lab emailed me to say "call us right away." When I got the message, I called right away and it was then that I learned that the labels on his vials were chipped. The lab manager, Alan, told me that my RE wouldn't accept the vials in this condition, even though the vials themselves were fine. He also told me that I had an hour to pick a new donor in order to make sure it arrived at the RE in time... but that he would help me pick someone if I told him my priorities in a donor.

I told him my only two non-negotiables were CMV negative (I am CMV negative so my RE insisted on the same in any donor I used) and ID release. There were a few other characteristics I was looking for, European descent, average-ish height, on the slender side. I wasn't really that picky. Alan then described to me about eight different donors, all men that he had met in person, including describing his two favorites. I picked his second favorite.

Can you guess where this is going?

Lo and behold... the donor I used is not, in fact, ID release.

Alan insists that he never told me my donor was ID release.

I'm pretty sure that I checked the website to make sure that he was ID release, but a) I was making a big decision in a very short time, and b) there's lots of little boxes and I could've misread them, and c) it's possible that there was a mistake on their website.

We will never know what happened. Alan isn't admitting to anything, and was, not surprisingly, defensive.

It's possible that my vague mention of taking legal action wasn't the most productive thing to do.

I since called back and left a message with another person in the office. Perhaps not surprisingly, he has not returned my call.

When I called my sister, tears dripping on my nursing baby's head, she suggested that I could at least ask if the bank would contact the donor and ask if he would be willing to make an exception to his decision.

I will ask about this.

She also suggested that I write a letter to Calliope, today or tomorrow, describing how I am feeling right now.

Here's how I am feeling: shocked, guilty, and very, very sad.

My poor girl. She's growing up without a father. The very least I could give her is the opportunity, some day, to explore her genetic heritage if she chooses to. And now that door has been closed. Because someone, or maybe, two someone's (me and Alan) made a couple of stupid mistakes. If only I had printed out the spreadsheet that lists all the donors, I would at least have documentation that showed that he was listed as ID release (if indeed, it did).

And now, should I choose to have another child, do I use my nine frozen embryos from the same anonymous donor, so that Calliope and her sibling have that genetic link with each other? Thus denying her sibling the same?

I'm so scared that Calliope will someday be so angry with me that she won't be able to get past this.

I really wanted to have a super productive day today, my only day this week without plans, but instead I am sitting around feeling absolutely horrible and depressed and not getting anything done. I think I need to go pound it out on the elliptical, since Calliope is asleep and I can't get out in the sun.

To my readers: please don't feel defensive if you chose to use an anonymous (non-ID release) donor. This is just how I feel. I am sure that there are very valid reasons to go the anonymous route, and I certainly don't think anything negative about people that choose that. It's just... I had this all figured out, you know?

Sleep Training: Phase Two, Day Seven: A New Game Plan?

My camp friend Kelly came for a visit from Syracuse.
Doesn't Calliope look like a strange and bald one year old
here? Somehow she looks really tall. But she's wearing
a 3-6 month outfit, so I promise she's not that tall!

This is a picture of the view (more or less) that I have of the top of Calliope's
head when she's in the Beco carrier. I want to always remember the sweet
feeling of her downy head and chubby fist snuggled against my chest. 















































Thanks to everyone for your lovely and supportive comments, even when you probably think what I am doing is nuts. That's what I love about the SMC community -- that we can be there and support each other, even when we would do it differently. Thank you!

Last night Calliope only woke up a couple times early in the night, and was content with the pacifier. (Note: I will be so happy when we are done with the swaddle and she can get the pacifier or her hand to her mouth without help! I'm not sure when to try that...) When she squawked at 4 am, I got up to feed her, but realized her eyes were still closed, so after giving her the pacifier, I got back in bed. Then she didn't wake up again until 5:15 am!

Last night was our first night with only two ounces in the bottle.

Sigh.

She seemed sleepy after she finished the bottle so I was hopeful as I put her back in the crib and got back in bed.

But it was not meant to be.

She squawked and murmured vague discontent for a while as I lay wide awake, tormenting myself. I am a facilitator of a group called Intuitive.Eating (there's a book by the same name) and from that have learned not to schedule my own meals too strictly. I have no prohibitions against snacking for myself. I believe it is important to listen to one's body, not to a clock. I never wanted my child to not be able to eat when she is hungry, or to learn when she's "supposed" to eat by what the clock says... I just wanted to help her sleep through the night! Because it seemed like a good idea, in a sort of a "why not" kind of way. Truthfully, if she needs to eat once during the night, I'd don't really mind that much. I just figured that if she didn't need to, why not skip it?

Finally I couldn't stand it anymore, and got her up and out of the crib. First we tried snuggling in my bed, then we tried snuggling on the couch. At 6 am, I nursed her a little bit, for about three minutes. Then I tried to snuggle her again on the couch, the bed (her nose was stuffy so it was hard for her to breathe) then back to the couch again. Then I nursed her some more. And finally I decided, at 6:30 am, to just get up with her.

We went back to our respective beds at 7:15 am (after being up since 5:15 without any of my many attempts to get us back to sleep being successful) and now I'm up again at 8:45 while she sleeps. (She continues to take a three hour nap every morning and afternoon. Last night she also took a thirty minute evening nap. She's trying to give that one up.)

So here's my new idea, for the moment. What if I can just work with her on pushing back the time of the feeding, a few minutes each night? Five am isn't a bad place to start... I will probably want to feed her at about 6:30 once I go back to work, anyway. (That will give us forty-five minutes together... she will probably go to sleep within a few minutes of arriving at daycare. That's a whole other anxiety -- how will she sleep in daycare??? That's another post.)

As for my concerns about scheduling her feeds... Well, once we solve the sleeping question we can re-think that. But the flip side of my concerns is that I like knowing she will only take two bottles at daycare, because that means the rest of the time I get to nurse her. But if it's going to give her weight/eating issues later in life, I will hate myself...

Ahh, the joys of the guilt that comes with motherhood!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sleep Training: Phase Two, Day Six: A Glimmer of Hope

With beloved friend Liz

























After an insanely busy day with about five different social events yesterday, we got home a little before 10 pm. Since I had to wake the girl to change her diaper, we did one last nursing. Normally her last nursing is between seven and eight PM. Strangely (and unfortunately), I do not necessarily find that feeding her later has any impact on when she wakes up again... but I still hope it will.

She woke up at 3 am to eat. Earlier than her usual 4-4:30 wake up time. I tried once to give her the pacifier, but it didn't help. So much for not moving the feeding earlier.

We did another night of two and a half ounces, mostly because I was so damn tired from the previous two nights of crappy sleep and just couldn't bear the idea of more interrupted sleep.

Back she went into the crib.

Where she slept until 6:40 am!

Hooray! Back to a night with only one waking. Phew!

I "rewarded" her by not making her wait until 7 am, but getting up and nursing her right away... I didn't even brush my teeth or make tea first! I know, I'm a "wild and crazy gal."

Despite the successful night, I still feel really, really tired. I would've loved to go back to sleep with her... but we have another busy, social day today. So instead I blog as I pump and eat. Now I have to decide if I can muster up the energy for a quick workout.

Seeing my dear friend Liz yesterday was wonderful, as always. She assured me that in DC, she only had one friend that didn't do some sort of sleep training like this.

Tonight I'm going to pluck up my courage and decrease to two ounces. I'm nervous for this, but Liz assured me that her daughter always finished the full amount, also, and she was still able to decrease. Of course, she also told me that at some point she realized her daughter was waking up more for the cuddle than for the food... I wish I could remember a) how she figured this out, and b) how she dealt with it.

I wish I knew more folks that were doing this. And also that I had more than my one, very skinny, book on the subject.

First meeting of some more cousins

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sleep Training: Phase Two, Day Five, or Doubt Sets In

Calliope once again woke up at one AM. This time she was content with the pacifier. But she woke up again every 30-60 minutes after that, each time quieting with the pacifier, until 4 am when I fed her.

After going back to sleep after the 4 am feeding (2.5 ounces), she woke up again at 5:45. The pacifier didn't cut it.

So I nursed her for 3-4 minutes (only), then put her back in the crib. Then she slept until 7 am, when she woke me with her excited cooing at her new mobile.

I don't get why she's suddenly waking up so early (1 am). Is it related to the sleep training? I wouldn't think so, since it's before the small feeding.

But still, something has changed, and it's resulting in me getting much more interrupted sleep.

I could scrap this phase of the sleep training, and just stick with the every four hour feedings during the day, and let the nights work themselves out. Feeding her once during the night really isn't bad.

But what if these frequent wakings have nothing to do with the sleep training? And I go back to giving her bigger feedings at night, and she keeps waking up anyway? The multiple wakings really leave me not at my best, which is worrying for when I go back to work in less than two weeks.

Luckily, I am seeing my beloved friend Liz today. Liz has a one year old daughter, and is the friend that gave me the Twelve.Hours.By.Twelve.Weeks book. Hopefully she has some good suggestions. One of the many things I love about Liz is that she is very laid back about mothering, while still being terrific with her daughter. She's not at all judgmental. And she didn't become a different person when she became a mother. She has kept her sense of humor entirely. She doesn't take the mothering thing too seriously, she takes it joyfully.

I went to a neighborhood new mom's group the other day and it was weird. For some reason this group seems to bring out my social anxiety, which I haven't otherwise experienced in a while. I never know the right things to say. I felt like my baby wasn't dressed right, in her thirteen year old hand-me-downs from my niece, though her red velour jumpsuit with puffy sleeves and a Peter Pan collar did garner some laughs when I explained its origins. I don't know if I come across as awkward to the others or not, but I feel like a total buffoon. I wonder if my social skills are as rusty as my mental skills -- I am shocked some days at how stupid I am. Or if it's just not good chemistry with this group. Of course it brings up all sorts of insecurities that I am doing my best to ignore.

Tomorrow we have a Brooklyn SMC get together. I'm looking forward to that. And on Wednesday I have a sort of "blind date" with another single mom, not an SMC, from what I can tell. I met her when I bought a baby tent from her in the last weeks of my pregnancy, via the local parents' listserve. She seemed really cool in our five minutes of interaction, so I finally plucked up some courage and emailed her and asked if she wanted to get together. I was a little worried that she would think I was asking her out for real, like on a date, but it seemed to go over okay. I'm cautiously looking forward to that. Hopefully the "click" I felt is still there.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Delicious

On the beach in FL last week, snuggling my sweet girl



















Twelve weeks, well, right now, really, is my new favorite age.

I thought I would be missing the newborn days but this is even better.

Calliope is just so darn delicious. Those cushiony cheeks and those silky thighs. The enormous grins and sheer delight on her face when she sees me -- "You again! You're my favorite person in the whole wide world and again, here you are! How lucky could I be???" -- this is what seems to be crossing her mind each and every time I fetch her from the crib.

Her head control is pretty solid and now she's working on her back muscles.

She is batting (and kicking) at toys but can't hold on to them yet. But she loves to hold on to my finger, or my shirt, while she nurses, or while I carry her in the Beco. The other day I realized she was holding the strap of my bag, as if she was helping to carry it. This morning she was slapping my chest with her hand while she nurses -- that was a new one for us, and very funny. Not an angry slap, more of a "huh, so this is the noise that's made when my palm connects with her skin."

She's suddenly shown a big upsurge in her vocalizing, with near constant cooing at times. She's totally smitten with the bathtub, now that's we've moved her bath seat from the kitchen sink to the tub. Her little legs churn the water while her face shows total concentration. I just kneel on the floor with my chin on my arms on the edge of the tub and watch with, let's face it, total adoration.

And yet, with all her new skills, she hasn't yet reached the point where she's tired of the limits imposed by my arms. She loves to lie on the playmat on the floor but is equally happy to be held in my lap. Oh, how I will miss this when she squirms to get down. I know that stage, well, the rest of her life, really, is just a short period of time away.

And she's still so light, it's a delight to carry her. My arms don't get tired. And when she snuggles her head against my chest, oh, it's delicious.

It's funny, I think I don't really "get" how to co-sleep, because I love the idea of sleeping while cuddling a baby, but it doesn't really work that way for us. She's usually swaddled and on the other side of the bed from me, for safety reasons. If we fall asleep nursing, I'm at a sort of uncomfortable angle, so it's not that sweet, either. Maybe when she's bigger and free of the swaddle.

For now, I'm savoring each precious day.

These last few have been especially precious, perhaps because I'm in the countdown to returning to work -- one last week at home, one week for Thanksgiving travels, and then she starts daycare -- partial days to start, for the first three days. On that fourth day, Thursday, I go back to work (on the advice of a new moms' group leader, I'm not starting on a Monday. I'm grateful for the chance to transition her gradually into daycare. It will be a bruising blow to the system to be away from her at a time. I'm very thankful it won't be nine hours the first day.

Sleep Training: Phase Two, Day Five, or The Great Leap Backwards

Sigh.

Calliope woke up two hours earlier than usual. I think it's because of the extremely dry air in concert with the last stages of her cold -- the thick, sticky mucus that's hard to cough up. Although the book says to try to avoid feeding earlier than usual, it also says that if they are really hungry, go ahead and do it to avoid having them all the way awake and screaming -- harder to put them down again.

If you consider a face splitting grin when I walked over to the crib to be wide awake, which I do, than that was a moot point. But she never really resists going back to bed after a feeding, even if she is awake, so I didn't worry about that. I fed her the two and a half ounces and put her back to bed without a problem (unless you count hopping in and out of bed to suction her nose or offer the pacifier after a bout of coughing to be a problem). But then she woke up at 5 am, just a half an hour later than her usual nighttime feeding.

And I just didn't feel like making another bottle. So I nursed her for seven minutes, just until the gulping slowed down a bit. Of course I have no idea how many ounces that was, but it was enough to take the edge of her hunger for sure. She's a pretty fast and efficient nurser so my bet is that it was at least a couple of ounces. I tried just lying her in the bed next to me afterwards, but she was staring at the digital display of my alarm clock and not showing signs of sleep, so I brought her back to the crib. Where I'm pretty sure she was awake for a long time -- certainly seemed like ages of cooing. Finally we both fell back to sleep.

We slept in until 8:30, instead of 7, because frankly, we'd been up way too much to get up at 7 -- all the quick trips to find the saline nose drops, or to suction her nose again, or even just lying there listening to her coo... it takes a toll!

So I guess we are screwing the schedule for today. I'm promising myself to get or order a humidifer today. I had the vent in the air conditioner on all night, but some crappy neighbor of mine smoked a cigarette in the hallway last night -- HATE THAT!!!! SMOKE IN YOUR OWN DAMN APARTMENT OR GO OUTSIDE!!! -- so then that was one more thing keeping me awake, the smell of cigarette smoke wafting through the apartment.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sleep Training: Phase Two, Day Four

lunching in Williamsburg. Photo by
fellow SMC, Jenn. thanks for remembering
that we never have photos with us moms
in them! (Why I didn't return the favor is
beyond me... sorry!) 





























First off, a big shout-out and congratulations to real-life (as opposed to virtual) SMC friend Colleen on officially announcing her pregnancy... and that she's having a girl! Colleen and I were in the same crazy running group together and then months later, I saw her name on a SMC listserve post and emailed her to say, wow, are you doing this too??? Now we have a special bond because of our double connection.

So congratulations Colleen and Auntie (or is it Uncle) Grendel (the cat)!!!!

So last night was our second night with only two and a half ounces in the bottle. She only woke up once before her feeding time, and the pacifier once again sufficed. At 4:30, she was latching on to the bottle sort of weirdly, so I took a time out to warm it (usually she takes it cold from the refrigerator or, occasionally, at room temperature, if I'm organized enough to leave it out... less likely these days, with me going to bed early and her eating so late -- it makes me too nervous to leave it out that long). She guzzled every bit of her two and a half ounces. So at last, Mama Bear was being put to the test.

I nervously put her back in the crib with her pacifier where she lay quiet but absolutely awake and alert. I got back into bed. She cried once, after her pacifier fell out due to a bout of coughing, and that was it.

I, on the other hand, lay awake for well over an hour, tormented by guilt. First I was starving, but determined not to eat anything, in commiseration with my child. Finally I decided that was stupid, since I'm the milk-maker, and hopped up for a quick piece of cheese before getting back in bed.

And then I dreamed that I had left her in childcare at the Park Slope Food Co-op while I shopped, and arrived back just in time to see her roll off a couch and hit the floor. I snatched her up (in my dream) and was both furious with the poor judgement of the childcare worker and also terribly, terribly sad for my poor child who had hit her head.

Hmm, I wonder what the significance of that is???

A little guilt pie, anyone?

Anyway, she woke up at 6:50 am, right on schedule, bright eyed and bushy tailed, none the worse for her supposed maternally induced starvation. I, on the other hand, dragged out of bed, feeling much the worse for having laid awake for so long. Possibly also from the run I did yesterday. Indeed, now that I've pumped (while blogging), I'm headed back to bed. Girlie was back in her crib by 8:15.

Thanks to reader Tiara for your reassurance!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sleep Training: Phase Two, Day Three

I nervously prepared my daughter's two and a half ounce bottle last night before bed, still worried I would be starving my child.

She first woke up about 3 am or so. But I remembered from my re-read of Twelve.Hours.By.Twelve.Weeks last night (it's surprisingly short on details, so I re-read it a lot, hoping to glean more wisdom from it) that she is not supposed to move her feeding earlier than it had been the previous night.

So I hopped out of bed and stuck the pacifier in her mouth and got back into bed. Silence prevailed.

The next time she woke me, about 3:30, I was ready to throw in the towel and just feed her. But then I observed that her eyes were still closed. So I tried replacing the pacifier again... and she went back to sleep. The same thing happened at 4 am.

Finally at 4:30 am I was tired of this [possible] torture of my [possibly] hungry child, so I got her up and gave her the bottle.

She finished the bottle with mere drops remaining, about a half a nipple full. But was asleep at that point. I probably could've eeked out a few more swallows from her if there was more milk remaining, but as it was, I didn't want to push it. So I ever so carefully put her back in the crib, not wanting her to wake up and realize she was still [possibly] hungry.

She went right to sleep with the pacifier. I hoped she wouldn't wake up an hour later, hungry.

Instead, I had to wake her when she was more than a half an hour late for her next feeding!

Yay.

So two more nights of the two and a half ounces. I don't know if I should hope she decreases on her own. If she does, I have to re-set and only offer that smaller amount from then on, which will make me nervous. But if she doesn't, then I have to decrease the amount for her in two more nights, and that will make me even more nervous.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sleep Training: Phase Two, Day Two

video

(Above: do you think she likes her new "baby crack mobile"? Poor Sleep.Sheep sure is taking a beating.)

Last night went pretty well.

Before I went to bed, I nervously prepared a bottle with only three ounces of thawed breast milk (I'm digging into my stash and freezing the fresh stuff because otherwise the frozen will expire and have to be discarded). I was so worried I'd be depriving my child and putting her back to bed hungry, even though, as I said in my last post, I promised myself that I wouldn't leave her crying from hunger in her crib. (Even just writing what I wouldn't do gives me the chills!)

She slept from 8:15 to 4:15 last night. Actually, I think she woke up a couple of times before that, the first time at 12:30 am, which I decided was ridiculously early and refused to take seriously. Anyway, at those earlier times I just gave her the pacifier and we both went back to sleep. So four thirty was when she was up for real. I took her in the living room to feed her in the glider because trying to feed her in bed and constantly falling asleep is more annoying than helpful. She chomped down and sucked determinedly and I was sure the three ounces wouldn't be enough.

After a while she showed signs of slowing down and the bottle felt suspiciously light, so I figured it must be nearly empty. When I pulled it from her mouth, though, there was still an ounce left. I put it down momentarily to burp her. When I tried to resume feeding her... she took a few sleepy, halfhearted sucks... and then, nothing.

So I gave her the pacifier and put her back in the crib, hoping she wouldn't be up again in an hour.

She went right to sleep.

Of course, she coughed on and off for the next hour, and each time she did, she lost the pacifier and cried for it to be replaced. Normally it falls out once she's asleep and she's fine, but I think the coughing was keeping her from sleeping very well. But given she has this miserable productive cough, I didn't want her to feel even more like she was being punished, so each time she lost it, I hopped out of bed and put it back in her mouth. Luckily, I guess, we share a room. Eventually she stopped coughing and went all the way to sleep. That hour was rough for me -- not great sleep -- but at least she stayed in her crib, and she did her very best to sleep!

She woke up at 6:30 am. The book says she should be in her crib until a few minutes before 7... but giving the pacifier wasn't helping her to be patient! Then I remember her new-to-her baby mobile. My friend Catherine likens this mobile to baby crack. It's that good! It beats the pants off her old, wind-up, lasts-only-90-seconds-per-wind one. This one has stripes and moving parts and everything (and is battery powered) and she loves it.

So I turned on the mobile and lo and behold, she stayed contentedly in her crib until 7 am, when I got up (grateful for the extra half hour of sleep!).

After nursing and a few minutes on the play mat on the floor, she was ready to sleep again (after being out of the crib about 45 minutes, plus the 30 minutes awake in the crib).

The book says she should consolidate to a one hour nap in the morning and a two hour nap in the afternoon, but my girl still sleeps more like a newborn -- a 2-3 hour nap in the morning and afternoon and at least an hour evening nap. I can't say that I mind all the time to myself, even though I love our time together! It means that the time we do spend together, she's smiling and alert and active. I'm not quite sure I will know how to entertain her when she stays up for longer! Right now when she cries on her playmat, it means that she's tired, not that she's tired of the playmat per se.

So the book says that if she decreases how much she ate by herself, I should only offer that lesser amount tonight (versus decreasing by a half an ounce every third night if she was finishing the whole thing). But to only offer my little baby two ounces??? I'm not sure if I can pull that off. Not because of her, because of me. So we shall see. I may offer two and a half ounces to split the difference. Or perhaps I'll put two in one bottle and prepare another with one ounce, just to have at the ready (it seems ridiculous to only put a half ounce in a bottle -- to hard to get every last drop out).

It's good to be able to blog about this minutiae -- gives me the courage to continue this crazy sleep training.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

video































Baby eggplant! 



Calliope has been doing really, really well with sleep.

She had gotten to where she has an eleven hour stretch, give or take, with only one wake up in the middle, usually around 4 am.

Yes, she seems to be on a 23 hour clock, so she continually wants to go to bed and wake up a little earlier each day. But we were working on it.

And then she got a horrible cold. From me. Her horrible mother.

I felt really rotten first, right around the time we landed in Florida at 1:30 am, and got to my sister's at 3 am. After an eight hour visit with La Guardia Airport. While charming in many ways, La Guardia is not necessarily where I would choose to spend eight hours while snow, and then rain, fell.

Calliope, however, was delighted with our stay. Napping in the Beco and then all the lights and people to look at while awake was definitely her idea of a good time.

She was a trooper and never cried in all those hours until we were on the plane and being de-iced. I took my seatbelt off and bounced her in the aisle for a few minutes and then she slept the rest of the flight in the Beco. (Oh, flying without the car seat and stroller: AWESOME. The cab had a car seat and my sister had one at the other end. And since my daughter typically hates them both, she got lots and lots of time in the Beco, to her delight.)

Anyway, I started to feel rotten right when I got sleep deprived. And then as I started to feel better, she started to feel bad.

Poor little girl. For a few days there, every morning she coughed so hard she vomited her breakfast all over me. Totally drenched. She typically, mysteriously, avoided getting herself wet. Wait a second... I see a theme here.

Anyway, all this led to a total disruption of sleep. She would wake herself coughing multiple times a night. Also, she wasn't eating that much at a feeding, so that meant she was waking more frequently.

All this to say... we were both quite tired.

Last night, hooray, she was back to her one night waking. Phew! She took only three ounces. I'm not sure if her appetite is back yet or not. At night she has ranged from three to five ounces at the one feeding.

Tonight I am going to try only offering three ounces, as per Twelve.Hours.By.Twelve.Weeks.

I feel awfully nervous about this. Approximately two weeks ago she was ten pounds, two ounces. So she may not have hit eleven pounds yet (she was averaging about a half a pound every two weeks by my reckoning). I worry this is too small.

But when I feel guilty, I try to remind myself: Abby, you are not going to starve your child! Just like when you switched her from every three to every four hours... If she cries, you will feed her!!!

It still feels weird.

But what have I got to lose, right?

The only thing is, though: sometimes she wakes up and after a couple of attempts to replace the pacifier don't help for long, I offer the bottle. And she takes a half an ounce or less and passes out.

So clearly hunger wasn't the issue. But in this sort of scenario, I haven't figured out, well, how to figure this out, without offering food.

Thoughts???

Oh, and for anyone out there struggling with runny noses... Baby.Comfy.Nose is amazing! It is a hundred times better than the lame blue nasal bulb syringes the hospital hands out.





first time wearing a dress!










Monday, November 7, 2011

"Stacking the Deck"

On our long walk through Prospect Park (sleeping baby
eggplant)


























Perfect fall day in Prospect Park







































This phrase has been stuck in my head all day. It's my strategy for returning to work. I like it because it kind of sounds like I'm cheating, but in a delicious and good way.

So my idea is to try to do everything in my power to make the new life of work and daycare as easy and successful as possible.

One way to do this is to try to be as caught up on life business as much as possible. Toward that end, today we went to the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library to apply for Calliope's passport. I was a little nervous that they would send me to get certified documentation that Calliope doesn't have a missing father lying around somewhere, but the trip went incredibly smoothly. Trying to take a passport-approved photo of an 11 week old was a riot, though!

It was all over so quickly that I decided that "we" would walk all the way home, through beautiful Prospect Park on a gorgeous fall day. And on my way home, I had the brilliant idea that at least some days, rather than getting up extra early to work out before work, I can instead run home instead of taking the subway! It will take me a little time to be strong enough to run the whole way, so to start with I will ride the subway a couple of stops (thus cutting out the unlovely and steep climb down to the Gowanus Canal and up through Park Slope to Prospect Park), but once I'm strong enough to do the whole way on foot (providing my calf injury doesn't flare up again), it shouldn't be any longer than my subway ride home normally is. So not only do I get a workout in while commuting home but also, I don't have to get up an hour early to work out!

Win.

I am also going to try using the hand cranked Wonder.Wash to see if I can avoid trips to the basement laundry room and survive with just our cleaning lady doing our laundry biweekly. The biggest downside is that I have to wring the water out of clothes by hand with the Wonder.Wash, and that may get tiring for my hands very quickly. But I have no idea how to reach into the regular washing machine while wearing my stroller-abhorring baby, so I think this will work out well.

Win.

I'm debating keeping my postpartum doula around for a bit, to be "our" personal chef (since Calliope's breastmilk is produced as a result, I feel like she's cooking for both of us) until I get my sea legs under me, so to speak. I just cooked up a lamb stew last night, but that's only the second time I've really cooked anything more complicated than scrambled eggs or a steak on the Foreman grill. So I think having help in this department will be great. If costly.

Win.

And finally, I'm sort of considering... a woman posted on the local listserve that she and her four year old son are looking for a roommate in their co-op. I'm always intrigued by the idea of communal living, but would prefer co-housing, or something where we have our own space. So I'm not at all sure that I want roommates. Especially when one of them is four years old but not my four year old (I don't have a four year old, but you get my drift). However, if it seemed like a dream situation, it could be a way to save tons of money and also collaborate on household chores and cooking.

Possible win???

Pictures from Our Travels and the Previous Couple of Weeks


Getting ready to trick or treat with her cousins (Cleopatra and Elphaba, the
misunderstood witch from Wicked
First time in the Big Girl Tub
Wearing a dress... and feeling good about it!
swim diaper... so cute!
first time in a bathing suit (all we got wet was our toes, but it was exciting nonetheless!)
being adored by her cousins for the first time!

What is more delicious than napping with a baby on your chest???