Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hello Reality

Every time I get all sunshine and puppy dogs about baby rearing (see previous blog post), reality snaps me back to being a little more pragmatic about all of it. The giant gas bubble we affectionately call Charlie had such a rough day. He was so uncomfortable and squirmy and non-napping (oh wait, that's every day!) and I just felt so bad for him. Luckily the doula was here in the afternoon so I got a break from it for a little while. I finally got him down to sleep tonight but am so wired from all of it that I am having a hard time sleeping. 

By the way, if you are reading this and are expecting a baby or have one younger then Charlie, please do not despair. I think I have a particularly gassy baby and you will most likely not go through this. Bad Poodles does not intend to scare other mommies. 

Non-baby topic: Is anyone else as excited about the Real Housewives of New Jersey as I am?? 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Two Months of Charlie

Charlie is two months old today. And he has quite a bit to say about it.

We had a very nice day today. It was very warm and sunny in Richmond and it's starting to feel like summer. I sat outside with him on the deck for a bit this morning before it got too hot. Charlie seems to be able to see things further away and is fascinated with light right now. Lamps, chandeliers, the sun coming through the blinds - he studies all of them. So the sunlight coming through the trees kept his attention for a little while longer then my other methods of mobile, swing, play mat, etc.

I also took Charlie up to work this afternoon to show him off. Since he avoids napping at all costs, he was pretty tired by 2pm and was kind of fussy while he was there, but the experienced moms knew how to hold him to quiet him right down. I wish I had that skill! Oh well, practice makes perfect, right?

Tonight we just talked and took some pictures and of course tried to fill the hollow leg. He is still eating like crazy and I am still supplementing with formula. It's like crack for babies - once he started eating it, we can't get him off of it. Whatever I feed him just doesn't seem to fill him up. It's not a supply thing - he eats for a long time but is still hungry. Am I serving him skim when he needs whole? I'm not sure. 

As for his 2 month stats, we'll get those on Friday at his appointment. I am apprehensive about the shots - while I'm pretty sure I know how he is going to react, I'm not all that sure how I'm going to react. I am really excited to see what his weight gain is. It feels like he has grown so much in the last 4 weeks. And my left shoulder can really tell the difference - it is so sore!

There is lots of cooing going on, along with gurgling, drooling, bubble blowing and the cutest little sneezes you've ever seen. Charlie has recently discovered his tongue and loves to stick it out. He also finds it hilarious when I stick my tongue out at him. He's starting to grab for more things and hold on. I can tell in a few weeks I'm really going to have to watch out for my necklaces and my hair. 

We also see a lot of smiles and what are about to be giggles, but now sound like something between a burp and a squeak. There is a certain special smile he saves just for me and it melts my heart. I usually get one first thing in the morning when I'm changing his diaper and it is the most wonderful way to start the day. It's funny - diaper changing for Charlie is either awesome and filled with smiles or the stuff that baby meltdowns are made of. 

He's still wearing some 0-3 month clothes and some 3-6 month clothes that are a tad too big. He loves to kick his legs and move his arms around while I'm trying to change outfits. We go through so many clothes a day. This kid can wet an outfit on the sly while you're changing him and then you pick him up and find a giant wet spot and have to start all over. He's sneaky, that Charlie.

Besides the nap situation, I couldn't ask for a better sleeper. He is currently sleeping 8 to 9 hours a night. I'm not quite sure how I got so lucky. I kind of pay for it during the day as he cluster feeds a lot and doesn't want to nap. I could debate whether it's worth it or not, but what's the point? Charlie has already made it clear he knows what sleeping schedule he wants to adhere to. Pity the poor soul who tries to mess with it.

I know we have some exciting developments coming in the next month and it will be so fun to watch! I am so fortunate to have this time with him and since he began sleeping better I am loving every minute of it! Sleep deprivation is rough but once I got through it, it is a lot easier to stop and smell the roses and appreciate the little wonderful things about spending the day with him. And I absolutely love rocking him at night before he goes to bed. Truly the best feeling in the world. 

Happy 2 month birthday Charlie!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fun Weekend

Our very good friends Lakshmy and Mike came down from DC this weekend to visit and meet Charlie. We had so much fun, despite being a little house bound. Lakshmy brought a lasagna for dinner and we hung out on the deck and drank wine. Since we have no respectable deck furniture to speak of, we used these lovely collapsible chairs! Glamorous! That's how we rock it in Sleepy Hollow.  Later we watched the movie Doubt, which was ... interesting. Dark. A tad confusing. 

We always have a great time with these two and spent a good chunk of time this morning during breakfast discussing our next trip together. We went to Alaska a few years ago and had a blast. We're not sure where to go next time. Something with lots of wildlife, since Lakshmy and I are aspiring naturalists. But let's be clear - we are naturalists who do not camp but instead head back to their hotel or quaint inn for a lovely dinner and chardonnay. I mean, we have standards. 

Here is Charlie with two of his new favorite people:

Lakshmy took some cute pics of munchkin who is almost 2 months old! He was wearing this adorable but difficult to get on and off Ralph Lauren outfit. As the day progressed, we got sick of taking the overalls off and on so he was in the t-shirt and diaper. Again, very glamourous

Fun times with great friends. What a good weekend!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Day

It is a happy day because one of my best friends, Holly, gave birth her baby girl this morning at 4:36 AM. The new baby's name is Lily Reese and she is very tiny and cute! It sounds like it was a really long night for Holly and her husband, so hopefully they are getting some rest and taking advantage of having an army of nurses there to help them. 

It is absolutely beautiful in Richmond today. 70 degrees, breezy and sunny. I took Charlie out for a walk earlier and it was quiet and a little windy, the birds were chirping and all the azaleas and dogwoods are blooming. The second half of April is probably the prettiest time of year here. I opened up the blinds in Charlie's room and rocked him to sleep for his nap and was thinking it just doesn't get any better then this. I rarely say that when cocktails aren't involved. 

I've been trying to capture Charlie's smile on camera but so far he isn't cooperating. He's all smiles and coos and cuteness until he spies the camera. Brad and I have been contemplating some sneak attack scenarios. When Brad is gone, I have to try and get him to smile while holding the camera and clicking, hoping I get his face in the frame without looking. So his head is cut off below, in the closest thing to a smile I've gotten so far:

Charlie slept for a lovely 9 hours last night and was so cheerful when he woke up! I took some pics of him on the changing table. He recently confided in me that he would like to pursue acting and local theater, so we worked on his faces. Here they are - 


Well I better run. We have to rehearse his lines for his upcoming audition. Hope everyone out there is having a happy day as well!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

7 week update

Just chillin'....

I don't know if I'm just tired or what, but I can't really think of much to blog about lately. Well, I think of different things at different times and can't sit down and write and then forget them. I have also been slacking on the picture taking, which I really need to improve because this baby is changing every day! Lately I've just been pointing my camera at things and hoping a decent picture will turn out. Sometimes they do!

We are much improved on the sleep front around here. Charlie is now sleeping for a 6 to 7 hour period at night, usually from around 10:30 or so to 5:30 or 6. Last night we were pushing 8 hours, which is amazing to me, considering where we were a few weeks ago. He still fights napping during the day, but we can generally get one long mega-nap out of him - usually 3 to 4 hours, starting around noon. That's great, but the rest of the time can get a little exhausting when I'm here alone. This child requires entertainment! Or you will pay! The kind of entertainment where you must hold him. No mobiles, swings, play yards or time in the car allowed.

Our other major activity around here is eating. A LOT. We've had to supplement with formula here and there because the breast milk just isn't cutting it. It is not unusual for Charlie to eat 8 or 9 ounces at a time - generally 5 or 6 from me and another 2 to 4 of formula. We think he has a hollow leg. I'm going to ask the doctor if we can do a little rice cereal or something. I would rather mix that with my milk then do the formula. Overall, getting Charlie full is a huge endeavor. I wish I could give him some of mine I have to lose....

I'm about to call in a shrink for the poodles, who mope around depressed - especially Ringo. He spends a lot of time during the week watching the driveway, hoping Brad will pull in. It makes me sad. Zoe just drops her ball around me all the time, hoping I'll throw it in the backyard. What I love is when I'm dealing with Charlie screaming about something or a huge messy diaper and in comes Zoe with her ball, optimistically dropping it on my foot, like thinking NOW is when Mom is going to throw my ball!

I had my 6 week post partum visit with my OB last week. It went pretty well, everything looks good. I mean, really, the main piece of information was how much weight I'd lost so far. Half. That's it. I had hopes for more, but I still have half of what I gained to lose. Such a bummer! I hit the mall and bought some 'transitional' clothes. While they are a huge step up from the same 3 pairs of yoga pants I've been sporting since January, they are not really anything I would buy normally. But they'll do for now. I appreciate their roomy fits and stretchy waistbands!

The doula is coming twice this week, in the afternoon for 4 hours, to watch Charlie so I can get out of the house. With my luck, he'll nap the entire time she is here and be awake and requiring entertainment from me the rest of the day. It will be nice to leave, though. I am definitely going to the gym both days. It's been a while, so I think I will be nice and sore by the end of this week.

Brad is in Dallas this week for work. Hopefully he'll get to see some of the fam, but he never knows how much they'll be working, or how late. It's awesome though because he is just gone 3 nights, which feels like nothing now that Charlie is a bit older and we had to do without him 5 nights the past couple of weeks. 

I will try to think of some more interesting stuff to post this week and take advantage of Charlie's naps. I'm so behind on current events - it's like nothing really happens right now outside of this house. I had to have Brad explain the whole pirate thing going on to me. Not that I would write about that on the blog, but you know what I mean.  Kara: out of touch. And behind on everything. In fact, if you're reading this, I'm quite certain I owe you a return phone call, email, facebook message or thank you note. Oh well, such is parenthood, right? I'll feel behind on things until he leaves for college. Which Brad reminds me is just around the corner. =)

Wow, I guess I did have a lot to write! A couple of pics from the weekend:

At Brad's soccer game - sleepy Charlie. How cute is that outfit? His grandma Sue found it at a baby consignment store. It's by Baby Einstein. I did not realize they make clothes. 

Me holding Charlie at Brad's soccer game in my fabulously loose fitting and stretchy clothing:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Today was Charlie's first Easter and he decided to start celebrating early by sleeping through the night last night! I kid you not. SEVEN straight hours. Of course, I'm sure he was exhausted from the night before when we were up ALL NIGHT. Just when I think I'm at the end of my rope, Charlie throws me a bone. 

It was absolutely beautiful in Richmond today, sunny and cool. Art, Sue, Clare and Lulu (Sue's mom) drove over from Williamsburg and brought a very yummy lunch. We had grilled lamb, salad, deviled eggs and this yummy lemon cake for dessert. They let me keep a bunch of the leftovers, which means I don't have to cook while Brad is out of town! My in-laws are so thoughtful like that. =)

Charlie wore a new Baby's First Easter sleeper, which was a gift from our friend Marsha. It was so cute on him! After lunch we took some pictures, where you can observe said cute outfit. We attempted a family picture of me, Brad and Charlie, but none of them really turned out. Translated, that means I don't like any of them of myself since I haven't dropped the baby weight yet. Pictures of Kara are not yet fit for public consumption. Carly Simon really wrote You're So Vain for me. 

It all went so fast and I was sad when it was over, knowing the house would be pretty empty soon. Afterwards, some Spooners drove back to Williamsburg, one left for the airport to fly to San Fransisco and some stayed here in Richmond. Brad will be gone until Friday morning, but it is Clare's spring break, so we may be seeing her again this week! 

Here is Charlie gazing adoringly at his Aunt Clare:

Three generations of Spooners: (Clare and I tried to get Brad and Art to act like they liked each other, but no luck)

Outdoor pic of Clare and Charlie (please note beautiful weather):

Sue giving Charlie some lovin':
I couldn't help but think of what Easter next year will be like when he's older and walking and all that. It will be so fun! Today was really just a cute outfit, a few naps and numerous attempts to fill Charlie's hollow leg. I mean, this kid can seriously eat. So he already has Spooner holiday modus operandi down pat. 

Well, that's all from here! Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter Sunday!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I love this picture. Little Charlie in his fleece with the puppy dog ears from his Aunt Lakshmy. More clothes are starting to fit on him and it's so fun to dress him up! I mean, when you have a newborn who fights napping all day long, you might as well play a little dress up, no? 

The doula is back tonight and I just took copious notes during the 15 minutes it took for her to get him down to sleep. I had just fed him and she took him and swaddled him, held him for a little while and then laid him down before he was asleep. He put himself to sleep and after last night when he fussed after every 30 minutes in the crib, I couldn't believe that was really my baby, just peacefully drifting off to sleep. She told me the swaddle tricks them into thinking they are being held. I have guardedly high hopes for tomorrow night when Brad is home. 

With Brad gone all week, we are spending the weekend until he leaves again just chillin' with Charlie. I'm also getting a much needed hair cut. Art, Sue and Clare come Sunday for Easter lunch. Before you think I am in fact Wonder Woman (instead of her lesser known cousin) I am not actually cooking anything. Sue is bringing it all and even set the table before she left today. I could write a short book on effortless entertaining: have someone else do all of it. 

That's about all for tonight. Happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blog Slacker

I have been so bad about updating this lately. Brad flew out Sunday to start his new job Monday and it's been nuts around here being in charge of a 5 week old on my own. I have had a lot of help, though. Sue has been here 2 days this week and Charlie loves her. She also let me get out of the house some, which was awesome. The doula has also been here a couple of nights and is coming tomorrow night. Brad gets back early Friday  morning after a red eye from San Fransisco.

So let me just say that I did not anticipate using the doula to bring such frustration to my life. It's not really their fault, really, it's just that Charlie behaves so beautifully and sleeps for so long for them. And then he's alone with me and it's one of the most painful nights of my life. Three hours of sleep, maybe. What am I doing wrong? Someone, please tell the naive first time mom what she's doing wrong!! I am short on sleep!!! TELL ME!!

Yeah, so that's where we're at. More this weekend for Charlie's first Easter. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

My New BFF, the Doula

Ok, Charlie is taking a much needed but unusual nap. He's up so much during the day, and now at night too, that there isn't much time to blog, email, facebook or anything else. In short, I gotta type fast!

Brad starts his new job on Monday and will be traveling 3 nights a week. Actually 4 nights the first week and 3 after that. It's a great job, but the travel sucks. In this economy, turning down a great job (or really, any job) would be foolish, so despite its major imperfection, it's what we've decided to do. And while I think Brad is kind of dreading being away, he is so excited about this job and ready to be working again. It's been a long haul since November.

Unfortunately, Brad is starting his job before Charlie is really on any kind of schedule, sleeping for any length of time at night or predictable at all. Plus with his gas pains, he really can't sleep long. Here is what our nights/mornings currently look like:

10 or 10:30 - Brad takes Charlie and Kara goes to bed
11:30 or 12 - Brad gives Charlie a bottle Kara pumped and tries to get him down to sleep
1 or 1:30 - Charlie finally goes to sleep in his crib and Brad comes to bed
2:30 or 3 - Charlie is up and upset. Kara goes to feed him and try to get him back to sleep. This is met with limited cooperation and sometimes Charlie is up until 5 or so. If he falls back asleep chances are it's with one of us holding him.  
5 or 5:30 - Charlie is up again and upset. Kara goes to feed him and try to get him back to sleep, probably while one of us is holding him. 
7 or 7:30 - Kara and Brad question their sanity. Also obtain new understanding as to why the military uses sleep deprivation as a weapon.
7:30 or 8 - Kara feeds Charlie, Brad takes him and Kara goes back to bed
9 or 10 - Charlie falls asleep. Brad and Kara rejoice and try to nap, but have probably consumed too much coffee at this point. Or at least Kara has. Coffee affects Brad very little. 

This schedule or some variation of it has been going on for the last two weeks. When I realized last week that I was going to be left alone with him for the next few weeks before this schedule probably changed, panic ensued. I am so tired every day and night - and that's with Brad around! He is tired too! So we decided to get creative and throw some money at the problem. 

Enter: The Doula. We called the hospital and they referred us to a nurse practitioner who runs a doula service. They mostly help moms delivering in the hospital, but work post-partum too. The ones we are working with just finished up helping the parents of some twins who were understandably exhausted. I mean, I can't EVEN imagine twins right now. Of course, I also couldn't imagine being alone with my 5 week old and not being so tired I do something stupid. It was a very scary thought. 

So the doula is going to take care of Charlie from 10pm to 6am a couple of nights a week and let me get some rest. She'll bring him in to me to nurse him, but other then that I'll get to sleep. Alleluia! I think we will do this for 2 weeks and then re-evaluate if we need more. Hopefully at that point his gas will start to subside and he won't be up so much during the night. The doulas are also available to come during the day, so for the rest of my maternity leave, I think we are going to have them come a couple afternoons a week so I can get out of the house. I'm at a loss as to what to do with myself during that time, but I'm sure I'll find something!

The two doulas that will be rotating helping us came over Wednesday to meet us and fortunately both love poodles. Zoe and Ringo were perfectly obnoxious for their visit, I guess excited to have new people paying attention to them. Poor neglected poodles. They don't realize yet that when Charlie gets older he is going to be their best friend!

So that's the long and short of it. The doula is coming Sunday and Tuesday night this week. MIL Sue is coming to spend Wednesday night so I'll have a break then too.  It's going to be a challenging week, but I'll take any kind of week with Charlie as opposed to one without. 

One Month Doctor's Visit

After a very long night last night, we got up this morning for Charlie's one month pediatrician appointment. He was fussy all night and all morning and we were completely expecting a meltdown once we got there. Boy did we ever! So much for that angelic baby all the nurses like to come check out when we visit the doctor!

Charlie now weighs 9 lbs and is 22 inches long! The doctor showed us where this plotted in those charts that show percentile (where the height and weight chart out compared to other babies of the same age... i guess all over the U.S., but who knows) and he is in the 25-50 for weight and 50-75 for length. Our pediatrician doesn't give any more specific percentiles because they think they are pretty meaningless and don't want the parents getting worked up over them. I can respect that. I get worked up over normal baby gas after all. 

Charlie also got his second Hepatitis B shot (first one was in the hospital) and was in full-on meltdown mode by that point, so it was just fuel for the fire. The nurses were very sweet and took care of him while we talked to the pediatrician and loved the little frog feet on his sleeper, so that distracted him a little bit, having his feet played with.

We talked to the doctor about all the painful gas Charlie's been experiencing and he gave us the same answer the other poor doctor I talked to at midnight last Saturday gave - this is normal for 4 to 6 weeks and will get better after that. Oh do I hate that answer. I wish there was something to fix it! 

He kept saying it will get better, the first 6 weeks is the hardest and that we will forget this period. We said really??? And he laughed and said he couldn't tell us how many parents of second children are in there complaining about the same thing saying they didn't remember this happening with the first baby. Ahhh mother nature at work to ensure people keep having babies. Selective amnesia = procreation.

Well the nights around here haven't improved too much yet, but we have 1 week to go until he's 6 weeks old and it's supposed to improve. When Charlie has gas he hates sleeping on his back so he wakes up every hour or so and it takes a while to get him to go back down again. Finally we've found that if we lay him on his tummy on one of our tummies, he will sleep, so we rotate doing that overnight. Makes for bleary-eyed mom and dad in the morning. 

Oh and for those of you expecting or with young babies - I've now been told by two nurse practitioners that there's a new study that shows turning on a small fan on the floor of the nursery overnight cuts the risk of SIDS by 90%. So make sure you've got your fan!