Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

Henry is starting this rapid and noticeable development phase. It is crazy. And awesome. And a little bit sad. Crazy because he is a new baby every week. Heck, practically every day. Awesome because he is growing more and more hilarious by the minute. Sad because he is GROWING. The boy barely fits in tree frog pose any more (you know, head under my chin with his legs in my lap). Last week he began new sleeping patterns. I love and hate them. Love because he is regularly sleeping in a 6 hour stretch once a night!!! EEEE! I recognize how very lucky we are, most babies do not do this for quite some time yet. Hate because he is starting to get crochety between 7:00-8:00 and clearly needs real bed time now. BUT! That means his 6 hour stretch is 7:00-1:00 or 8:00-2:00 instead of the delightful 10:00-4:00 of the previous week. Sigh. Sometimes being a mom means you have to do things that are best for your kids. I think I heard that at some point in time. I guess. 

He’s also starting to be awake for nice long stretches – a couple of hours at a time sometimes. And during that time he flails and kicks and smiles and laughs and coos and tries to hold his head up (and his mostly successful until he gets tired and then he face plants) I die over every single one of those actions. Like… belly laughing dying. And it feels like all of that JUST started happening. I have to say, it makes me excited for next week.

Except… next week is only two weeks away from putting Henry in daycare and me going back to work. I remain trepidatious and excited about those things. I can’t believe how quickly these past 10 weeks have flown by. I am already worrying about the guilt related to going back to work (which can’t possibly be healthy). If Henry goes to bed between 7:00 and 8:00 and we don’t get home until 5:30, that is not very much baby time! How do parents do it? I will SEE him a whopping 3-4 hours a day (depending on how our morning routine goes) and that thought is horrifying to me. How do working parents find meaningful time with their children WHILE taking care of a marriage WHILE taking care of a house WHILE taking care of pets and countless other things. And that is why I am having a tremendous amount of guilt settle in 2.5 weeks out from returning to work.

Side bar story: this morning Henry had his first blow out. Down his left leg, up the back, up the stomach. Thank GOODNESS he had on pajamas so none of the gross grossness got on me as I was tickling the crap (literally) out of the little monster. I had just tried a new brand of diaper and am trying not to judge that diaper because I think even the old faithful Pampers would have failed in the face of the most baby poop that ever existed. 

And, now, a bit of a serious story. Since Henry’s umbilical cord fell off he has had a red nub in the center of his belly button. Our pediatrician thought it was a granuloma (i.e. an umbilical leftover that stubbornly will not fade). We treated it four times at the doctor’s office and treated it with alcohol at home for weeks and weeks. Finally, at Henry’s two month appointment, Dr. Evans conceded that it wasn’t going away and that it may be something else. She referred us to a dermatologist specialist in Kansas City and we went to see him yesterday. After being seen and sent to radiology to get an ultrasound to confirm, Henry actually has a patent urachus. This essentially means that there is tissue connecting Henry’s bladder to his belly button.We are waiting to hear from a urology specialist in the next few days to talk about course of action, but it will involve surgery. So far, I have not googled patent urachus. I am really proud of myself for this. But I imagine the surgery is going to be minimal given that the issue is right under the skin. But, who knows. The dermatologist strongly urged me not to google anything because he didn’t want me to see the horror stories related to this very common, very minor surgery. I will not lie… it is killing me, though. I WANT TO GOOGLE. I WANT TO GOOGLE SO BAD. The honest to goodness truth, though, is that because I have not googled and do not know what the treatment entails – I am truly not worried! And that feels good. I will plan to worry when I know for certain, from a doctor’s mouth, that there is something to worry about. Honestly, right now, the thing that bothers me the most is that PEE IS SEEPING OUT OF HENRY’S BELLY BUTTON. That is WEIRD. But I look forward to telling the monster that story one day. Other than the pee out of the belly button thing, Henry is a very healthy thriving 13 pound 11 ounce beast. And for that I am immensely thankful.

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I forgot pictures

And I can’t deprive the readers of pictures!

This past weekend we were in Minnesota for a memorial service for Allen’s Uncle Chuck. It was a great time to celebrate his life and introduce Henry to the Eastlunds. Here, Henry is with his Great Grandma Lola. Lola was smitten. 

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This is a picture of Allen’s Uncle Chuck and his mom, Audrey. When I saw it I totally freaked out. You see why? Henry is very clearly an Eastlund. Apparently, all Eastlund boys look this way as babies. 

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Henry met his future wife, Annika. Neither baby was very excited to be on the floor and having their picture taken… the things we force our kids to do.

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Uncle Danny looks happy and relaxed. Henry tells another story.Image

 

Awake and happy at Great Grandma Lola’s. 

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Super hero punch!

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Resting after 2 month shots.

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Pain

A few nights ago I was getting the little monster ready for bed. We were doing our usual routine, and he’s usually a little whiny because he gets fed right after the pajamas are put on and the boy likes his food. I zipped him up and something strange came over his face. He because quiet and his eyes started to bulge out of his head. I already knew what had happened. I zipped his skin. My panic started to set in. I hurt him. My heart hurt. I began to in cessantly whisper “I’m sorry… I’m so so sorry…” over and over again. Then his body went rigid. So rigid it became difficult to pick him up. Then he held is breath. And the tremendous guilt washed over me. The worst pain the boy had ever felt was caused by ME. His mom! Then crying, wailing, really, like I had never before seen came blaring out of his tiny little body. Whatever is 3 steps worse than the purple cry, that’s what this was. So I picked him up and felt his body start to go from rigid to stiff, while I rubbed his back and continually whispered my apologies. I don’t think I have ever felt worse in my whole life. Eventually he settled down, ate, and went to sleep. Thankfully, he will not remember that night. However, it is a night that I may never forget.

Allen went to bed early that night. Because we close Henry’s door, our door, his room is down the hall from us, and we run a rather noisy fan, his screams could not be heard in the bedroom. I purposefully was noisy entering the room and crawling into bed. I needed to confess my transgression to Allen. It took about 15 for Allen to calm me down. Which is longer than it took Henry to settle after I zipped him.

The one thing I clung to was that a few days later Henry would be getting his two month shots and then I wouldn’t be the person that caused him the most pain any longer. I couldn’t wait for that appointment.

First, the stats. Chubby little monster is 13.3 pounds and 23 inches. He’s pretty much exactly average for height and head size, but in the 83rd percentile for weight. Teehee. He likes to eat just like his parents. Our pediatrician is tickled with him, though, and says “He’s thriving! This is great!” So, our two month old doesn’t need a diet quite yet.

So… TWO MONTH OLD. How in the world did that happen?

Okay okay. The shots. The closer the shots came, the more nervous I began. I did NOT want to see the cry from zipper night. I was worried I was going to have to leave the room. Two nurses came in to give him 4 vaccinations (though one was oral). They gave him one shot in each thigh. The third shot was administered before he even had time to react. Nurses work at the speed of light. It was magic. I wish I could have recorded Henry’s reaction. It went from “La la la, life is good, I’m a little hungry, but life is good.” to “WAIT. WHAT? I’m so confused!” to “OHMYGODTHATHURTS WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME CRY CRY RED FACE!” However, the crying lasted only a few minutes, I don’t even think he got to the purple cry phase. And then as soon as I started to feed him he was completely over the shots and I realized that I was still the person that caused him the most pain in his life! Zippers are worse than shots. Now you know.

In the saga that is Henry eating… life is so much better. For the past week I’ve been really diligent about not eating dairy and he is not crying after eating. We’ve tried it before and I haven’t been convinced, but this time it really seems like it is working. Or his sphincter is more mature and he was going to stop crying anyway and I’m just miserably not eating cheese for no good reason. In a couple of weeks I’ll have a glorious grilled cheese and see what happens.

Nonetheless, I’m in heaven and loving this happy baby boy for as long as we get to keep him. You know, until something else pops up – growth spurt, sickness, teeth, SOMETHING. But when you have happy baby, even for a day – bask!

Henry also continues to be a delightful sleeper. Part of me doesn’t even want to tell you about it because I’m scared to death it will jinx the magic. For weeks the little boy has been sleeping in 4 hour increments, then 4.5… then 5. And a few nights ago we got a 6 hour stretch. IT IS AMAZING. I mean… it is amazing. In the most humble way I can say it. Where’s wood? I need to knock.

Our pediatrician seemed to be impressed with Henry’s wiggling. Apparently he is pretty active for a 2 month old. I am not surprised given that he was also incredibly active in utero. I never really think about how wiggly he is because I see it every day. The boy can move pretty fair without rolling, crawling, or walking. It makes me a little nervous for when those things start to happen.

And, finally… the last thing I’ll share. Henry has really begun to smile and laugh. I’ll just be that mom for a minute and say it is quite seriously the best thing in the whole entire world. He smiles at me. He responds when I tickle him. When he laughs it kind of sounds like he is signing (because the laugh isn’t really developed fully yet). And that smile and that laugh make the world a better place. You think I’m being dramatic? I bet Henry’s smile could help the Ukraine. We just need to get him there.

I’ll work on that in the next few weeks.

 

This is hard

This is hard is an understatement. This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life is also an understatement. Yes, I’m tired today. Does that mean I’m probably being a bit unnecessarily dramatic? Probably. But… goodness…

THIS IS THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. 

And Henry is a halfway decent baby. I can’t imagine truly difficult babies. Or babies that are sick. Or babies that need surgery. Or babies with special needs. Parents of those babies deserve awards, and money, and free babysitters, and a pat on the back, and someone to tell them that they are amazing. 

As readers know, we’ve struggled with Henry and eating and crying. At first, we tried gas drops. We imagined they worked, but they didn’t really. Then we tried shortening feedings. Thought that worked, but it didn’t really. Cut out dairy for a day. Seemed better. Cut out dairy for a few days, seemed better. Then, not better. Tried baby antacids (as prescribed by doctor). Never really seemed to work.

Tangent: Henry HATES the antacid medicine. It smells minty/medicinally. I don’t like it. So, no wonder he doesn’t. Do you know how hard it is to get a baby to take medication when he does not want to take medication? There is really no parental recourse for spitting shit out and refusing to swallow. So, maybe the antacids would work better if more than a titch made it down his throat. 

I find myself thinking that it is a really great day if Henry only cries for a few minutes after each feeding. SUCCESS! VICTORY! On those days I enjoy him tremendously and we play and smile and laugh and he sleeps on me and I love him so completely. But then I remember… it is still not normal to cry every time he eats. Even if it is just for a few minutes.

Then there are days like today. Days that sucks so totally and completely. Today, I am quite tired. Henry slept great last night, like usual. But I could not fall back asleep after the 3:30am feeding because of the storm. I was excited about the first spring storm and then the lightening and thunder were too difficult to block out. So I admit it, I wasn’t my best self today to begin with. Tired = low tolerance for pretty much anything. Tired = easily frustrated. Tired = easily exasperated. Tired = crying when things go a little bad. And then Henry had a bad day. LOTS of crying. So much so that it seemed like we would just get settled and then it would be time to eat again and the crying cycle would start all over again. And it wasn’t even the purple crying (for non parents, purple crying evokes the following feelings: shake the baby in desperation to get him to stop, anger, frustration, fear, guilt, helplessness, and 100 other feelings that make you feel like you are probably the worst parent in the world). There were not smiley happy laughing times today. 

By the time Allen came home I was a mess. Today I feel helpless. And that I am failing this tiny human. Today I feel like there will never be a day when he doesn’t cry after he eats. And then I get an image of 18 year old Henry ferociously choking down a cheeseburger and pitching a fit afterward and that pretty much cracks me up and makes me smile, albeit for a fraction of a second. 

(Note: I had a good talk with Allen, a long conversation with a lovely friend, and a few simple, but needed words with my mom between the previous paragraph and the next. Things don’t seem as bad already. People, in general, need good support systems. There is no doubt about that. I think that having babies and raising kids requires that support system, but on steroids and in hyper-drive mode.)

This wouldn’t feel so terrible if I didn’t love that tiny human so darn much. And really, how bad do we really have it? Honestly, not even THAT bad. So, Henry cries after he eats. He’s gaining weight and he is healthy. He usually only cries for a few minutes. It isn’t that bad. What I mean is, it doesn’t sound that bad. But when you are living those cries 8-10 times a day and you know that you are his only food source and that the crying is somehow linked to the food, therefore you, it IS that bad. It is bad in a way that is difficult to describe. It simultaneously feels like the most petty and most genuine feelings you have ever felt. 

Henry has his two month appointment next week. Shots. Ick. But I look forward to time with the pediatrician when we will, again, revisit this issue. There is this terrifying possibility that I am beginning to come to grips with. This just may be Henry. There may be no particular reason for the crying. It just might be who Henry is – a little bit fussy. And that is terrifying because it means there is no fixing it. There is only outgrowing it. 

He will live. I will live. We will live. 

Even in the bad moments I try to remember how adorable he is, the cowlick in the center front of his hairline that he will one day hate but is oh so cute, his chubby legs, baby smiles, beginnings of baby laughter, sleeping on my chest, his beautiful eyes, how I feel when I watch him sleep, how lucky I am to have him, how lucky I am to have Allen. I would be lying if I said that these things always fix my funk. The truth is they rarely do, but I try to remember them because one day I will look back and those things will be the things that I remember most so I want to etch the details in my brain.

And… here is why all the guilt, pain, fear, and anger is totally worth it: 

Dog park walk in sunny 80 degrees in the Britax (THOSE EYES! THEY KILL ME!):

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Baby toes!

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I AM THE KING!

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Dog walkin’ in my old man sweater:

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Baby blues in his baby blues:

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Tongue:

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Argggggh, matey!

 

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