Monday, October 15, 2007

Six Months

Seamus is now six months old. The past couple of months have brought three new teeth (the two bottom, one canine and one incisor on the way), and lots of new tricks. Seamus has finally learned how to roll over front to back and back to front and he does so all the time even when being held. He’s also finally gotten both feet in his mouth (let’s hope this is not a lifelong habit). He says mama all the time now and it appears to be directed at me. Still no papa, but he's started saying gaggy to Thomas. We think this is his word for papa. He’s eating vegetables now: green beans, sweet peas and just today we started orange foods with sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes are his favorite, but green beans are a close second. He still gags when he eats the peas. Although he hasn’t learned that he can spit out the food he doesn’t like. And he’s very nearly sitting independently. Still no signs of creeping or crawling. In fact, he doesn’t seem remotely interested in being mobile except by having his parents carry him everywhere. It seems his social and verbal skills are developing faster than his physical skills. Here’s what this monring’s very first bite of sweet potatoes looked like:

We also received some rather scary news this last month. You may remember when Seamus was born his left kidney was slightly dilated and his pediatrician worried he may have a reflux problem with the urine from his bladder refluxing into his kidney. We were told he had a very mild form of hydronephrosis (less than grade 1). He was put on prophylactic antibiotics for two months to prevent any future infections. At four months old (after being off the antibiotics for a couple of months) he developed a urinary tract infection. At this point his pediatrician scheduled an ultrasound of his kidneys and a VCUG (an awful test that involves a catheter). The results showed that the hydronephrosis had progressed to grade 2 and that there appeared to be no reflux. We thought no reflux was a good thing, but now his doctor is concerned that something worse than reflux is causing the hydronephrosis such as a malformation in a posterior ureteral valve or some other malformation that may require surgery. We’re meeting with his doctor on Tuesday, who should have consulted with a pediatric urologist by then, and should know more at that time. It may be that we can simply keep him on antibiotics and monitor his kidney with ultrasounds every six months or so. Sometimes these little malformations resolve over time. Please keep us in your thoughts, and if anyone else has gone through this we’d love to hear from you. Apparently, hydronephrosis isn’t all that uncommon.

The past couple of months also brought my 30th birthday which sprawled out into a lovely two weeks of shopping for new clothes thanks to Thomas and my parents. I bought lots of new sweaters and three pairs of high-waist jeans. I was so happy to see these coming back. I’m sick of low rise everything. It’s not been too difficult being a vegan while I breastfeed, but being a vegan on my birthday kind of sucked. I craved cake. My parent’s had given us several boxes of chocolate and yellow cake mixes awhile back, and I remembered some of them being vegan. Thomas and I decided we’d make a pineapple upside-down cake with one of the yellow mixes. We went to the grocery store and bought pineapples, cherries, brown sugar and more Smart Balance, and when we got home Thomas prepared the cake while I relaxed. Just as the smell of warm pineapple filled the air Thomas walked into the bedroom with the cake box in his hand and said, what made you think this was vegan? Turns out the cake mix had eggs and milk-fat in it. It was the chocolate cake mix that had been vegan all along. Go figure. So Thomas had pineapple upside-down cake while I had vegan lemon-ginger cookies, which aren’t too shabby. The cake turned out kind of crumbly anyway:

I realized the other day that I don’t write much about what Thomas is up to. This is not because I don’t care, it’s just that he’s involved in so many projects it’s hard to keep track. This semester he’s building a iron-melting cupola for his sculpture independent study class. He’s almost done. We’ve been trawling junk yards together looking for blowers and large iron discs. It’s kind of fun driving around the county junk yard in a Lincoln Town Car. By the beginning of December he should be able to pour iron. Any need any extra bolts or spare auto parts?

Thomas just got back from an iron pour in North Carolina where he met with other artists who build cupolas, and consulted with them about his project. Here's what pouring iron at night looks like:

It's a very intense and exciting process, not to mention highly dangerous. The iron melts at 2700 degrees.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Good Old Boy

Yesterday I was reading to Seamus from his Child's Treasury of Poems (thanks Alastair and Oliver) when I came across this little gem:

Bonny lass, pretty lass, wilt thou be mine?

Thou shalt not wash dishes,

Nor yet serve the swine;

Thou shalt sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam,

And thou shalt eat strawberries, sugar and cream!

I read it to Thomas this morning and told him this was how he should have proposed to me. I think I'll hang it on the refrigerator now.

On a completely different note, I've just found out that two of my stories will be published in reputable journals soon. Details will be forthcoming closer to publication date. Also, Seamus's tooth has finally broken the surface and it's sharp as a puppy's. He's been breaking it in by chewing on blankets and stuffed animals. His tooth came in the same day he turned 5 months old. And…he weighs over 20 pounds now! A lady at work says this makes him a little hoss. It's a good thing too because he now fits into his Dukes of Hazard t-shirt which is sized for 18 months. Thank God for vegan breast milk.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Seamus has a dairy allergy. This was discovered when we started finding streaks of blood in his diaper. Nothing gives a Mama a heart attack like bright red in a baby's diaper. His pediatritian did some investigating and determined it was most likely an allergy to the dairy that I was consuming, and since I'm breastfeeding Seamus eats what I eat. I was told to eliminate dairy products from my diet for the next few months and then slowly add them back (most babies outgrow these types of allergies). Since I'm already a vegetarian this makes life a little harder. Dairy was a big source of protein in my diet. And I absolutely love cheese and milk chocolate and fresh butter, but there's no way I'm putting my guy on formula. I love nursing and the health benefits far outweigh my little bit of discomfort. I've been reading lables like crazy and nearly everything contains milk or eggs or cheese. So I've started baking my own bread and making my own cupcakes (there is a whole delicious book of vegan cupcake recipes--Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World) eating lots of TVP and other soy products for protein. Thomas is trying all this stuff with me. He even ate the fake cheese I made from nutritional yeast and flour (this gave us both stomach aches--I don't recommend it). Since I work at a library I've dipped into our vegan recipe books and those of the other libraries in our area and found this little gem of a book:

The author even includes a recipe for "faustess" cupcakes--fake Hostess Cupcakes. This saves the day for me since Friday was always my Hostess Cupcake day.
If anyone has any vegan recipes or ideas please let me know. I'm up for anything!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Seamus is four months old now and eating his first solid foods (rice cereal mixed with breast milk). He's becoming more social and smiles and laughs at everyone he meets, and if you put your face up close to his he will goo and babble out the most remarkable baby conversation. Thomas and I are starting to get the hang of parenting, work and marriage. I write in the mornings before Seamus wakes up and I do dishes and laundry (although Thomas will say he does all the dishes and laundry) at night before bed. We're becoming more confident at this parenting business everyday. Milestones for this month were: rolling over front to back, passing an object from one hand to the next, sitting with light support, turning head toward sounds, and laughing at a Tom and Jerry cartoon. This last one isn't so much a milestone as it is a good sense of humor.

Seamus also loves to grab noses and ears:

Once the dust of new parenthood settled, I actually found time to knit Seamus a sweater. It's a simple raglan sweater sized for 12 months and made of a cotton/cashmere blend:

I had forgotton just how much I love to knit. I hadn't touched my needles since I was pregnant when I attempted to make Seamus an aran sweater and ran out of yarn on the last sleeve. I'd used a hard to find yarn; so the aran sweater will now be adjusted to an aran vest. Here's what I have so far:

All this knitting has me wanting to challenge myself. I've decided I'm going to learn fair isle knitting, and I'm going to start with the Road to Golden pullover (for me) from the recent issue of Knit Scene.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Jiggidy Jig

I've been back at work for a little over two weeks now. It's not been as traumatizing as I imagined. In fact, it's been nice being around adults and books again. I've missed Danielle Steel's face. Three new books of fiction came in for me while I was away and they're all fabulous; so I've been reading them simultaneously. I read while Seamus eats. This means I read a lot. No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July takes the cake. She writes things I didn't think were possible. Eeeee Eee Eeee by Tao Lin is also amazing. I've been dreaming in his sentences. And Twenty Grand by Rebecca Curtis is gorgeous. I wish I could write as effortlessly as she seems to. You can't go wrong with any of these books. Do read them. Please do. They are tremendous.

Seamus is growing by leaps and bounds. He's 16 pounds now and 27 inches long. He's been rolling over from front to back and laughing and smiling and trying to make words. He's been saying ma-ma a lot. I know that this is just a sound coming out of his mouth and it probably means nothing to him, but it's nice to imagine he's saying my name. Thomas and I have become Mama and Papa instead of Honey and Dear. So when Seamus says anything resembling mama I try to accommodate. We're working on getting him to sleep through the night. We'd love it if he would slumber from midnight until six a.m. I get up for work at six and it would be nice to have six solid hours of sleep a night, but Seamus is still hanging on to his four a.m. feeding. The past couple of weeks we've been giving him a pacifier instead of the breast and sometimes he falls for it and goes right back to sleep, but mostly he cries until Thomas rocks him back to sleep which can take up to an hour. This method was going well and he was almost making it until six a.m. and then he started teething and now his sleep pattern is all over the place. I think his gums hurt more at night. If anyone has any tips on how to get a baby to sleep through the night we'd appreciate them. He's gotten too big for swaddling; so that's out of the question.

I've been writing in the mornings before work since I don't really get a chance to do so any other time of the day. I've started all kinds of new stories that look like they're growing into one big story. We'll see what happens. This kind of writing is nice since I'd taken a break from all of my interests when Seamus was born. Caring for a newborn is full time work even with two people doing it. I don't see how single parents survive.

Life has been busy. The library where I work has just finished its Summer Reading Program and we also have a new catalog interface and computer system. So most days I don't have time to miss Seamus too much. It's just hard to leave the house in the morning. I LOVE my days off.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Look Who's Smiling!

Seamus has just mastered the art of smiling, and he's working on laughing. He can make the face for laughter, but not the sound. Yet. Although, he's squealing in delight more and more. Unfortunately, the ceiling fan is the recipient of most of these smiles, but Thomas and I get our share. The other day my mother was sitting next to me while I was nursing and Seamus kept smiling at her while he was eating. Milk went everywhere.

We've come up with so many nicknames in the heat of baby talk. It's funny the things that come out of your mouth when trying to entertain an infant. Here are just some of the many names we call Seamus: Shim-Sham (we call him this more than anything, more than Seamus even), the Great Shamdini, Shamalese, Sweety Pete, Mr. Milk Man (he has a onesie that says this, thanks Bill and Christin). We also call him Mr. Gwyn a lot.

I have less than three weeks of maternity leave left before I must return to work. My three months away is flying by so fast. Thomas and I have worked out our schedules so that Seamus will not have to be in day care. I'm happy for this, but sad that I won't be with my little man all day. We've been playing the lottery on Wednesdays and Saturdays hoping to hit jack-pot so I can be a stay-at-home mom for awhile.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The First Month

Seamus is now six weeks old and weighs 10 1/2 lbs. This is what happens when you eat every two hours. The first month has been a blur of nighttime feedings, swaddling, rocking and changing diapers. It's hard work, but it's happy work and we're grateful to do it. We now have hundreds of photos of the little man on our hard drive. Here are just a few:

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Baby Seamus!

Seamus Edward Gwyn was born on Thursday, April 19th at 4:21 pm. He weighed 6 lbs. 14 oz. and was 20.5 inches long. I'll write more as I have time. It's pretty chaotic at our house right now. In the meantime here are some photos:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

37 Weeks

37 weeks and my belly button is still flat as ever. Some of the ladies at the library where I work said their belly buttons never popped. I'll be sad if mine doesn't.
Last night I dreamed I was pregnant with a cat. In the dream I had gone for one of my regular doctor appointments, and the doctor had told me that I wasn't having a boy or a girl but a feline. His words. In the dream I could feel the outline of the cat in my belly. The tail, the paws, the face. I kept thinking, I already have a cat, and I don't want another. I was so glad to wake up this morning and feel my real baby moving around and ready for breakfast.
Thomas and I bought some summer blooming annuals for the speck of a flower bed in front of our porch. I had wanted perennials, but Thomas reminded me we'd probably be living in New York by next summer and wouldn't be around to enjoy them. So we bought some gladioli and some freesias:

Ever since we moved into our new place, I've been imagining my summer of maternity leave filled with lots of swinging on the porch with the baby, and I wanted to make my sitting area as pleasant as possible. So, yesterday I got out in the cold and the wind in the flower bed and planted the bulbs next to the porch swing. I figured I'd better plant them now while I can still get around fairly easily. I don't know how I'll feel in a week or so. Thomas kept coming out to check on me and offering me gloves and gardening pads for my knees and extra sweaters.

Things are almost ready for our little son. His crib has been assembled; his clothes have been organized and folded into drawrers; the curtains for his windows have been hung; the rug for his room has been rolled out and vacuumed; his diapers and powders, creams and burp cloths are all in their proper places on the changing table. I'm still washing all of his clothes and putting them away. The carseats are ready to be installed in both cars. The bottles and bowls and spoons have all been through the dishwasher, even though these won't really be used for another few months. My hospital bag is packed. Every phone number of every person we know has been programmed into the cell phone. Thomas and I are ready. Except that I keep forgetting this baby's really going to come out. I keep forgetting that if I went into labor today, chances are I'd give birth to a fully formed infant human being. I can't believe this.

My due date is less than three weeks from today. At my last doctor's visit the doctor could feel the baby's head and said he was already engaged. The baby's ready to go, but I'm not. I'm going to miss being pregnant. I'm going to miss feeling my baby hiccup and kick and stretch. I'm going to miss waking up at night to feel his back pressed up against my abdomen. On the other hand, I'm so excited to meet this person, to see his face, hear his sounds. And I can't wait to see my husband become a father. In the meantime, I'm going to relish these last couple of weeks of pregnancy. I'm going to sleep in on my days off. I'm going to let Thomas pick up all the things that I drop throughout the day. I'm going to let him tie my shoes. Each morning I'm going use up all the hot water in the shower. I'm going to enjoy the food I eat. And I'm going to enjoy these last days alone with my husband before we become parents.

It's becoming more difficult to sleep and sometimes even to walk. There are times in the day when I have to hold the bottom of my belly to keep from feeling that the baby is going to fall out. Still I enjoy how healthy and strong I feel, and I enjoy the fact that I can still stand up from a squatting position, and I can still get in and out of the floor pretty easily. Who knows how long I'll feel this way. At this point, things seem to change day to day. I'll try to keep everyone updated each week until the big day.
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