Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

twenty weeks

Dear Linnea,

Today marks two occasions: Christmas Eve and your being alive for 20 weeks.

I really wanted to do up the holidays for you. I had grand plans. However, we just barely managed to get a Christmas tree purchased and decorated right under the wire, I still haven't bought gifts for your grandparents, and there is currently a pile of Amazon boxes by the tree in lieu of wrapping. Maybe next year, my dear. Plus, at 17 months, you'll be more able to appreciate things like stocking stuffers, Christmas pajamas, and wrapping paper. We *did* manage to pre-purchase a giant ham for dinner. Total porky victory.

You have managed to supercede my expectations all this month. You started daycare with absolutely no issues, you've been putting yourself to sleep in your own crib, you are mostly smiles and giggles. However, you are working through a runny nose/diarrhea/insane diaper rash, and that high-pitched squeal? Up there in the whistle register? Yeah, that's back.

You are also more or less rolling over consistently...

...except when you get distracted by one of the overhanging toys.

Some of your favorite things include:
  1. Being tossed into the air.
  2. Watching/hearing someone say "babababa."
  3. Getting your feet nommed.
  4. Putting things in your mouth.

And our relationship has eased quite a bit. I am, for the first time, able to truly enjoy our time together. It's really because of how capable you are; it means that all that tight anxiety that endlessly sat like a boulder in my stomach has disappeared. I can be with you and really *be* with you, instead of constantly worrying about how we're going to teach you how to sleep on your own, or whether you're being stimulated enough, or whether you like me. Finally, all of that: gone. And thank Zeus. That leaves more time for vital things like to snuggling and playing and nomming your cheeks. I tell you kid, I never thought we'd get here, but I am finally having fun.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

cousin Skype visit

The only ones who look OK in this screen capture are the babies, and they are both like, "what's the big deal, bros?"

Sunday, December 16, 2012

los altos cribs

We transitioned Linnea to her crib last weekend.

so long, bassinet

Here's how it went.
  1. I agonized about putting Linnea in the crib.
  2. We put Linnea in the crib.
  3. Linnea gave exactly zero fucks and fell asleep.
There was something bittersweet about this process. On one hand, I am relieved that she had such an easy time of it. On the other hand, I'm like "really? You don't care at all that you're sleeping alone for the first time in your life?"

"jeez mom, get out of my room"

I read on other parent blogs about these kids who need their moms to be close, who get scared when they start becoming more independent, etc. Not this kid. This kid will be hitchhiking to New York as soon as she can sit up unassisted.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

day 131

By Linnea's first birthday, I'll have enough photos of them napping together to make a photo book.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

first day back

Yesterday was my first day back to work, and also Linnea's first day at daycare. Of course, she did spectacularly (ate fine, slept relatively well). She spent her first bit of time in the space just staring around the room as I tried to say goodbye. Oh well.

I've been super conflicted about this. On one hand, I was nervous to leave her with someone else. What if she didn't like the caretakers? What if she liked them too much? Did I leave enough bottles for her? Did I give the caretakers enough information about her? What if she didn't sleep? What if she didn't eat? Etc., etc.

On the other hand, I felt a little bit of relief to not have to "be on" all the time anymore. I looked forward to feeling competent about my day-to-day life again. I really looked forward to being able to get coffee, or a sandwich, or go to the bathroom whenever I wanted. I also was excited to leave Linnea with people who are used to babies and know what to do with them. While I struggled each day to find the right balance of stimulation and independent play for Linnea, these caretakers are experienced in figuring this out. Plus, Linnea would get to "hang out" with other babies, which I really wanted.

However, despite the above, there was something almost viscerally traumatic when I got home, picked Linnea up to cuddle, and realized that she smelled completely different. She smelled like someone else, someplace else, and it was clear that she had had an experience that were separate from me for the first time in her life. I wound up holding Linnea for a quick evening nap just so I could feel connected with her again.

As Kanye says, "It's a process."

Friday, November 30, 2012

flight or fight

Although Linnea hates riding in the car, she was apparently born to ride airplanes. I'm not sure how she was able to sleep for almost 2 hours with the constant stream of airport announcements and domestic disputes were going on around us, but she did. This was on top of a 2 hour ground delay coming out of LAS due to weather in San Francisco. This turned out to be really great, because all the people we would be with on the plane got to see how calm and easy she was ahead of time.

Flying to Vegas was really what I was most concerned about, but no one seemed annoyed. One of the 20-something guys who had been whooping it up with his compatriots even offered to help me with my suitcase. The flight back had a lot more sympathetic people, which turned out to be fantastic, because Linnea cried from the landing approach until the deplaning.

I was super nervous about nursing in the terminal and on the plane, diaper changes, diaper blowouts, and Linnea being cranky, but really didn't have much issue with any of these.

Things that worked for me:

1. Baby carrier. I decided to forgo the stroller this trip and just use the Ergo for getting around. Great decision. Linnea likes being carried in it, and it meant that I had both of my hands free for getting stuff done.

2. Gate pass. Virgin America was fantastic about giving Whit a gate pass so that he could help me get everything through security. This was definitely one of the things I was worried about. The counter representative in Las Vegas offered to give my mom one for the same function, but because my dad was waiting curbside, we decided to forgo this.

3. Checked baggage. On my way to Vegas, I carried on my suitcase and gate checked the car seat. On the way back, my mom insisted that I check the suitcase, but I still carried the car seat through security, only to decide to check it to baggage claim when I got to the gate. Linnea doesn't sleep in the car seat, and so there wasn't really any benefit to keep it with me. Next time, I'd check everything I could and just go through security with her and a diaper bag.

4. Making friends with all the airline staff you can. Everyone -- the counter representatives, gate representatives, and flight team -- were totally great this trip, and really helped me navigate some of the more awkward parts of the flight experience. No one seemed to mind my being back in the staff area of the plane while Linnea slept, but I tried as much as possible to show my gratitude.

All in all, good trip. I'm sure flying with Linnea will get more complicated the older she gets, but at least I had a relatively easy first go of it to build some confidence.

Monday, November 26, 2012

four months

[FYI: I'm counting "months" as "weeks," so this is actually "16 weeks"]

Dear Linnea,

You are four months old today. We are celebrating this age milestone with a trip to Vegas to visit your grandparents.

I am pretty sure that the minute people on our flight saw you, their disappointment on sharing a flight to VEGAS BABY YEAH with an infant evaporated the moment they saw your footie pajamas. Oh, who am I kidding? These people had already been drunk for at least 2 hours.

Speaking of the flight, I was so very nervous about taking you on a plane by myself. I made detailed lists about three weeks in advance. You turned out to be a rock star flier, so everybody's a winner. Because VEGAS BABY YEAH.

We have been weaning you out of your swaddle. Your dad and I imagined we would do it once you forced the issue, i.e., learning to roll over. You did force it; however, it was because you went from "oh hey, the swaddle" to "WHY DO YOU HATE MY FREEEEDOMMMM!?" over the course of two days. During the first night, you slept awesomely with one arm out. I woke and listened in mute apprehension as you sucked on your left hand to put yourself back to sleep. You were a champ at putting yourself back to sleep, and now I am embarrassed because clearly I did not think you capable of this. You are obviously a capable person, and your mom's fear of mistakes might be the only thing that can pen you in. Stick with me, kid: there will be plenty more underestimation and anxiety where that came from.

[It turned out that that you did start to try and roll over this week, so I'm glad that we went ahead with the Banning of the Swaddle operation.]

We finally set up your room. As you've been getting more aware of everything, it suddenly felt odd to nurse you in one space, change your diaper in another, and put you down for naps in still another. Now, most activities are in your room, with the exception of playtime because I like having you out be able to look out of the sliding glass doors. Like a nature aquarium.

After trying to stuff your increasingly mobile limbs into your old clothing, I finally came to my senses and pulled out the 3-6 month outfits. They are still a bit too big, but you don't seem to notice.

You are getting WAY strong, and have been pushing off forcefully with your feet. This has made bathtime a little more challenging.

Something is going on in that brain of yours, because you have started getting more distracted while feeding, and keep looking around and then back at me as if to say, "how about that depth perception, AMIRITE?!" You are more observant, watchful. You stare at things and stick your tongue out in concentration, just like your father. Your eyes follow me around the room.

You giggle when I tickle your tummy. You now prefer humming/singing when we try to get you to sleep. My choices are Simon and Garfunkel, Beach Boys, and musicals; your dad's are the more age-appropriate "Make New Friends" and "Frère Jacques" (although he does like to throw in "We Are Young" on occasion).

We are getting ready for you to start daycare next week, which means more lists, flowcharts, planning on my part. After some initial frustration, you have been taking a bottle from your dad every morning. LIKE A BOSS.

Thanks for persevering with me for these four months, Linnea. I think we're getting the hang of it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

next size up

Ladies and gentlemen, we have outgrown the 0-3 month clothing. I cannot believe her feet were ever that tiny. I am saving a couple of things (her going-home outfit, a really nice wool/silk set that her grandmother got her), but am likely giving the rest away.

It's a little bittersweet. On one hand, it's sad to think of her growing so fast. On the other, this clothing reminds me of how much of a struggle the first month was, and how one of the only things that I felt confident of was folding her little onesies and matching her pants to her tops. While I still struggle day to day in figuring out how to care for this small person, at least I know her a bit better. You can't stay strangers for long after wiping baby poop off of someone's thighs.

Friday, November 16, 2012

day 102

Linnea is starting to giggle more regularly, and enjoys 80's-era Bobby Brown.

Friday, November 2, 2012

"i don't want to live on the moon"

I tried to sing this song to Linnea the other night, but couldn't remember the lyrics (even though I sang this song repeatedly as a kid). Time for a refresher. Happy Friday, y'all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

the first halloween

Making a Halloween costume is super easy when the subject is barely 12 pounds. And I also discovered I am a hoarder, except with felt.

Monday, October 29, 2012

three months

Dear Linnea,

You are three months old today, and oh, all the places you've come.

three months

You have found that your right fist and your mouth go together like rama lama lama
ke ding a de dinga a dong.

You are making some amazing noises. Most of them are super sweet (cooing, raspberries), but you've also been working on this high pitched squeal that either means "I'm happy" or "I'm about to turn it up to 11 on the rage-face scale" (I can't tell yet). The books say to repeat back what you do, and I always feel a little dumb doing it at first, but you always start laughing so that erases all the self-consciousness.

Before you turned three months old, there was very little pressure on how we got you to sleep, how we interacted with you, whether or not we stuck with routines. Now that you're three months, I feel this enormous pressure to start transitioning you to independence or else you will be RUINT 4 LYFE. I think we're supposed to be doing this gradually, but we tried to do a lot of things all of a sudden, some of which has worked and some of which hasn't. We tested out weaning you out of the swaddle by keeping one of your arms out, but that didn't seem to work super well yet. Your dad decided to double down and swaddle you with both arms out for a nap (which you woke up from 30 minutes later). Your dad is a born optimist.

We have four more weeks together before I go back to work, and that sort of took me by surprise when I realized it. For some reason, it feels like we've been together forever. I'm wondering how we'll both feel when I am at work, and you are at daycare. You seem like a much more resilient and adaptable person than me, so I suspect you'll be fine and I'll be a mess. I am imagining how this relationship will play out over the next 18 years.

[History notes]
  1. Your Aunt Brooke, Uncle Lorenzo, and cousin Isabella are currently experiencing the effects of Hurricane Sandy over on the East Coast. We are hoping that they (along with our other loved ones) are safe and sound.
  2. The San Francisco Giants just won the World Series last night. I sort of feel like I should take you up to the city to experience the celebration, but let's be honest: you'll scream for most of the car ride, and I don't really like baseball anyway.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

11 week growth spurt

Linnea has hit her 3 month growth spurt a little early, and has been nursing like mad for the last few days. At times, her desire to eat is overriding her desire for sleep, and so, for the first time in weeks, she has started falling asleep nursing again.

She has also started getting clingy, which means I may try to break out the Moby wrap again and see if she takes to it now. And for the first time, she has expressed a preference for me instead of Whit, screaming bloody murder when he tried to bounce her to sleep last night but falling asleep within a few minutes of my trying. I feel both apprehensive (how long is this going to last?) and bad for Whit (since this is the part of her care with which he's probably the most experienced).

However, Linnea is also moving her arms and legs a lot more vigorously, and can almost put her hands in her mouth. Small things. This will pass.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Frasier celebrity call-in listeners

In honor of my having finished the entire series of Frasier on Netflix, here's a supercut of some of the celebrities that played callers on his radio show.

[via Laughing Squid]

Saturday, October 20, 2012

daddy | daughter time

Whit has been working a lot of hours lately, and has been struggling to achieve this whole "work-life balance" utopia that's been so in vogue as of late, and that I'll be dealing with in about 6 weeks. To be honest, it's been nice to see some recognition that men also struggle with being involved with their families.

[There are probably many arguments to be made that involve this position detracting from mothers' struggles to raise a family; women still being seen as the primary caretakers of children (and thus the ones to blame for any issues); and men being the beneficiary of low expectations in child-rearing. My perspective is that there are lots of dudes who should be and want to be present in their children's lives, and workplaces should support ALL parents in raising children without suffering professionally. End soapbox.]

I've been trying to be patient and understanding, but I do want Whit to enjoy his time with Linnea while she's still so little. As he said last week, "she'll never be 9 weeks old again." I also want to ensure that she develops a good relationship with her father.

So far, I think we don't have much to worry about.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

on the love rush

Well, like the famous philosopher Paula Abdul says, two steps forward, two steps back.

Things have been improving with my emotional relationship with Linnea. I still don't feel that love rush that everyone talks about (I am currently attributing this to my personality trait of being slow to warm to strangers), but I feel somewhat bonded to her, and very protective. One of the turning points occurred at her 2-month vaccination visit. After weeks of not being certain that Linnea could distinguish me from any other person besides as a food source, it felt really nice to be able to comfort her after her shots. As if I was the only one who could do it. [This was probably not true, but I'm going to live in the land of fantasy here.] This day did a lot in building my confidence in our bond.


My sister-in-law Brooke, who was 10 weeks behind me in pregnancy, gave birth the same day as Linnea's vaccinations. And her birth went well, and the baby is beautiful and sweet and calm and I am so, so happy for her because this is something that she has been wanting for years.


Brooke, unlike me, was completely blissed out over the experience. She has been over the moon in love with her daughter, as is her fiance. And while I am so relieved and happy for them, an unexpected side effect was that it totally reinvigorated my initial doubts and struggles that came to bear during my postpartum period, and some of the issues with which I am *still* struggling.

I still am not completely blissed out over motherhood. When Linnea is awake, I enjoy my time with her. I am excited that she is smiling and cooing at me; I like tickling her feet and belly; I cheer her on as she starts batting at her overhead toys on her activity mat; I find myself staring at her face as she sleeps. But I still don't feel like I know who Linnea is, and it's made me nervous about what kind of relationship I have with her. There are times when I wish I could just have some space for myself, where I don't have to be ON all the time. I am worried that my going back to work and having Linnea in daycare will exacerbate these feelings.

I do not want to give the impression that I begrudge Brooke her babymoon, nor am I wishing anything negative to occur EVER EVER. I am super excited and proud of her, so thrilled at the newest addition to the family. But the juxtaposition of her experience and mine is making me question if I've been doing things all wrong, if I'm too rigid to fully give myself to my child, if I am in fact missing the mommy gene.

I am being reassured that these feelings are normal, and that over time, my love for her will grow as we get to know each other better. And it's entirely possible that things will happen gradually, and one day I'll wake up and find I'm already there. Or maybe I am already there, and I am totally overthinking things. It's so hard to know, and at after 10 weeks, I'm still finding myself questioning.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

tummy time progress

Linnea's tummy time this week has gone from this...

...to this.

She is now lifting her head (occasionally with her chest), turning it from side to side, and actually looking at things WITHOUT a ton of yelling and tears. She also will sometimes roll over, but that's mostly due to circumstantial chance than any advanced motor development (although she seems pretty damn pleased with herself when she does it). Every time I think things are going to be one way forever, she always manages to give a punch to my expectations.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sunday, October 7, 2012

vaccination day (2 month)

Linnea received her 2 month vaccinations last week. She did relatively well...

vaccination day

...until she woke up from her afternoon nap. Then she was PISSED (I haven't heard her cry that hysterically since she was a newborn, except now she can cry much, much louder). I got her back down to sleep, and when she woke again, she was absolutely fine. Crossing my fingers that the rest of her vaccinations go as well.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Stanford School of Medicine "flipped" classroom presentation

Sal Khan, faculty, students, and staff discuss the use of the "flipped" classroom at Stanford SoM.

[via Scope blog, Stanford School of Medicine]

Thursday, October 4, 2012

first lecture at Stanford

After a big fat fail at running errands last Friday (Linnea did not stay asleep in the car seat, started wailing 20 minutes after leaving the house, and had a huge diaper blowout), I decided that I needed to feel slightly normal for a little while, and took her to Stanford for the first-year POM orientation.

[photo by Laura Mendoza]

It's amazing how much babies perk up a low energy medical student crowd. And now Linnea can say that she has already given a lecture at Stanford University at 7 weeks old.

[screenshots from video capture, c/o Stanford University]

Wednesday, October 3, 2012