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So to follow up on yesterday’s post on SweetPea’s slowly degrading schedule, I have to say that yesterday was an anomaly.

Thank God.

She was so upset yesterday — all day. My husband said that aside from when she was actively eating or sleeping and the odd 20 minutes here and there, SweetPea was basically inconsolable. In fact, he said she set a new record in the Olympic event that is High Intensity Screaming. There was flailing, kicking, gasping for air, ear-splitting and he swears that at one point she was just hitting him with her fists.

It finally dawned on me yesterday afternoon what was going on.

She missed breastfeeding. Sure, she’d been getting the same nutrients from the bottles of pumped milk (moo). But she loves drinking straight from the source. Immediately after her dinner-time feeding yesterday (during which she probably drank more milk at one feeding than ever before), she was back to her happy, smiley, cooing self. She hung out on her play mat for more than 30 minutes while we ate dinner and cleaned up a bit. She went down for bed at 8 p.m. without hardly a whimper. She ate easily when I roused her at 10 p.m. for another feeding and went back down without a sound. She stirred a bit at 1 in the morning, but I reswaddled her and popped her pacifier back in and she slept soundly until 5:15 a.m. when she was all smiles and wonderment. She went back down after that feeding until 9:15 a.m. and my husband reports that she has been a happy baby all day so far.

I know that I’m a necessary part of her development and what not, but it was nice to have that reaffirmed to me this way. Especially since I was at work for the majority of time that she was outraged.


It’s been a big media day for me here, at my office, in front of my computer.

The higher-ups are in China for the next week and a half with our choir’s tour of Beijing and Shanghai.  The group left on Tuesday, but I got a call from my guy down at the university’s New Services this morning, asking who would be the best person, stateside, to talk to a reporter about the group’s trip.

That would be me.

So, I gave a short interview on a local, fairly prominent, AM radio station about the group, the trip, and the Department.  Before the interview took place, I expressed my hesitation regarding being the resident expert on the trip, since everyone associated with the trip had literally taken off.  I did my best to sound intelligent on the fly, and was rewarded by the interviewer telling me after the phone interview was concluded that I “did really good.”

Aw.  Shucks.

My next foray into the news media comes in the form of my love for the New York Times and for ice cream.  On the NYT’s Well blog, I read this post on fattening ice cream and their slightly less fattening alternatives. My comment (and I have never commented on an NYT blog before) earned me this praise: “If I had a budget to give prizes (which I don’t) I would award one to you for most useful post of the day. Thanks.”

So, as soon as I wrote a post about SweetPea’s penchant for schedules, she goes and proves me wrong.  I expect this will be a pattern in my life.

In the last week, SweetPea has decided that she will nap on her own time and also not be happy about it.  We’ve had more crying jags at a higher intensity than ever before.  It’s obvious (to us) that she’s just too wound up to sleep.  While we want to teach her to fall asleep on her own, more often than not this week, I’ve found myself jiggling her and holding her pacifier in her mouth in hopes that she’ll calm down and conk out.  Or we just put her in her crib and let her cry it out for 5 minutes and then go in and check in on her.  Sometimes we only have to go in once.  Other times (and this is mostly at night) it seems that I’m getting out of bed 6 or 8 times just to put her pacifier back in.

She seems to have gotten heavier in the past week, so I’m chalking up this new sleepytime behavior to a growth spurt.

Her pattern has been to be extremely alert and talkative and then quickly dissolve into a crying, kicking, flailing mess.  Our plan is to try to engage her for a shorter amount of time and then wind her down when she shows the first sign of tired (or before that, if we’re really good).  We’re hoping that she’ll be calm enough then that when she notices she’s tired, it’s easy for her to drop off to sleep.

It sounds good in theory.  I’ll let you know how it turns out in practice.  I’m sure as soon as we get this worked out, it will be on to the next phase of babyhood and our safe little schedule/plan will be uprooted yet again.

I see I’m going to have to loosen up on this “I have a plan” thing with this parenthood business.

I had to go in for CT scans yesterday — never a fun outing. I get CTs of my chest, neck, abdomen and pelvis every six months to make sure that I’m still cancer-free. Lucky for me (and for SweetPea), I got to skip the last set of scans due to the pregnancy.   But there was no getting out of it this time.

There was some delaying of it though.  I was orginally scheduled to get them in early May and found out in late April that I’d have to stop breastfeeding for a period of time post-scan. And at that point, SweetPea was not taking a bottle well and I had very little extra breastmilk to freeze for later. Fortunately, my nurse was very helpful and helped me push back the scans to the latest possible date. By the time yesterday rolled around, SweetPea was a seasoned pro at the bottle and I had easily stored 80 ounces of breastmilk in what my husband and I call the Strategic Breastmilk Reserve or SBR. (It’s located in the Arctic Tundra of our freezer.)

To clarify, breastfeeding moms who have CT scans done don’t need to stop breastfeeding because of the radiation or because of the barium contrast that you might have to drink. Rather, it’s the iodine contrast that’s injected into your veins that is the culprit. To find out how long I’d have to stop breastfeeding, I asked my OBGYN (24 hours), a lactation consultant (48 hours), an oncology nurse (48 hours) and SweetPea’s pediatrician, Dr. B. Dr. B’s answer seemed most reasonable. He didn’t know the answer right off, so he called up a radiologist who gave him the most recent study findings. The iodine concentrates in the breastmilk and breastfeeding babies iodine levels increase if they drink the milk. But the increased iodine levels haven’t been shown to cause any harm to the babies. He said that I didn’t need to stop breastfeeding, but if I was concerned about the iodine levels, they’d be out of my system in 24 hours following the scan. So that’s what we’re doing. In the meantime, I’m “pumping and dumping.” (Oh, breastfeeding lingo, how I abhor you.)

My husband’s been the one to give SweetPea almost all of her bottles, but last night I had to give her a bottle while he was out at a recording session. SweetPea was none too pleased with that arrangement. She was hungry, so she ate well at the beginning of the feeding, but then started to choke a bit. I pulled the bottle away to give her a chance to recover and she immediately lunged at my shirt, furiously rooting around. When I offered her the bottle again, she squawked in defiance, ate a little more and then quit for that feeding. She then cried for a few minutes following the feeding as if to be sure her complaint regarding the poor service was properly noted by restaurant management.

I look forward to our special bonding time this evening when I get home from work. I know I’ll be sad when that inevitable day rolls around when I will feed her for the last time from my breasts. (That does not mean I will be breastfeeding this child until she’s in kindergarten. I’m not sure how I feel about breastfeeding a child who can talk. Right now, I’m hoping to breastfeed exclusively for at least 6 months and then wean her after a year.)

After church tomorrow we’re taking SweetPea to my husband’s parents’ house in Cville.  We haven’t made it up there yet since SP was born, and the long weekend is a nice opportunity to do so without wearing anyone out.  Right now, I’m packing an additional bag for her with extra diapers, blankets and outfits so as to make our visit (we’ll be there for 8 or 9 hours) as easy as possible.  I am strongly tempted to make the rookie parent mistake and overpack.

I mean, you can’t be too prepared, right?

I risk being made fun of, but also having just the thing that makes the visit as easy for SweetPea as possible.  And that’s my job as her mother — to make sure she has everything she needs and to love on her all the time.

So yes, along with her standard diaper bag, I will be sticking the Pack n’ Play in the car, along with 2 extra outfits, a bunch of diapers and some of her favorite toys and books. And of course, the camera and camcorder.

I would have made a good Boy Scout.

SweetPea will be 100 days old tomorrow.  I’m amazed by this.  It seems she’s been here forever and as if she was just born.

And she just keeps getting bigger.

In 100 days, she has fully integrated herself into our hearts, minds, souls, home and family.  My life has changed so radically and yet it’s been the most natural of transitions.  Of course I love her to pieces.  Of course I’d do anything for her good.  Of course she is constantly in the forefront of my mind.

And those things will not change ever.

I like schedules. The Google calendar I set up for our family is a rainbow of appointments, gigs, meetings, church events, lessons and anything else I can think of to put on there. I keep a separate iCal at work to get me through each day here. Not only do these serve as planning tools for the future, I love them as mini-diaries of our lives. (I still have DayTimer calendars from more than 10 years ago, when I was in high school. In purple ink, it attests to Global Studies quizzes, piano lessons, and creative writing deadlines.)

I have not reached the point where I have color-coded SweetPea’s schedule. But I am so grateful she has one. She usually wakes around 9 and eats before 10. Three hours after that feeding (during which she takes a nap), between 12 and 1, I come home from work to feed her. She stays awake for a bit and then takes a longer nap (about an hour and a half).  She’s usually super-happy when she wakes from that nap. She eats again between 4 and 5, we eat between then and her 7 or 8 p.m. feeding. Then we play and hang out until we put her down between 9 and 9:30 p.m. and I wake her up when I head to bed around 10:30 to feed her and she sleeps through until about 6 a.m. (which is when the sun rises these days) when it’s time for her first breakfast of the day. (She’s like a hobbit — 1st and 2nd breakfasts, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, late night snack.)

We know we’ve been blessed with a super laid-back baby. She goes down without a fight (just a dependency on her pacifier), is super-smiley when she wakes up and in the afternoons, is content to lay in her crib before sleeping or upon waking up for up to 20 minutes just looking around and talking to herself and handles schedule shifts (late nights out, etc.) with ease. She even seems to adapt to our weekend schedule nicely, by sleeping in later, staying awake through church, sleeping through lunch out with my parents and then hanging with dad on Sunday afternoons while I nap.

We are under no delusions that any future children of ours will follow this same pattern. But we are full of hope!

We took SweetPea to her 3 month checkup today.  She was a total pro.  Put up with Dr. B’s poking and prodding without complaint, showed off how she loves to stand up with those cute legs, and was basically the cutest thing in her little cloth diaper.

She weighs 11 pounds and 3 ounces, is 22 inches in length and her head circumference is at 41 centimeters.  This means her head is in the 75th percentile, while her length is in the 5-10 percent range.  So, she’s basically like a character from Peanuts.  I wonder if she’ll be able to reach doorknobs.  (Weight-wise, she’s in the 25 percent range.)

Looks like she’s an eczema baby, as she’s had a bunch of skin issues since she was about 2 weeks olds, and we talked a lot about how to help her with that.  We may do some more modifications to my diet (to see if eggs or shellfish could be the culprit), but I doubt that that’s the case.  There’s a history of eczema in my family, so we’ll just keep lotioning her up on a regular basis.

One thing I love about our pediatrician’s office is the freedom with which they distribute samples.  We came away with several trial size lotions to test on SweetPea, some baby suncreen, different medicated lotions to help with her eczema, a big tin of formula (in case my supply goes down with working full-time — not something that I see happening since I’m basically over-producing and freezing several ounces every few days, but I wanted to know what Dr. B suggested we use in terms of formula), and a magazine.

SweetPea got 4 vaccines today — 3 shots and an oral dose.  She did great.  Cried with each shot (and by the time third one came around she was at ear-splitting levels), but calmed down within half a minute of the last shot.  Now she’s sporting purple dinosaur Band-Aids and up for a dose of Baby Tylenol.

We’re off to a little dinner party tonight at the home of an old friend of the family.  Our families have been friends since I was 4 years old, and now our families have been extended a generation and span a continent.  So it will be fun to reminisce good times and have SweetPea meet some friends a few months older than her.  I hope to have some sweet pictures from tonight.

I used to blog on a semi-regular basis here. But I started that blog at a time in my life when things were a little dimmer and I couldn’t see the bright spots as easily. In the 4 years since I started that blog it seems my life (and if not my life, then at least my day-to-day concerns) has completely changed.

So I thought my blogging life might change as well. Here’s to new space and renewed habits.

Welcome, Dear Reader, I hope you enjoy.

From the Field