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Leg Warmers, Hotel Living, & Molars

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Hi! I thought I’d say hello and give you another update while Elaine is out for the evening in Portland and I’m in the hotel monitoring the baby.
I hinted to it the other night, but we’ve developed a nice routine of spending the first night of each town together and then each taking a night out to explore the town individually. It’s worked well so we can see more of the city and not be stuck in the hotel all night. I don’t know how other families vacation, but it is hard to sleep all in one bedroom when Mason goes to bed so early and you have to be mindful of every light thats turned on and noise.
Right now we basically put our pac’n play in the corner of the room and build a huge fort of pillows, suite cases and blankets so he can’t see us and try to keep some light out. Guess it works but I always wonder what the hotel maid thinks while our room is getting cleaned

Sometimes we have to do desperate things to have a semi-normal evening in the hotel. Elaine told me that on her night in the hotel in Corvallis she curled up in the bathtub with a book and a pillow just so she could read and not strain her eyes in the dim light. I am not that much better- right now it is 8pm, Mason just fell asleep, I have a nature sound noise on through my phone, and I’m typing away on a tiny screen for this post.

If I won the lottery we would stay in giant hotel room suites or connected rooms on every vacation. And I’d get an iPad for these blog posts!

In other news I thought I’d share that we bought Mason some leg warmers in Corvallis and they’ve done a great job of keeping him warm and helping him adjust to a colder climate.

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Until this trip I didn’t notice how much of a Southern California baby he was until I realized that A) he didn’t have shoes and is usually bare foot every where we go & B) he has a lot of cloth pants and its never bothered me when his pants turned into capris.

We quickly learned how valuable leg warmth is and that layers are his key to cold weather survival. I now also see the value of shoes too. If you look back at our photos, you’ll probably never see one of Mason while he is wearing shoes, yet alone socks. That has changed on this trip and now he is in full body gear. He will probably go back to his hippy So Cal ways once we get back to Santa Barbara but he at least fits in with his baby peers in Oregon.

Teeth. Molars are hard. About a week or so before our trip Mason’s molars started coming in and everyone’s sleep has decreased. They must hurt really something bad because he has been upset (to say the least) in the night and more fussy during parts of the day. It’s crazy how strong he is when he is upset and flails his weight around. It isn’t every night, but almost every other one is a l o n g night. His teeth are moving and coming in but I don’t think any of us will complain when this stage is over.

We’ve had a great time in the Rose City and we’ll have some photos up in a couple days. But here is one of a banana slug we found on our walk yesterday near the Japanese Gardens… yes this is a random photo for this post but banana slugs seem pretty cool.

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Just Below The Surface

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You know…

I love this blog.  I love knowing that we’re going to have all these early memories recorded to look back on, all these photos explained and with stories attached, rather than packed away in a box or on a disk drive.

I love that it’s a way to let our family and friends know what’s going on with us, because I know that I, for one, am terrible at keeping up with my long overdue “catch up” phone calls.

HOWEVER… I find myself putting off writing here sometimes.  I think I feel like I need to have several great stories and pieces of news, pretty pictures and hence, time to write it all and upload and arrange photos.

But I’m thinking that all that just isn’t necessary all the time.

So here I am, with some quick news that I can’t even give you visual proof of yet… because still hidden under the surface… but just near enough to feel a little sharp ridge… we felt Mason’s first tooth this morning!

He was chomping away at my finger when he woke up, and I thought I felt something less gummy than usual.  Sure enough, after some feeling…. there it was!  Which gives us an explanation for why he’s been an absolute BEAR to put to sleep the past couple nights.  He’s been cutting a tooth!  Poor baby!

But excited parents!!

Four Months Update

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Happy 4 months Mason! It is really crazy how quickly the weeks and now months have flown. Elaine does a great job giving the recent monthly changes but here is my attempt at a few moments of the last few weeks:

Teething sucks. We suspected it a few weeks ago based on the drool, constant items in his mouth, and quick change in his sleeping pattern. It was helpful to get doctor confirmation but even being first time parents the diagnosis was pretty clear. The pain seems to come and go in waves, but usually seems to get more intense at night. Nothing has broken through his gums yet, but we inspect his gums on a regular basis to see if there is a change.

Eczema on top of teething sucks even worse. What started off as a small patch of dry skin seemed to consume most of his body overnight. We have it pretty under control at the moment, but there were a few days that we both had “what do we do?” looks on our face. We now have a little routine of oil, lotion, neosporin, and band-aid. We get to do this a couple times a day and the poor kid gets bathed in it about 3 times a day. He gets pretty slippery but smells pretty nice.

Good-bye bassinet! During this month we packed up the bassinet and have successfully transitioned to a crib in our second room. There were some touchy times at first, but overall it has been a smooth for Mason and Elaine and myself. Funny thing is that even with such a big sleeping space somehow he always ends up smashed up against the edge every night.

Outside and inside the crib Mason is practicing balance by sitting up on his own and wiggles around his back to move one inch at a time. I know it is one small step, but we no longer have a stationary baby! The latest fun game is going from laying on his back to standing. By just grabbing his hands Mason does a pretty solid job of getting to his feet.

This month also gave Mason his first taste of water. I never saw him have a drink but I guess he had a couple small sips over the course of the month. It also gave him his first super small taste of solid food. Elaine shared with me this morning that she presented the smallest flake of flat bread to Mason the other morning and his tongue quickly darted out to snag it. We had been presenting our food to him for the past few weeks and we always got a blank stare. As the flat bread test proved, we can no longer offer him things unless we want him to eat it! This next chapter will be a lot of fun.

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We will be away this next week in beautiful Hawaii and I’m not sure how much blogging either Elaine or I will be doing..but you never know. We are looking forward to spending some time with my parents, watching sunsets, and kicking it at the beach. One thing that can’t come soon enough is time with Elaine and Mason that doesn’t involve work, big projects, or apartment therapy.

On a side note, THANK YOU for making January our biggest month yet. During the month we had over 800 visits and topped our old record of 700. Pretty cool if you ask me.
Aloha for now!

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Last Night Wasn’t Perfect…

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But it was better.  And in the trial and error life of parenting… those are pretty good results!

Mark told you a little about how Mason’s first night in his crib was in his last post.

Let me tell you a little bit more…

So.  I’ll start this by making a confession.  Why this has become a “confession”… I’ll never fully understand.

They say that there’s pressure on parents, especially new parents, to act like everything about raising a child is sunshine and roses.  That the feelings and the know-how just flow seemlessly and any potentially negative event is just a drop in the pond.  I hear some new (and not so new) parents rant their frustrations with the inauthenticity of it all.  I’ve ranted about the inauthenticity of it all and revelled in times when a parent, new or seasoned, has been raw and honest about their difficulties.

But one thing I never realized before this past month or so was that the opposite pressure is there too.  Strangely… the pressure to complain, to wax on about the exhaustion and the lack of time to oneself, the sleepless nights, and the list of baby ailments.  It’s like being part of the club means you have to tout your war stories.  Show you know what it means to “rough it” with the best of them.

This is one of the reasons… that I never really wrote on this blog about how Mason has been sleeping 9, 10, sometimes 11 hours a night since my birthday.  It’s one of the reasons that I feel more comfortable telling people about it now… because he’s had a week of NOT sleeping such luxuriously long hours at night.  I’m in the club now, I can admit to previous good luck right?  There was  a rare occasion, before, when we would sheepishly mention our fabulous little sleeper, and would get a congratulatory response, and there always followed our sigh of relief, at telling our dirty little secret and getting a positive response.  But a great deal of the time, another parent’s response is something like… “Oh, well, you know that will change.”  or “Well we’ll see how long that lasts.”  Or I hear of parents who are consoling each other by saying things like, “Don’t worry, they’ll get their’s too.”

Instead of having to defend your good fortune, or dare I say, express pride in your parenting skills, rather than attribute it all to luck… it’s sometimes just easier to smile knowingly when a parent makes a reference like, “Some day we’ll sleep again, right?”

To wrap up this little tangent… Parenting is hard.  Parenting is also amazing.  Parenting is not the same for everyone.  There are a great many similarities, because we’re all humans raising baby humans.  But as many as there are different people in the world, there are different parenting styles, different temperaments of babes, different phases and patterns, and different moods for each hour, month or year of your child’s life (and yours)!  We would benefit far more from each other’s support, rather than each other’s watchful expectations.  We would also benefit far more from giving ourselves permission to simply be proud when we’re proud, and to struggle when we’re struggling.  Life, as well as parenting is a series of ebbs and flows.  Forcing a smile when we’d rather bawl, or pretending to gripe when we’re really feeling rather satisfied is just that desire to belong surfacing in a twisted way.  If we all excused ourselves from the pressure to fit in, we just might be able to fully enjoy and learn from all the amazing, beautiful, different palettes of life and beliefs and parenting examples there really are out there.

I lavished in the nights where Mason slept from 8pm till 7am.  They were glorious and they were frequent.  Right now… they are sorely missed.  I have a strong gut feeling (accompanied by the prayers that I’m correct) despite my lack of experience in this area, that this shift in sleeping habits is a result of teething.  Not that I think he’s going to pop out a couple of teeth at the ripe old age of three and a half months.  But let’s look at the bullet points:

  • People I’ve talked to and most readable material agree that the teething process can start  a month or more before teeth actually emerge.  (Often between months 3 & 5)
  • Drool abounds during this time, and now, more often than not, an outfit change is spurred on by a drool soaked collar rather than a diaper mishap.
  • I know babies like to stick things in their mouths in general… but Mason’s hands are constantly in his mouth, as are blankets and burp cloths and plush toys, our fingers and hands.  And he’s starting to chomp a little bit more rather than just suck on things.
  • He has been SUCH a consistently good sleeper since the beginning, and for the past week has been getting progressively more agitated in the night.  A couple nights of waking up once, a couple nights of waking up twice, and then two nights ago he was waking up EVERY HOUR between 11pm and 3am.
  • Most nights this past week there’s been at least one time in the night that he’s gotten so upset that he needed to nurse in order to calm down.  But most of the time when he’s woken up at night,he isn’t wet, he isn’t hungry, he isn’t even fully awake.  His eyes are closed tight and he just cries and cries, flailing arms, kicking legs, tossing his head.  The poor baby just seems SO uncomfortable and calms with some soothing, but there have been times when it’s taken both Mark and me holding his limbs still and a pacifier in his mouth for him to be able to fall back asleep.

Granted… we did just move him into his crib, so the fact that instead of just rolling over and reaching into the bassinet to replace a fallen pacifier has now turned into getting up to walk down the hall and replace a fallen pacifier is something to be noted.  But we expected a couple of those each night for a while.

Last night, we finally got our hands on some essential oils I’ve been wanting to try.  My friend Jenna (whose blog I will link to once she writes her first post 😉 ) has just started using essential oils as alternative medicine for her 1 year old in the past month, and has been blown away by them.  We used some on him last night before he went to bed… and while we didn’t get our nine or ten hours of sleep back… it was FAR better than it was the previous couple of nights.  We did have to jointly pin him down once, but he didn’t have to nurse the whole night for the first time in a week, because he didn’t fully wake up the whole night.  There were a couple other times he started to rustle and fuss and I had to go put the pacifier back in his mouth.  But I’m super excited to keep trying this oil, and hopeful that one day in the not too far future, we will be a household who is once again, blissfully asleep during the hours when the sky is dark.

Now off to collect my babe.  He’s become fascinated by his mobile.  Which makes his mama, who made it, very happy!

staring up at the mobile