Wednesday, March 30

Motherhood in the 21st Century

Ah, looks like we have a thumb-sucker. Well, kind of--Liam will pretty much suck on any digit he can get in his mouth, but he has figured out lately that it is possible to suck on only one rather than shoving his whole hand in his mouth. Naturally, Eric and I are vastly entertained and quite interested in even the most benign developments with our little creation, but I am fully aware plenty of people are not. This realization makes it a bit difficult to write posts because, frankly, almost-five-month-olds don't do all that much aside from eat, poop, pee, and sleep.

Liam is developing his sense of humor, laughing, cooing, and expressing himself with a variety of noises. He is beginning to show more interest in the plethora of toys we have around, so it is fun to watch him look at something, reach out and grasp it, and then figure out how he is going to get it in his mouth. This mission--to put anything that he gets his hands on in his mouth--seems to be his driving force at the moment.  He is exploring his world one slobber-covered object at a time.

I think Eric and I are doing a great job making it through our daily routines, accomplishing everything that needs to be done, but so far being mom and dad doesn't leave a lot of time for us to be husband and wife. In fact, even if it were to leave us some time, we are more likely to use it to sleep rather than hang out and enjoy each other's company. This reality, although not unexpected, is a bit of a bummer. But I'm told as the baby gets older things will get easier. (Or is this just what other parents tell you to keep you from going off the deep end? Time will tell.) We did manage to go out to a movie together this week for the first time since before Liam was born, so I suppose that should be noted as a positive development in the "Hey, remember what it was like to be married?" department.

St. Patrick's Day
I recently acquired one of those sleek little Flip cameras, so I may have some fun baby videos to share here soon. I'm itching to use it, but since the camera arrived, Liam hasn't offered up a lot of video gems for me to share. Speaking of sharing videos online, I've been thinking a lot lately about how lucky I am to be a parent in such wired times. Not only do things like Facebook and blogging make it possible for me to share news about the baby with long-distance friends and family and record Liam's babyhood in a variety of ways, but our wired world also makes everyday life as a new mom better in a few simple but significant ways.  So much so, I feel the need to share my thoughts on a few of the tech tools that I find make life as a mom way easier. Here they are, in no particular order:
  1. Of all of the tools God blessed early 21st century moms with, Amazon is one of the best. Not only can I order lots of things at discounted prices and get it in two days, I can order things like diapers and wipes in bulk at even further discounted prices and schedule them to be delivered regularly. I can't tell you how grateful I am that for most of our frequently used necessities I can just log on (from my phone even!), order it, and it will be at my door in two days. If I had to make regular weekly shopping trips with the baby in tow...well, let's just say that would not be cool.
  2. Smart phone. Since Liam was born, I've found that increasing the number of things I can do one-handed is key to accomplishing tasks. Needless to say, I don't get the chance to be on my laptop much when I'm at home, so having a handheld device that can perform (in many ways) like a computer has been extremely helpful. While nursing or rocking Liam, I can get to my email, keep up with news, and--as I mentioned before--even order from Amazon. Anything that allows a mom to easily accomplish more than one task with one hand without putting the baby down or leaving the rocking chair is nothing short of a modern technological miracle.
  3. DVR. That's a "digital video recorder" for those of you who have yet to discover the joys of the DVR. This device was handy even before I was a mom, since it allowed me to watch the t.v. shows I wanted anytime, rather than having to watch them when they aired. Since becoming a parent, however, this device has become even more valuable. Honestly, if we didn't have a DVR I would probably watch next to nothing on t.v.--and let's not underestimate the value of having programs you like recorded so you can have something to watch during all of those hours of nursing.
  4. Kindle. Again, the beauty of this device is that I can use it with one hand. Unlike the iPad, it's light enough to hold in one hand while I read, and its wireless feature means I can access and download a new book within a minute--no need to drag the baby out on a trip to the library or bookstore. The Kindle was especially valuable while I was on maternity leave because it allowed me to stay intellectually occupied during a time when I didn't have a lot of daily interaction with adults. And now that I'm back to work, I love the fact that it's small enough and slim enough to fit easily into a diaper bag. Given all of the stuff you haul around with a new baby, small, light, and compact are key criteria that put the Kindle on my list of favorite tech gadgets.
  5. Bluetooth. As useful as my smart phone is, chatting on it for long periods of time--as one tends to do when you have a baby that grandmas, aunts, etc. are eager to get updates about--is not easy. Liam is not going to take kindly to me delaying a feeding, diaper change, or whatever it may be so I can visit on the phone. As skillful as I've become at navigating my brave new world as a mom one-handed, there are plenty of times when two hands are required. That said, the wireless bluetooth headset solves the issue. This advantage may not seem quite as important to people who don't have long distance friends and family, but when one of the primary ways people keep up with what's happening with your family is a regular phone conversation, it is wonderful.
Such an expressive little face
Later this week we will have our first travel adventure with Liam. We will be flying to Illinois for duel purposes--attending the American Research Center in Egypt conference in Chicago and introducing my family to Liam. Needless to say, I have no idea what it is like traveling with an infant. Flying alone as an adult can be a pain in the neck these days, so I'm sure it's a real possibility that flying with an infant can multiply that factor exponentially. I plan to keep an optimistic outlook until events prove me wrong. Hopefully--as they say back home--Lord willing and the creek don't rise, all will go well.

Sunday, March 6

Sweet Homecomings

Four months old!
This week marks my third week back at work, and I think at this point I can say that Eric, Liam, and I have found our routine.  For the most part, none of my fears have come to pass, and somehow all the necessities manage to get done.  Eric has done wonderfully so far running his daddy daycare and has done a lot to help me get routine household chores done.  The fact that everything at home is running smoothly helps me feel better about being away at work, and that feeling allows me to focus on work when I'm at the office.  Coming to the office makes me feel more organized, as well.  Since I'm up so early (most times around 5 a.m.) these days to feed and change Liam before coming to the office, I arrive at work very early.  That time alone before the workday begins, when the office is empty and quiet, is a luxury I use to pay bills and take care of administrative tasks I can't easily accomplish at home.  The work days fly by, and it is a sweet homecoming every day to come home to my husband and baby boy.

This month Liam learned to roll over.
Aside from the nasty cold that Liam and Mommy came down with last week, everyone is doing well.  Liam is now four months old.  He spent the month of February mastering the ability to roll over, so now almost every time we lay him down he rolls over onto his tummy.  He is also a very good supported sitter, but he loves to lean forward and turn sitting into rolling.  Once on his tummy, he can really get his legs pumping, but his arms aren't in on the action yet, so I think we have a few more weeks before he takes off crawling.  I'm reluctant to make any predictions, though--most of the time it seems he just wakes up one day and decides he wants to do something and just does it.  I half expect to lay him on his activity mat one day and turn around and find him crawling across the floor!

As for that cold I mentioned, it has been a vicious one.  I've not enjoyed being miserable at work--public speaking with a cough and cold is difficult, if not impossible sometimes--but it has been worse watching Liam deal with it.  I know common colds like this help him build his immune system, but I would gladly be sick for a whole month if it meant he could stay healthy.  We've done our best to help make him comfortable, and there's no doubt Liam has been a trooper--even though he's sick his smiles come as easily as ever.  Last night I pampered him with TLC like only a mommy can.  In the space of an hour, I had him bathed, fed, Desiten'd, baby oiled, Aquaphor'd, and Vicks vapo-rubbed. I gave him some Tylenol to take the edge off the aches and pains, and rocked him to sleep before putting him to bed in the bedroom with the humidifier.  Thankfully, for the most part he has been able to sleep at night in spite of the coughing, sneezing, and congestion. His regularly scheduled doctor's appointment is tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to the doctor's reassurances that this is just a cold and my baby will be his normal healthy self again soon.  

Rockin' his Disney pj's after a warm bath