Feb 1: Goodie bags

The goodie bags for school are finished: ten blue bags with a mini-slinky (still not a choking hazard), bubbles and twisty straw. I'll buy more bags and bubbles to make five bags for Saturday.

In the freezer is a chocolate almond cherry cake, vegan Jewish apple cake, and two spongecake rounds for strawberry shortcake, oh, and chocolate fondue.

Friday I go to the liquor store and Target for wine, wine, more wine, and something with teddy bears that is not an actual teddy bear. Saturday to the grocery store for strawberries, bananas, pears, whipping cream, ice cream and frozen raspberries.

Saturday we celebrate Jakob's second most important birthday: his first. Sticking with close friends and family, the guest list was only 36 people. About 25 will attend. Just cake and coffee (and champagne), and celebrating many other February birthdays, including Grandma Sandy, Uncle Scott (B), Uncle Goombah, Jack, Janine, Uncle David.

Many thanks to everyone who said it gets better: you were right. Jake took his first step at 9 1/2 months, didn't bother again for weeks, started to take real steps at 10 1/2 months, and by 11 months was trying to walk everywhere. With mobility came exploring, and the world is now filled with fun. He can walk to the kitty cat and, well, grab some body part until the closest parent says, no, PET the kitty. He can open the kitchen cabinets and pull out all the pots and chew on them. He pounds the "piano" from Steve. He brings books for us to speed-read; he turns the pages before you finish a sentence!

Solid foods are good. He'll still eat single-food purees, like sweet potatoes or peas, but he's been trying to eat solid foods with his four front teeth. Favorites include fillings from Chinese dumplings, chicken fingers, rice, bread crusts, any type of cracker or crisp cookie, Springerle, Pfeffernüsse, pancakes, scones, figs, applesauce. He hasn't been gaining weight as I'd have liked, he was 20 pounds at his nine-month checkup, 20 lb 6 oz at 10 months, then 20 lb 4 oz at 11 months after being sick all month. Appointment next week, so let's hope he breaks 21 pounds.

Even though he isn't gaining weight, he's growing taller, and losing the baby fat from his face. Every day he looks more and more like a little boy.

Sleeping through the night was short-lived, interrupted by colds and teething, and now he seems out of the habit. Oh, occasionally there is sleeping until 2 or 4 a.m., but then he's up by 11 every night the next week. And when he's up, he's standing in his crib crying, and Daddy-O can't rock him back to sleep half the time. Now, what do you expect me to do? We have a little milk, a little snuggle, and then it's back in the crib if Mommy-O doesn't fall asleep along with Jake.

Aug 23: All I know about mothering I learned on the 'Net

What's that advice, ?

Aug 22: He sleeps!

[Omi thinks Jake is just the cat's meow]Jakob slept through the night last night! 8:45 until ... ? He was awake and sitting up when I woke at 6:15. Gave me a big smile when I walked into his room.

And there was much rejoicing and celebration!

And partying down!

In a restrained, Quakerly, haven't-had-a-full-night's-sleep-in-six-months way.

Now, catching up on things. At his six-month doctor's visit, Jake was 27 1/2 inches long and weighed 8 pounds 15 ounces. Jake has a Flickr site. Photos with captions were taken by me. Without captions: Jorj.

Jakob now eats: sweet potatoes, pears, peas, carrots. He doesn't like rice cereal, oatmeal or stringbeans. Bananas started early and were eh. We're going to try them again in a few days. His brother will be horrified if Jake dislikes bananas. Today he started eating peas, carrots and potatoes at school, and dropped from five bottles (20 oz total) to four. Miss Dottie complimented me on the quality of his strained peas. Home-made, of course, because I am:

  1. An obsessed, insecure, nuerotic new mother, and
  2. A cheap German

Yes, Sunday I was nuking frozen peas, blending them on puree, and pushing them through a strainer into an ice cube tray. It did taste fresher than the jarred peas. Later this week: carrots and sweet potatoes.

Hey, I made the kid's milk for six months, I can make his food too.

As mentioned above, Jakob has learned how to sit himself up. He's been sitting if we plopped him into a sitting position, but then he'd fall over and whine.

[Learning]Mom bought Jake an Exersaucer, which he loves. He also loves the bear from Pop-pop (always makes him smile, no matter what the crisis), the activity ball from Auntie Lynn, all his stuffed animals, his music boxes, and his books. And, oh yeah, the spoon. Everything he does helps him learn, even if he's just learning, Don't do that.

June 30: End of four months

Okay, I'll just squeeze this in before Jake officially turns five months this weekenend.

Daycare: very good. He enjoys it and they enjoy him. Frankly, I think he's bored at home. We're taking him on lots of walks and errands and field trips on weekends to 1) keep him happy, and 2) get stuff done. This plan is working: he's happier, and we get some stuff done. Somehow, they also get him to take naps, long naps. Gotta ask how they do that.

Milk, nursing, pumping: Better, much better. No longer worried that he'll starve in daycare, no longer painful. Very much enjoying our evening nursing, and have learned to nurse while in bed. Haven't fallen asleep in the rocker in weeks. Sarah F asked, when Jake was only a few weeks old, how long I intended to nurse. The only answer was "through tomorrow." Now I'd have to say six months to a year. Nursing is good, but pumping is tedious, although I have developed a certain expertise in XML thanks to all my reading.

Sleeping: Nope, not yet. A good night he's only up twice a night. A bad night, three or four times, plus restlessness. Problem is, he's teething. It took a while for me to see the connection between the teething and the restless nights. Knowing the cause helps me keep my cool. Also, we can hit him with some Tylenol (only once a night, and not every night) or baby OraJel (ditto). And, like I said, I need to ask at daycare how they get him to take two or three naps, at least one of which is an hour long. The most recent sleep twist is waking up immediately after going to bed. Argh!

[My boys, Jack's Firehouse]With the teething, he's drooling and chewing on everything -- toys, five-point restraint systems (like the car seat or the high chair), Mommy, Daddy, the cat if she'd hold still. He doesn't seem to be in too much pain yet, just drooly-chewiness. We expect to see teeth around six months. He has his own baby toothbrush and toothpaste in anticipation. And a prescription for flouride drops from the doctor. The earliness of the drops was a surprise, as was learning that our water -- outside Philly -- isn't flouridated. Oh-kay.

May 15: 100 days

Really 102, but I'm late again. Jake has been in daycare for two weeks, and it's going well. I'm mostly keeping up with milk for him by pumping in an unused office -- only one walk-in so far, and that was just our office manager. The women at the daycare are lovely. They enjoy kids, especially babies. There are four women total, two working mornings and two evenings, so there is a midday overlap of four people. One will work the toddler room -- so the toddlers have a familiar face! This means three people on staff for most of the day for eight kids. Jake is, unfortunately, there the logest of any of them, because the place is closer to home, but out of the way for Jorj to take him, and also half an hour from my office (it would be less but the traffic is nucking futz, and I'm not driving the way that's really busy). Miss Dottie found a bottle that Jake will take easily; the Gerber bottles have a shorter nipple, which is easier for him. He's eating about 16 oz. a day at daycare -- four bottles.

Our day starts about 6 or 6:30 in the morning. Jake wakes up and, once he's really away and not just restless but sleepy, he smiles so broadly and coos, as if to say "Good morning Mommy! It's another great day and I love you so much!" And this is all for me, because Jorj is sleeping in Jake's room, and getting up with him for the first half of the night. The second half of the night he sleeps in the co-sleeper in our room, or in our bed, or on me. He's waking up three times a night -- better than the four or five times at the beginning of this cold, not as good as the twice during the first two nights of day care.

Ah yes, his first cold, most likely from day care. He has a stuffy nose and a bit of a cough, but no fever. In fact, we all do now. I caught it first; Jorj fought it off valiantly for a week, but has succumbed. It's nothing debilitating, but it's annoying. The poor kid couldn't breathe through his nose the first few days, and we couldn't understand why he wouldn't eat! He'd scream (in frustration) and try to suck, then pull off, and try again, repeat, repeat. He didn't burp (the usualy cause of off and on behavior). Poor kid was saying, "mom! Payattention! I can't breathe!" Mom and Dad now have adequate skill with the snot sucker, turkey baster, bulb syringe. Eventually, we get the nose clearer.

Yes, so, after awakening from a night of snuffling and shnurfling, the Shnurfle eats his first breakfast with me. He is a morning person! Once he has a bit of milk in his tummy, he'll pop off and smile at me. Then pop on again, lunging for the milk like, well, the cat going for her breakfast. Then pop off and smile and lunge and smile and lunge ... until I move him to the other side for 60 seconds of eating, followed by more smiling and lunging. Then it's time to visit Daddy-O and get dressed.

He goes to daycare, where someone will rock him while I drop off his resupplies (a spare outfit or blanket, clean sheet for the crib, more bibs). Hunter, who is about five months now, is usually there too, and he gives a great big smile when I say hello. Sometimes Suzie is there, but not often. She's older, and much to sophisticated for Jake still. Then I'm off to work thrugh the traffic, pumping three times a day for milk for the next day. I read technical manuals while I pump; it's really quite fun.

In the evening he's one of the last babies there. He's eating, or being rocked, or lying on the play mat banging his fists at the gym, or in the swing napping. (He likes the switng at daycare, so I bought him one yesterday. He's unimpressed. I should have determined the swings they have there, and bought that exact model.) I check his "chart" for the day, but usually Dottie will tell me what happened -- number of bottles, number of poops, does he need anything. I put the milk in the freezer and grab him. On the ride back I have to tell him how close we are to home or to the light changing to green, because he fusses at every red light, and doesn't really sleep.

He eats when we get in the door (much to Jorj's annoyance, because I don't answer the phone -- not making the baby scream for a phone call). There's enough time to make and eat dinner when he's finished. He'll sit in the high chair and watch us eat. Then cuddling/holding (he's fussing a bit now) until the last meal of the night (and optional bath) and he's asleep by 8:30 and in bed by 9. I'll read while he's eating, if there's enough light. The evening feedings are the quietest. He's tired, and will fall asleep soon.

I have no guilt about working. Working gives me a sense of self and makes me happy. On the breastfeeding board I frequent, many women (it seems like most of them, but it might be just the most active) identify themselves only as XX's mom (or XY's mom), sometimes as "loving wife to ... loving mother to ...," and usually with the number of months (or years) feeding. My sig is "Programmer, amateur baker, weekend cyclist, mathematician and, oh yes, new mother." Because, yes, the mother thing is still a shock to remember, but also because I don't want to be just "Jake's Mom." I am what I do, what I create. Jake's a big project, the most important project I've had, but I need short term goals, easily acheivable goals, tangible goals. I need to be separate from him. I'm happiest, and can give him the best of me.

I dislike that he's at daycare for 10 hours a day. I wish it were closer to my office so I could perhaps even see him at lunch, or closer to home so that Jorj could drop him off in the mornings. I don't worry about his care; Miss Monica, Miss Ann, and Miss Dottie are wonderful. Miss Joy has been sick this week, no status on her wonderfulness yet.

He's becoming more and more interactive, holding toys, sitting in his bouncing chair or high chair or lying on his play mat for longer and longer periods of time.

April 18: I really should stop reading those newborn news stories

During pregnancy and as a new mom, I obsessively read every story about "X after birth correlates to higher/lower chances of Y." Now it's post-birth weight gain and later obesity.

April 15: Out and dinner made

Getting out also makes a good day. Jake seems very interested in whatever is going on (or he naps in the car/carrier/stroller), and often I get to talk to a real live adult. This week we've gone to the grocery store (hey, he's only ten weeks old, what does he know?), Omi's, Lela and Will's (and Maggie and Henry were also there), and to Burholme Park and the Ryerss Museum. Today was a two-fer: the museum/park and I cooked dinner.

Boy, am I exhausted.

At this very moment I am actually typing with two hands (I'd almost forgotten how), listening to static from a hand-held ham receiver. Yep, Jorj "built" a baby monitor from a Radio Shack transmitter and an amateur radio receiver. The static is so pronounced I occassionally check from the bottom of the stairs, to be sure there are no sounds of doom and distress. Jorj is buying wipes and diapers before Target closes.

Granpa would take me to the museum (and pet cemetary), walking past Jeanes Hospital, after we'd visited the goldfish "pond" (koi) in front of the neighborhood funeral home. (There's a detail one of my writer friends should put into a short story.) The Museum was bequeathed to the City by the last descendent of a Victorian family; he gave the city the estate, house, and generations worth of tchotchkes for a museum, library, and park. Visiting the Museum is like touring a super-cool flea market that isn't selling anything. Granpa took me almost every visit when I was in single digits.

The Museum was not at all as I remembered it, although the important objects -- the pet cemetary, the suit of armor, the eight-armed Buddha statue -- are still displayed. I know the armor was at the bottom of a staircase, and the Buddha was on a landing at the turn. The parlor and dining room have been restored to the typical style of the Victorian period; I don't remember that. The display cases of Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Native American and Colonial items seemed larger and more numerous. There were many items that seemed new, but it's hard to compete with an eight-armed Buddha for the attentions of a six year old. The moccasins struck a faint chord in my memory, as did a painting of two of the dogs buried -- with headstones -- in the side yard.

This is where my desire for lots of cool, old and "exotic" stuff came from. Who wouldn't want an eight-armed Buddha statue?

Jake loved it; he fell asleep.

Wednesday we visited Lela and Will, whom we know from meeting. Lela, Rob and Will live almost around the corner in a twin in the Northeast. Walking into their house felt very much like walking in to Granma and Granpa's house. (God, do I miss them. They would have been 100 this year.) Will is a year old and was fascinated by Jake. He wanted to explore the baby, touch him, poke him, like any good one-year-old. To distract him, I showed him how his nose beeps. (Amazingly enough, every child I meet has a nose that makes noise. Jake's nose goes "boop.") He thought this was great. Lela's friend Maggie joined, us, with her son Henry who is two weeks younger than Jake. We talked about breastfeeding -- Maggie had an abcess -- sleeping, returning to work. It was lovely.

People have asked about pacifiers. In the begining, having read Dr. Sears, we were very anti-pacifier. With the breastfeeding problems and the general evening fusses (very mild really), we started trying pacifiers. No go. He has taken the pacifier once, two weeks ago, and never again. This is very frustrating, because I'd like to have another tool to calm him when he's fussing. He used to suck Jorj's or my thumb, especially in the car or the carrier, but lately hasn't wanted that either. But he's laughing more and more each day. He also plays more with his toys; he loves the music mobiles from MJD, Lorrie and Iris. He plays in the gym (pictured below) at least once each day. And now he really like the bouncy seat with music, lights and toy thingie.

Sleeping is pretty eh. He sleeps at night, but sometimes gets up every hour and a half. That's just too much for me. Last night Jorj took him downstairs and let me sleep a couple extra hours. I'd been in bed for less than an hour when Jake woke again -- just over an hour after he'd fallen asleep. We're working on a routine so I'm ready to return to work. I console myself knowing the vast majority of babies sleep through by six months.

April 10: Not very nifty at 3 a.m.

Jakob under his play gymAs requested, more pictures of the little guy, from newest to oldest. This one is at nine weeks, sleeping under his new gym. I'd hoped the gym would entertain him for 15 or 20 minutes, if not hours. However, the best I've gotten is 10 minutes, and that's with a music box running. The stir crazy stage is starting; we're going to explore every museum and park in the suburbs, starting with Briar Bush Nature Center.

At two months, he's 12 pounds 7 1/2 ounces and 24 inches long. He had his first immunizations. No fever the day after, but he did feel pretty punked, and slept often but for short stretches.

Below he is hanging with his new friend Jemima (she's British). Jemima has a twin Imogen, and an older sister Natalie. We went to visit Vanessa, Jemima and Imogen mid-March, to keep all of us from going stir crazy. Jake must have liked the new surroundings; his fussy periods were few and far between. I also got to hold Jemima when she fussed. She was so tiny! Smaller than Jake at birth!

In the bottom picture where he and Daddy-O are napping together, he's less than a week old. Look at that hair.

What's the title about? Sometimes, Jake wakes only twice in a night, mostly three times, but last Friday he woke at midnight and four times after that. After feeding him at five, I gave him to Jorj (who slept in his room and had an undisturbed sleep). It was a bad, bad night.

March 14: A good day

A good day is when I can cook dinner. Cooking is enjoyable, and I'm trying new recipes, so the time off hasn't been wasted. But that's all I do: feed Jake, change Jake, run a load of laundry, empty or load dishwasher. Defectoboob needs pumping, but pumping while holding an infant is impossible. Once a day if I'm lucky, making the bottle training defficult: no milk for the bottle.

March 10: Sharp

Just threw out the sharps container, an empty laundry detergent bottle that held used syringes and lancets. In my defense, the bottle is in the dining room, still a scene of major disaster, and it's taken us this long to clean any of it. Throwing the bottle away gave me the strangest sense of bittersweet finality. For two and a half months, diabetes controlled what I ate, when I ate, my activity level, and, in the end, my work schedule when the doctor started monitoring the placental health twice weekly. For two months, I overcame two of the biggest challenges for my health: what I eat and the needle phobia. The pregnancy and the diabetes were inseperable in my mind. Now the diabetes is over, as is the pregnancy, as is my pre-Jakob life. It's not bad, just different.

Jake is not on a schedule of any sort yet (eating or sleeping), and James put it best: "He'll get into a schedule soon. Remember, he's still writing his boot rom."

March 8: A few words about breastfeeding

We have hit workable. I'm still sore, but the lactation-consultant-recommended Soothies (glycerin circles for the nipple) help a lot. We haven't supplemented; in fact, there are three bottles with 12 oz total waiting for Jakob's evening feeding with his Dad. Freezing is looking necessary. One side still has supply issues. Well, both do. I'm calling them "Ginormoboob" and "Defectoboob," and I think that explains the problems, doesn't it?

Breastfeeding has only been possible because I have such a wonderful husband and amazing friends. Jorj is always there to take Jakob when I've reached the end of my rope, when I just couldn't face another two-hour nursing session. He brings me water. When we shopped for anything to make nursing easier he would say, sure, buy it, better to have it and not use it than not have it and want it (he is now our primary income until May, so I do feel he has a say in how I spend his money). He'll keep Jakob calm for up to an hour for my breasts to recover from the last nursing session. He let me sleep until 9 a.m. many mornings (that had to stop). He fought and won the bottle battle; bottle nipples deliver milk much faster than breasts, and Jakob chokes himself or leaks milk all over Jorj.

And my friends! They've all shared their horror stories -- 3 a.m. hysterics, cracked nipples, unsupportive employers. They told me it gets better. They told me what worked for them. They called when I left crazed, unfinished web updates. Everyone raise a glass (of milk) to Jo-Ann, Elise, Marsha, Ann P, Cecily, Chris and all my other mom friends.

To more important matters: 9 pounds 3 ounces. He's holding his head up for longer and longer periods, 15 to 30 seconds at a time, then -- BONK! -- into Mommy's collarbone or Daddy's ear. He will turn towards Jorj when Jorj talks. He loves the mirror tied to the side of the changing table. He is really starting to grab onto things. He won't grip anything held out to him (grab those toys kid!), but he will yank on my hair and pull Jorj's thumb into his mouth.

February 28: Status: middling

Daytime is great. I have energy, I've just woken up from sleeping/napping (two or three two or three hour stints), Jakob is eating only every three hours. Evenings are hard; newborns like to eat a lot from 6 to 10 p.m. Jorj and I are trying to have dinner. I realize what I haven't done that day. And I think the evenings are just more prone to the "blues." This is not, in case you wondered, post-partum depression. Much too mild.

We are working on the breast feeding still. I'm pumping and drinking Mother's Milk tea to increase supply. When things are particularly sore and painful, I'll pump and Jorj will bottle-feed Jakob. Yeah, the really gung-ho breastfeeding advocates say "No Bottle Before Six Weeks," but they didn't have cracked nipples, 'kay? And if I can't produce, like tonight, we're supplementing with formula, because it would be cruel to Jakob and me for him to try to nurse and not get any milk. Hunger crying while he's desperately sucking rends my heart and I would do almost anything to make it better. He's just sucked down two ounces in ten minutes -- more than I have "on tap" right now. The previous breastfeeding post is unfinished because I went to bed after typing the second sentence. You didn't want to read the litany of complaints anyhow.

Last night was the first tub bath. Until his umbilical cord stump dropped off, he had only sponge baths. Jorj took many low-light pictures, one of which will find its way here, promise! The tub bath was no better, no worse than the sponge baths. If he's not hungry, baths are OK. If he's hungry, baths (and changing) are awful, awful, awful. He wasn't hungry, so he just looked around with his "what's this now?" expression.

Goals for this week (in addition to napping and taking care of Jake and self): call day care centers, write thank you notes.

At his last weight check, he was 7 pounds 14 ounces. At his two-week checkup, he'd regained only two ounces, and was still four ounces short of his birthweight. Personally, I think the measurement was wrong. The weight sent me into a total panic, despite the large numbers of wet and poopy diapers he produces each day.

Februrary 20: One step forward, a giant leap back

Let me whine about the breastfeeding for a bit.

I didn't expect it to be easy, but Lord, I didn't expect it to be this hard.

February 15: Home alone

Jorj is back to work and Jakob and I spent our first day home alone. After a mild anxiety attack when we awoke at 9 to find Jorj already gone for the day, Jakob and I made it through quite well. As usual, I had goals:

  1. Take care of baby
  2. Nap

I'm happy to report I accomplished both goals, feeding, changing and bathing the baby without any meltdowns. I also had an hour's nap at 3:30. Napping also makes me nervous; I feel like no one is watching the baby when I'm alone.

Additionally, I emptied and re-loaded the dishwasher, and washed a load of diapers and a load of our clothes. Mom stopped by for some Omi-time.

He is now trying to grab things.

February 12: Wet diapers

New parents are told by the hospital to count wet and dirty diapers produced daily as a way to ensure the baby is eating enough, especially breast-fed babies, whose mothers don't have little ounce indicators on their breasts. In the beginning, Jakob was producing dark urine, and the diapers were usually dry. Then the whole breastfeeding thing kicked into high gear, and now almost every wet diaper necessitates a change of clothing. Covers for the cloth diapers have been ordered and should be shipped soon. Jorj doesn't mind washing the clothes each day -- they just go in with the diapers -- and we are using all those great outfits everyone gave us. (Speaking of which: Jorj's guilty pleasure is Baby Gap, suprisingly from Robb and Pauline. It's a great, warm one-piece outfit.)

Jakob has a breast-feeding song, sung to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It":

If you're hungry and you know it, open wide!
If you're hungry and you know it, open wide!
If you're hungry and you know it, your mouth will surely show it!
If you're hungry and you know it, open wide!

If you're hungry and you know it, suck the breast!
If you're hungry and you know it, suck the breast!
If you're hungry and you know it, your suck will surely show it!
If you're hungry and you know it, suck the breast!

If you're hungry and you know it, drain the breast!
If you're hungry and you know it, drain the breast!
If you're hungry and you know it, Mommy's milk will surely fill it!
If you're hungry and you know it, drain the breast!

Can't wait to see the referrers for that

February 10: First outing

Today the family went to the Allegheny Art in Jenkintown for our first family outing. As we drove the two miles, Jorj said, "We're a family. In the car."


Jakob slept.

Jorj is being wonderful, helping us all get some sleep. Jakob seems to like sleeping ON someone at night; Jorj thinks he's cold. With luck, this habit will wear off by 12 years. If Jakob won't fall asleep or wakes up in a couple hours, Jorj will walk with him until he falls asleep again, or they'll lay down on the bed or couch together. If I can't get him to sleep after nursing, we'll snuggle a bit with his head on my shoulder, then I'll lie down and sleep on my back with him on my chest.

He's been marathon feeding the past couple days, seemingly hungry immediately after finishing the last meal. Most frustrating is his falling asleep mid-meal, then waking up hungry again when we put him to bed or into his chair (the chair is a god-send, many thanks to MJD, LK and IK for it; there's my claim to perl fame -- my son is using MJD's baby chair).

February 6: Mr. Shnurfles

First, everything looks better in the mornings. I've had some sleep (5 to 6 hours in two periods). Last night we got through a bit better than the first night, learning which face means "Change me now!" He's doing his expected minimum eight feedings, milk has come in (boy, has it), he's making more and more dirty diapers. I've had a shower, a cup of keemun tea with minimal sugar (no added sugar for the last three months, therefore no black tea), breakfast with Jorj.

Anyhow, back to Mr. Shnurfles: he shnurfles. He makes snuffly-snorty sounds, and an eh-eh-eh-eh cry when he wants something. (When the parents just don't understand after a few minutes of eh-eh-eh-eh that the diaper is dirty, he shrieks.) He shnurfles in sleep (normal), when starting to eat, when picked up. He also squeaks, usually in conjunction with eh-eh-eh-eh.

My blood sugar should be returning to normal, now that the pancreas isn't fighting the hormones produced by the placenta. I'm still watching my carbs to make sure I eat some vegetables, get good nutrition into Mr. Shnurfles, and don't overtax my pancreas. I tested after drinking a glass of juice, and the reading was 122. Shnurfles blood sugar immediately after birth was fine, and went up after feeding a bit. You know what was best of all about being kept away from the schleck during the last trimester? I weigh 176 pounds -- lowest in years. I think that's a size smaller than pre-pregnancy (it's certainly 20 pounds lighter). We'll see how low I can go. A size 12 would be great again, but my main concern is to avoid adult-onset diabetes.

February 5, 6:48 p.m. The first normal night

It's our first normal night at home. It's our first normal night in months. It's our first non-pregnant, non-Tobi night in a year and a half. It feels almost the same as before Tobi was here, and then I turn my head and see ...

[Jakob sleeping in the chair
from Dominus and Lorrie]

And then comes the Mama-panic and a feeling of unreality.

I'm on enforced rest for two weeks -- no lifting of heavy objects (laundry, moving boxes), no driving, no unnecessary stairs, resting at least part of each day. Because I have stiches (do you really want to know?), standing for long periods is out of the question. For months, the to-do list has ruled my life, what needed to be done for the kitchen, for Christmas, around the house, before Jakob arrives. Writing thank-you notes kept my mind off the contractions; books on the to-read list went to the hospital.

Now, enforced nothing.

The normalcy of the night, both of us on computers, a Jorvod Enterprise episode on TV, laundry waiting to be folded makes the change all the more glaring. I have the final responsibility for another creature that is completely dependent on me, and will have this responsibility for another 20 years. I don't know what I'm doing and the chances of a mistake are very high. Is he eating enough? Enough wet diapers today? What are the signs of dehydration? Mama-panic.

By agreeing to host an exchange student, I completely changed our lives. This afternoon returning to the old life was not tempting at all. Tonight, on a normal night ...

February 5: We're home!

We've been home for a day, but I was answering e-mail yesterday. Let's see what I can get updated, shall we? Jorj is off to run errands. He's fantastic. All I have to do is take care of myself and feed Jakob. Jorj is bathing, changing, dressing, soothing and cooking. Jorj is not cleaning -- we're hiring someone.

Jorj has been taking pictures, but most don't have a permanent home. We'll see what we can do about that.

What he's learned

Every day he has longer periods of alertness when he wants to play and interact with someone.

Rolling over (four and a half months)

Babbling (four and a half months)

Grab toys in front of him (four and a half months)

Teething (four months)

Staring at hand (sixty-nine days)

Laughing at mobile (sixty-three days)

Giggling, at first on changing table (42 days)

Patting head and grabbing own hair (thirty-five days)

Grabbing and hanging on (thirty-one days)

Spit up! We thought we might get away without it. (29 days)

Drink from a bottle (26 days, to heck with Dr. Sears and wait until six weeks)

Suck thumb (if hand next to face, basically, only when positioned to nurse, 21 days)

Smiling progressing from stretching the mouth sideways in the hospital, to something that is recognizably a smile and recognizeably in reaction to something else (18 days)

Roll over to side without help (17 days)

Look at faces in the mirror, and follow them (nine days)

Hold up his head, and turn it. Sometimes he bonks a shoulder or collarbone (six days). This is very early -- head holding usually starts in the second month, but I started holding my head up at two weeks. He takes after me!

Suck on his fingers (four days)

Nursing (right from the start, but it's been tough getting Mom trained)


Pregnant and loving it. Sometimes. When I wasn't queasy, tired, large, in pain or diabetic. That might have been one day in September. No, really, a very easy pregnancy with only the gestational diabetes to complicate things.