Friday, September 30, 2005

It's as if he's found his purpose in life

So... guess what we did today??

Normally when we come home from a trip somewhere, Liam sleeps super well. I think he enjoys being back in familiar surroundings. I expected last night to be a snap. Not so much. We were up all night long. He woke up three or four times and finally I stopped putting him back to bed - just dragged a blanket into the nursery and sat in the rocking chair with him. He fell asleep on my shoulder but even then woke up in tears now and then. It was really quite puzzling - I made sure he was warm, checked his diaper, fed him etc. but nothing seemed to work.

This morning when the sun came up I realized he has a massive pimple on his chin, right in the crease. (The kind that, if you had it yourself, would be difficult to resist squeezing.) And it bugs him like heck when you touch it. Is the pressure of it causing him pain? Does he have the pimple because he's drooling because he's teething, and the teething is causing him pain? All I know is that I don't know.

This pimple means that he doesn't want to nurse right now. I guess the pressure while he's eating is bugging him. He'll eat a little, but not much. Well, tomorrow was supposed to be cereal day anyway. Given that I have been up once a night for the past couple of weeks because (I think) he's not getting enough to eat during the day - and now the fact that he's on a semi-nursing strike - today was obviously the day to introduce the cereal.

Well, if there was ever any worry that he wouldn't go for it, I was crazy. I'm telling you, he saw that spoon headed in the direction of his face and he knew exactly what to do with it. He would not keep his hands off of it - you are not getting that thing into my mouth fast enough! It was quite hilarious. He was more than ready for it.

And immediately after eating - he finished the whole bowl - he fell asleep. Sweet little baby is resting with a full tummy right now.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A very social summer

Sadly for Liam (and also for us, but especially for Liam), some of our nearest and dearest are going to be away for an extended period of time. (Hence, in part, the whole reason for the blog - easier to post photos/stories in one place than email them out to everyone). Our first goodbye came at the end of August when Darin and Jennifer left for a year in South Korea. The second goodbye came this week - my parents are headed to Maui for three months on Saturday. Luckily they will be home in time for Christmas, but will miss out on Thanksgiving and Halloween and everything in between.

We had a very social summer with our family, trying to squeeze in lots of visits during the time we did have together. Chad had a business trip that took him up my parents' way this week, so he dropped me and Liam off at my parents' house on his way through yesterday, and picked us up today. We had the chance to visit with my parents for a bit and witness the frenzied packing (locking up a house for that length of time does require some thought!) These are the last Liam-plus-G'ma-&-G'pa-Robinson photos for a while. Next time I have some to share I imagine everyone will look quite different. Liam will be a whole lot bigger - and my parents will have much better tans.

(If you are interested in what's going on in Maui, I've put a link to my parents' own blog on the right. There you go mom and dad - there's incentive for you to keep it up! And remember, we want lots of photos!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

LOST, again

Tonight's episode was kind of stinky bad, don't you think? I mean, last week was so great, the season finale was so great... this one was probably pretty good TV for a regular show, but mediocre compared to the series in general. I love the Desmond stuff but what is up with those Others? I thought they were going to be all high tech, but they look like cave people.

Feel free to discuss.

Oh yeah, and one more thing. Is the video link messing up anyone who's on dialup? Or was I the very last high speed convert out there?

(No photo today - can't upload to this computer. Pics will come tomorrow or Friday.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Some clarification

Today's post title is a quote - it's a Bender line from The Breakfast Club. I figured some of you would know that, but wanted to make it clear to everyone else that I do not think Liam is demented, nor sad.

This is tomorrow (Wednesday's) photo o' the day. Took it today at the pumpkin patch as we were picking out our mums (having already picked out our pumpkins last week at a patch that had bigger pumpkins - urn-sized pumpkins - maybe I'll post a photo of our front porch sometime). We are headed out of town for a couple of days, so I thought I would get it up early. Will be back in touch when we're back in town...

So it's sort of social. Demented and sad, but social.

Liam has done wonders for my social life, and I mean that in two ways. First of all, he is great company. He is a lot of fun to have along for the ride no matter what is going on. Doing the everyday, running errands - it's all a lot more fun when he's along to talk to and point things out to and teach. Over the last few days, in addition to our normal routine of walks and playtime and stories and so on, we have also gone to pick out pumpkins and mums to decorate our front porch, we've baked cookies together (though in hindsight, this seemed kind of cruel, as Liam was not allowed to lick the bowl - but I did let him chew on the spatula and play with the measuring cups), and this morning I took him running with me again (since I am no longer 'in training' and it no longer matters how fast I am or how far I go).

He's also made me a more social person among other grown ups. Being home with him for these last few months, I have met neighbours on our street that have lived here for years, but our paths just never crossed before. This includes another young mom who lives a few doors down. I have made mommy friends at Liam's playgroup, and I hope to keep in touch with them even as our kids grow older and graduate to different programs and we go back to work. Even at work - there are people who have worked in my building for years that I have never gotten to know before, but I have now, because of Liam - either because of support they've given me, or the fact that they are expecting also and we'll have kids who are the same age, and now we have started emailing and going for lunch and keeping in touch outside of the office. This comes as a particularly pleasant surprise for me because I work mostly with men and have had few opportunities to make girlfriends through work before. Of course, not all of our socializing is with new friends. Old friends are sometimes the very best friends, and I am finally able to do some mommy activities together with them - our Thursday morning swims with Anne and the girls being one of them.

I know a lot of people say that being home with a baby drives you crazy because you are so shut off from the outside world. In one sense, I understand that, because if I want to get out of the house and talk to someone I have to make the effort to do it - I no longer have five meetings scheduled every day that will bring me into contact with thirty different people, whether I want to talk to them or not. But overall, having Liam has made me more social than I have been for a long, long time. I don't find it easy to meet new people, but Liam really seems to have paved the way for me in starting some great new friendships. I get the best of both worlds. I can continue some of the goofy pursuits that I've always loved but never had anyone to share them with because none of my friends were into the same things, only now I have Liam along to keep me company (since he is, so far, too young to complain). And when I need some different companionship, I have a broader group to draw from. Again, had I known this would happen, we may have started having kids a lot sooner! (not really.)

Monday, September 26, 2005

I promise not to launch into Kumbaya next

NIP (which does not refer to that Seinfeld episode where Elaine sends out a Christmas card flashing all of her friends and family, but does involve flashing) is Nursing In Public, and all my life I swore I wouldn't do it. Yes, I was always of the I can't believe she's doing that for the world to see school of thought. Well, things change. Suddenly I am no longer in control of my own fate. And what I swore I would never do, here on the tiny, empty streets of Chatham, I decided to pull off in front of a few thousand of my closest friends in downtown Toronto. I sat down on a street curb in front of runners and spectators of all kinds, and fed Liam. We had taken the streetcar to a vantage point where we hoped to (and did) see Chad, and there was no way I was going to go back to the grocery store up the street and see if I could feed Liam in a dirty little bathroom stall there, and potentially miss the opportunity to cheer Chad on to boot. So a public display of boobie it was. And you know what? We lived. People didn't point and stare. In fact, they made it pretty obvious that they were trying really really hard to look in the other direction. And as we walked back to the streetcar stop, we sang a little tune.
Come gather round people wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth saving
Then you'd better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone
For the times, they are a changing

Bright lights, big city

So, it seems that I can post photos again. So here are a few more from our weekend. This was Liam's first trip to Toronto (and it's surprising how nice of a photo you can take through the windshield of your car:)

After visiting the runner's expo and picking up his race kit, Chad headed back to our room to rest, and Liam and I met up with Aunty Steph for an inaugural trip to Pottery Barn and some shopping. Thanks for the new togs, Aunty Steph!:

Race day. We did get Liam a crib to sleep in, but hotel cribs suck (as things turn out) and who wants to sleep in a crummy crib when you can worm your way into your parents' ultra-luxurious king size bed instead? Just don't tell the hotel that Liam peed on the comforter.

Is he dedicated or what? Here's Chad sucking back some ultra-disgusting energy gels prior to the race start. These things gross me right out, but Chad does what he should, no complaints.

The race start - that's Chad in the yellow.

Liam and I spend our morning riding the streetcar around, following Chad along the course. Liam is much more worldly than I was at this age...

I already posted a pic at the finish line - here we are back in the hotel room. Chad is wearing his race shirt and finisher's medal, and Liam is holding up the sign he helped me make:

So that's it... race season is officially over here. Well, unless we decide to do the Halloween run, the AIDS run, the Resolution Run...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I love this man

How many people do you know who can run a marathon? Probably not many. How many people do you know who can cross the finish line of said marathon looking like this, big smile plastered on his face during the photo op moment, but the smile is solely for my benefit because inside, he's miserable? This was a real weekend of ups and downs for us. Chad finished his marathon, but is really disappointed in his time (4:25). He worked so hard this summer. He was totally disciplined in sticking to his training routine, watching what he ate, and preparing in general - and then race day was an off day, and just like that, it's over. It's a huge amount of buildup for a few short hours (I'm sure they don't feel so short while you're experiencing them) that can go either way. He was very happy with some of the longest training runs he did, which makes it especially frustrating. We are so proud of him, but he is his own worst critic, and it hurts to see him disappointed. I hate that he is so hard on himself, but at the same time, I love that he has enough guts and enough ambition that he can be unsatisfied with his performance and ready to try again.

Blogger's photo feature seems to be down at the moment... I'll post more when I can.

Friday, September 23, 2005

This is probably the first in a long line of posts with this title: Like father, like son

I can't believe I'm posting this crummy photo, but it serves a purpose. Chad has this thing. I think he owes it to Ally McBeal and all that incessant talk about the wattle. You know, the little double chin that everyone has that gets progressively worse as you age. Ever since seeing that - I'm sure that was the trigger - Chad has had this thing about tilting his head up in photos so as to minimize the wattle. Of course, as soon as I try to find an example of a photo like this, I cannot for the life of me find a good one; but then again, I have 9000+ photos on my hard drive to scan through, and there is only so much time in the day, so this one will have to suffice to prove my point. (This is us heading out the door to the hospital to have Liam. That's me in all my no-makeup, hair-undone, I've-been-in-labour-for-twelve-hours-let's-get-this-over-with-shall-we? glory.)

Anyway, here is a photo from just the other day.

Yep - Liam has developed this thing, too. Maybe he took all those pork chop comments to heart?

Peace out - we are headed to The Big Smoke in the morning. Send Chad lots of anti-chafing vibes, will you? 26.2 miles can take a mighty toll on the nips.

Today's post is all about me

Not Liam, me. (And, well, a trait of mine that I hope he is not psycho enough to pick up, at least not to the same degree).

I have this thing about comparison shopping. I research every purchase to death and am just sick if I don't get something for the lowest possible price. Normally I'd say this is a good quality to possess, but when coupled with an inability to rein it in from time to time - it's enough to drive a person mad, especially during these last few days.

First there is the issue of the price of gas. I have to preface this by saying I have always been driven crazy by the price of gas, and it drives Chad crazy that I go crazy over it. We pass a Shell station around the corner from our house four times a day, on every trip to and from work. And every time we pass it, I am likely to comment on it: "Wow, I can't believe gas went up four tenths of a cent just this afternoon." <--- That's what a comment of mine would have been six months or a year ago. Today, it's more like, "Wow, I can't believe gas went up thirty seven cents just this afternoon." Anyway, I filled up the tank yesterday since we are heading out of town for the weekend, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out that hurricane + weekend = expensive gas. The price was and had been $103.7 for several days. I got sixteen cents worth of silver grade gas into the truck and then the pump quit. Seems they had run out of gas. Why?? Because the station up the street had risen their price to $1.80 on speculation that the hurricane was going to cause the price to skyrocket, and the owner thought he would lead the pack. So everyone panicked and went to fill up their cars at Shell, and their pumps ran dry. Is that crazy or what? Today the price at Shell is still $103.7 and they have gas in the tanks again. Crazy, I tell you! I have made multiple phone calls to Chad at work this week to ask what is going on with the price of gas (nice to know someone in that field :) ) and to see if he's heard what's going on around town (apparently the one station was not the only one to jack up the price prematurely).

Then, today, the issue was water. We buy bottled water. I think it's a ripoff, but I still drink it from time to time. Our tap water sucks by comparison. Anyway, when Home Depot opened here last week, the door crasher was a case of water for $2.97 (as opposed to the normal six bucks it would otherwise cost). Even I am not crazy enough to get in line behind thirty other people to make a purchase like that, so we bypassed the Home Depot water. But a couple of days later I was shopping at Walmart and noticed that they had price matched Home Depot. So I came home with four cases. We have the space to store it and I know we'll drink it, so why not? Then this morning, Liam and I went grocery shopping, and it seems that Zehrs lowered their price to match the other two (these stores are all part of the new shopping complex at the north end of town - i.e. direct competition for each other.) So I picked up another three cases. I cannot resist a good buy like that.

I had only unloaded some of the water and had left the truck hatch open when Chad came home from work for lunch, and he carried the last of the water inside, set it down on the floor, and proceeded to ask whether CNN was reporting a shift in the tracking of Hurricane Rita to make a direct hit on Chatham - was I stocking up on batteries and canned goods also?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Soon, there may no longer be Too Many Cooks

...because I am about to drop-kick Captain out the door. He is wearing on every last nerve of mine right now. He has been howling for his dinner since about noon today, even though he knows he doesn't get fed til 5 p.m. And, his howling woke Liam up from a nap. Liam's schedule was thrown off yesterday - he skipped his normal afternoon nap, then went to bed extremely early, or so I thought - turns out he just considered it an extra-late nap, and woke up around 7 p.m. wanting to play. Getting him to bed after that was next to impossible so today's mission was to get him back on track. Which Captain has now ruined. Arrrgh.

Does anybody want him? C'mon... look how nice...

The next Charles Barkley?...

Chad has this funny thing where he talks about Liam being some sort of sports superstar (tennis, preferably) and supporting us in our old age. When he talks about it, he makes sure to add that he is just kidding... but I think he adds that part because it's more PC to act like it doesn't matter to you who or what your kid turns out to be. Let's face it, Chad really would like Liam to be a sports star, and who can blame him? Who would be disappointed in their kid if they turned out like that?

Well, until we have some concrete proof - much more than Liam just showing a bit of interest in the kiddie-size basketball, football and soccer ball that Chad received for Father's Day - we will continue to pump funds into our RRSPs and plan to manage things ourselves. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst, right??


Oh. My. HECK!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The changing seasons

TV seasons, that is. It's September and the new fall lineup is more or less upon us. My one consolation for the fact that Chad was away for our anniversary last week was the fact that Thursday night TV was returning to its former glory. The new season of Survivor kicked off, and although I had planned to get Liam to bed and then watch Jiffy Pop and an all-new cast o' stars settle in for another season of reality schlock, I didn't watch it. I think I am finally off the Survivor bandwagon. I was on in the early days, then off, then got back on for a couple of seasons once the All Star version aired, and now I'm off again. It's not doing it for me. Which is just as well - there's another hour of my life back every week.

All was not lost that night, though, since I am newly addicted to The L Word, which just started season number two here (though they're probably on season number four in the US). This is my new Thursday night guilty pleasure and without Chad around to grumble about how I tend to watch The Worst Crap Ever, I really enjoyed myself.

Of course, tonight I will be through the stratosphere as the new season of Lost kicks off. For anyone who doesn't watch but is interested, I've heard that the first three or so episodes are intended to serve as a recap of the entire first season before really getting into the good stuff. My heart was literally racing during the season finale last spring, so you know I won't miss that!

Having watched bits and pieces of the new Martha show, I have to say I'm a little disappointed. While I enjoy her continual references to prison - she had Susan Lucci on last week, who was referring to the fact that her soap opera character has also spent time in prison, and Martha acted all aghast and said she wasn't allowed to consort with convicted felons, it violates a term of her parole - she's terrible at interviewing celebrity guests and I don't think the guests really take to her instructing them on how to repot an orchid or fold a t-shirt all that kindly.

Sorry - I didn't mean to get into a running commentary akin to the TV Guide. As for Liam, well, he will keep an eye on The Today Show with me while we cuddle in bed or get breakfast early in the morning. Aside from that, he is allowed to watch a Baby Einstein video from time to time, as he is doing right now. He watched the Baby Mozart video over and over, and was OK with that - and it's actually kind of nice having a video with no plot, because he can watch it here and there in ten minute increments - but we have since moved onto the Language Nursery video, which I don't get. It's a bunch of visuals (patterns, toys, etc.) with voices reciting nursery rhymes in all different languages as the audio feed. Isn't he supposed to get a handle on English before worrying about German??

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

There's a long list of reasons why we did it, but this one's near the top

Meet Lambie. This little plush rattle was a gift from Brenda and Bob, and it's a current favourite of Liam's. Whether in his high chair, jolly jumper, car seat or exersaucer, he is most often holding Lambie and chewing on his ear.

This is deja vu for me, because when I was a kid I had a stuffed rabbit, and I used to chew on its ears, too. I don't know when I got my rabbit, but I didn't give it up until I was considerably older than Liam - I can remember it, so I must have been at least 4 or 5 - and it's amazing and amusing and bewildering to see my son going through the exact same experience. (Although I do hope he gives it up long before I did.)

Anyway, last night Chad was into (what else) Monday Night Football, and looking for something to eat. With both our races being this week, we have had a moratorium on junk food in the house, which is kind of ridiculous because when we don't buy it we just wind up making it ourselves. So he started an assembly line of cinnamon toast. (Because, no, white bread slathered with butter and sugar CAN'T be bad for you.) Chad and I come from very different schools of thought with regards to cinnamon toast. We both start out with a slice of buttered toast, but Chad then applies a thick layer of brown sugar (which he referred to as 'whole wheat sugar' in a pathetic attempt to justify the fact that he's eating it during race week) and sprinkles the cinnamon on top, whereas where I come from, you mix the cinnamon into the white sugar, and apply a thin layer so that it dissolves into the butter, and you store a shaker full of this mix in the cupboard at all times so that you can have cinnamon toast whenever it strikes your fancy. So we got into a heated debate about the merits of both kinds of cinnamon toast, and whose recipe was better, and the advantages of one kind over the other. And I pointed out that one of the benefits of the Robinson way of doing things is that with a shaker full of mix in the cupboard, anyone can make some toast on a whim, even Liam (someday, people, someday). Because that's how we did it when I was a kid.

There's a long list of reasons why people have children, I think. Some just fall into it because it's the next step after getting married. Some people do it so they won't be lonely in their old age. I think all the reasons apply to all of us from time to time, but one of the reasons that Chad and I have been most conscious of in having Liam has been the opportunity to relive our childhoods. There are a lot of things that we haven't done in far too long, because we're supposedly too old to do them (or to want to do them) - but now that Liam is here, he gives us the perfect excuse to get back into them. We don't want to be the parents watching the kids from the sidelines - we want to be the ones (just one example here) bouncing on the trampoline with them, and showing them how much fun it can be. That's why I enjoy wandering the toy aisles at the store to see what's out there. That's why I buy the holiday issues of magazines now, and dogear the pages that have cute crafts or activities or cupcakes that look like spiders. There are a lot of fun things in life that we used to do and that I want to do again - and I am so excited to have Liam along for the ride. Yes, there is now a shaker full of cinnamon sugar in the cupboard. I'm sure I will need to replenish it many, many times before Liam even gets to it, but that's OK - I'm excited that this little slice of the past has made its way (back) into our home.

Monday, September 19, 2005

It all comes down to this: You suck

This is the message that I get, day after day after day. From just about everyone who has ever had kids. Thankfully, our parents/families have stayed out of it (at least thus far; perhaps it's a fear of us witholding visitation rights that have led them to bite their tongues!) But it seems that everyone else considers themselves to be The World Authority On Parenting, and Chad and I are sorely lacking the skills needed to ensure Liam makes it to age 18 in one piece.

When we were out to dinner on Friday night, Chad was telling me about a discussion he'd just had with an acquaintance about our similarly-aged children. The topic of discussion was infant sleeping patterns, which, let's be honest, is on our minds about 95% of the time these days. Chad and the acquaintance exchanged stories about strategies and bedtime routines and parenting philosophies. He informed me that the acquaintance believes that letting Liam cry it out is cruel, and that we put him to bed way too early.

This got me thinking about all of the sage advice I've received over the last few months. Back in the beginning, when Liam wanted to be held all the time, I had another friend tell me I was crazy for indulging him and that it's OK to just let him cry. In other words, I am way too soft on him. Now here's someone else telling us that we are far too strict. It seems that no matter what you do, someone out there is going to tell you that you're doing it all wrong.

The criticism is not just limited to sleep issues, of course. I'm also told that the way we feed Liam is all wrong. Breastfeeding is gross, or unneccessary, or too much work. He should have started solids months ago. By Thanksgiving, he should be eating a plate exactly like mine. (Of course, Liam doesn't help matters any with the withering glares I get when I eat anything within his sight.) Diapering? Again, a bad choice there - cloth is no good, and on those occasions that we do use disposables, we really ought to try Huggies, as they are far superior to Pampers. And if this sounds bad, just imagine some of the discussions that ensue when topics arise such as infant circumcision, stay at home moms versus work outside the home moms, public schools versus private schools... things will only get worse from here on out.

Basically what it boils down to is that we just can't win. No matter what we do, we'll be doing it wrong. Which could be a bit of a blow to the ego, but I just tell myself that these people are all incompetent and insane, which is probably true about 80% of the time anyway. I don't know why total strangers feel the need to try to push us around like this - I mean, does it really keep them up at night if Liam is fed six times a day instead of five? Why are they so interested? I find my own child fascinating, but I don't expect the rest of the world to.

I admit that there is a time and place for everything, including advice. I don't know if we would have read HSHHC without it being recommended by both Kelly and Derek. Now, we think it's one of the best things we've ever done. And I have been known (what new mother hasn't?) to call my mom and ask whether something Liam is doing is normal, or what she would do in a certain situation. And I am thankful for all the help that I have gotten.

Still, I will really try to keep my mouth shut as people we know go on to have more children in the future, at least unless I'm specifically asked about something. There's nothing like being on the receiving end of unwanted advice to make you want to run screaming whenever the topic arises. I promise not to shove my opinions down your throat. Really. Even if I am dead sure that you are messing up your kid in an irreparable way.

{Liam's new thing - sucking on his lip.}

Sunday, September 18, 2005

All our eggs are in one basket

Several hours ago, I was sitting down to the computer to post a message, and Chad was once again enjoying the September Sunday afternoon ritual of men everywhere: football on TV from morning til night. When suddenly the cable and internet both went out. Which is what happens when you sign up for high speed internet through your cable company. Chad immediately came bounding up the stairs to see what I'd done on the computer to break things, and I likewise accused him of creating some sort of TV short fuse that also konked out the computer. Normally we'd let the rest of the neighbourhood call the cable company to complain about the blackout, but today I bet we were among the first callers. It took a few hours but it seems that we're back up and running (and well rested, since all three of us took the opportunity for a nap.)

Nobody deserved the nap more than myself (if I do say so). This morning was my dreaded half marathon at Point Pelee. Although my summer training schedule started out strong, it deteriorated by August, and I was completing my long runs but skipping many of the shorter ones. When faced with the choice of either playing with Liam or going running, frankly, I'd usually rather play with Liam. Of course this probably did make my life more difficult today, but I finished in a respectable time of 2:05:something (I'm waiting for the official results to be posted - I didn't stop my own watch until 3 hours and 47 minutes had elapsed, and I am pretty sure it did not take me that long.) Thanks for the well wishes everyone - I am happy to report that I am still very much alive, although I am having some serious trouble walking right now. No kidding, every bit of me really hurts (which I think I owe to Dana, who ran me in and goaded me into a finishing kick that would never have happened without her there. On the upside, it quite possibly bought me a minute or two.)

So here I am, fresh as a daisy early this morning (do I look stressed out? - I had to wake Liam up extra early, feed him at home, feed him again in the car before running - lucky for me the race actually started a half hour late, because this all took much longer than I'd anticipated) - and then stinking more than I have probably ever stunk in my life, post-race. It turned out to be a warm day and the route was not nearly as shaded as I'd hoped. But it made it all worthwhile to see my little gaffer cheering me on at the finish line. During the last 3 miles of the race, which were particularly painful, I kept trying to tell myself that if I could survive 23 hours of labour and birthing a child without an epidural, then surely I could run for another half an hour. Unfortunately, you don't get something nearly as wonderful as a baby when you do something like this. All you get is a t-shirt.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

TGIFs happen for SAHMs, too

{So this is a shirt I just bought for Liam last week. Love it. Obviously it's a seasonal item, and since there are only about six weeks of the year during which he can wear it, I want him to wear it LOTS while he has the chance. Chad, on the other hand, thinks it should be packed away for another month. Just one more example of parenting style disparity. Ah yes, and please excuse the huge wet spot on the front of it. Liam spent the entire day trying to eat the ghost. I kid you not. My resolve is sooooo weakening - I am going to fold and feed him any day now. There is already a box of cereal on my counter, and a freshly washed baby-size spoon in the cutlery drawer.}

Friday was a great day. In the morning I whisked Liam down to the baby weigh-in clinic just before it closed up. Having hit the five month mark earlier in the week, I wanted to get a record of his weight. Sixteen pounds even. His growth (in terms of weight at least) has really slowed, which confuses me to no end. There are four other five-month-old babies who attend our playgroup, and he is easily the biggest among them, even though he was dead average in terms of birth weight.

Following the weigh-in, and following the panic attack I had about Liam's name (which drove me to look up some Social Security statistics about baby name popularity), we then went to the government office to apply for a social insurance number for him. We want to open an educational savings account and the SIN is the first step in that process. (So in a way, that alumni magazine served a purpose - a good reminder to get the application started.) The SIN is free. The cost to replace my birth certificate, which tore while we were completing the application, is $35.

Following that, we went out to buy socks. Liam may not be a big guy anymore in the grand scheme of things, but he still has bizarrely huge feet (or so we're told). And his baby socks are all far too small on him now. We picked up 5 pairs of new socks and just happened to see, while we were at the store, two other items of note. Number one - three different varieties of Baby's 1st Christmas pajamas. Trust me, as soon as I can decide which one I like the best, we will be back to make a purchase. Number two - yet another Little People 'zoo' set. How can there be so many variations on one toy? Good grief. I think I like this one best of all though. Add that to the Christmas list - maybe pick it up along with the pajamas.

Liam went down for two long, consolidated naps - and I put him down for both while he was still awake, and he didn't cry. I also put him to bed without a peep. Chad and I then went out for dinner while Grandma Cook babysat for us. Poor Grandma - she wants nothing more than to play with Liam while he's being social, but every time she's here (which is almost invariably early evening) he's either on his way to bed (and therefore crabby) or already in bed.

We have a fun week in store for us next week:
  • We have lunch planned with Jessica. Actually, I have lunch planned with Jessica - Liam has lunch planned with Grandma Cook. I would love to take him with me, but I know I won't be able to eat in peace, and I want to use the time to catch up with my friend rather than preventing him from wrecking the place. And this will allow Grandma some daytime interaction with him for once!
  • I believe that this week's playgroup is our baby massage session, which sounds like fun. I go for massages religiously and would love to convince Liam to like them, too. I could breathe in that Johnson's Baby Lotion scent all day long.
  • We're going swimming with Anne and her two youngest girls - I'm hoping to make that one of our fall/winter activities once the weather isn't so good for walks anymore.
  • And, our local Home Depot just opened. Field trip!! Honestly, I do want to check the place out, and I need a couple of home improvement-type items too, so what better place to look?

Friday, September 16, 2005


Today I received my Queen's Alumni magazine in the mail. I don't usually read much of it, but I always flip to the section on graduates from 1990-1999 and religiously read announcements regarding Marriages, Births, Deaths, Notes, etc. As the years go by, more and more names I know show up under the different headings. A few years ago it was Marriages. Today, it's more likely to be Births.

So there I am, scanning the Births section, and within the space of two columns in the magazine - about ten announcements - I see that there is mention made of three brand new Baby Liams. I can hardly believe my eyes. (And one of them was born to one of the guys I lived next door to in first year.) This sent me into a bit of panic mode. I wrote earlier about how we came to choose Liam as a name - how we first discussed it in 1996, and then obviously had many years to mull it over, and still love it today. How we like it because it suits a redhead, it's easy to spell, it sounds good with Cook, it's an appropriate ethnicity, it's popular but not too popular... or so I thought.

This sent me straight to the computer to pull up some statistics (again, this high speed has been a lifesaver!) And this is what I found. In the US, Liam was the112th most popular name for boys in 2004. That's according to the Social Security office. I couldn't find a similar government statistic for Canada, but according to Parents Magazine, Liam ranked #98 in Canada for 2004. Now, if you go back to 1996, when the name was first discussed between Chad and me, Liam ranked #184 in the US. So its popularity is growing. And to be fair, I should mention that one of the Liams listed in my alumni magazine lives in Australia. According to the Australian social security office, Liam is the 15th most popular name there.

This all gives me some comfort. It seems that, despite my alumni magazine leading me to believe otherwise, Liam has not suddenly catapulted to the Top 10 list of most popular baby names. At least not in Canada. And hopefully not for 2005 (though only time will tell - I will be watching when the report is issued next year). We still have a girl's name and one more boy's name in reserve for a future child that we might have. The popularity of those names is not Top 10 - in fact, the popularity of both those names is less than the popularity of Liam. Hopefully, things will remain that way for at least a few years, until we have the chance to use one of them.

{I was just given this photo from a coworker who organized the car seat clinic last week. No, this is not Liam under arrest!}

Scene from a nursery doorway - part 2

This is what Naked Playtime looks like. Yesterday was a long day for me, because Chad wasn't home for lunch and in fact wasn't home til 11:30 p.m. I don't know how single mothers do it - it's just really tiring always trying to play with/entertain/take care of a wee one. By the time Liam was in bed, I was ready for a drink. Anyway, the Naked Playtime routine coincides with getting ready for Liam's bath. Chad and I often tag team in this department, but as I was on my own last night, I stripped Liam down and left him to play while I started the bathwater. He would roll around and play a bit, and then turn to keep tabs on me (the bathroom door is directly opposite his bedroom door, i.e. he can see in). Just to make sure I was still there and the bath preparations were still progressing. I wonder whether we won't be into the separation anxiety phase soon - he is getting more and more interested in keeping tabs on who's around these days.

Yesterday was also the first time he was ever mistaken for a girl when we were out in public. Everyone has always known that he's a boy. I admit that I usually don't know with babies, but Liam was born with sideburns, so it's made the ID pretty easy. True, those are mostly gone now, and I did have him dressed in a gender neutral outfit - the one that came addressed to "The New Baby" from the people across the street who didn't know us. So I can understand it. It was just funny to think it had never happened before.

Finally, I have hopefully fixed the link to yesterday's photo. I tried linking to another web site, but I understand a lot of you couldn't see it. So I saved the photo to my computer and then uploaded it again - is it there for you now? I was wondering if I could fool anyone. No, it is not my picture. Are you kidding me? With all the dirty dishes in my sink right now, there is no room for Liam.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

It's way too soon to be doing this. No, really, it's way too soon to be doing this.

This week I started doing what I have been putting off for so long: calling around to some local daycare providers to start the process of finding Liam's New Mom. (Sniff.) This daycare thing can be a hot topic, depending on where you live and whom you trust. I am told that if we lived in the GTA, then we should have started making these calls the day the stick turned blue.

Well, here in Chatham, things are different. I started calling places today. I have a handful of names and numbers that People We Know, Like and Trust have given us - their own daycare places, friends', etc. I only got through a couple of calls. I haven't decided yet exactly when I plan to return to work, but when I told these women that it would be sometime in the vicinity of next spring, they basically told me to give them a break and not call back until next year.

I'm a little surprised. I know that anything can happen, and they can have spots open up on account of kids quitting, and conversely have spots that are open today be taken (because I don't really expect them to hold a slot for me for the next six months). But the way people talk - normal, average, everyday people who have kids themselves - people who supposedly speak from experience - they all try to lead me to believe that because I have not lined daycare up yet, my child will be sitting home next April with the cat as his babysitter.

To make matters a little more complicated, I do not currently have a boss. My old boss moved into a new role a couple of months ago, and they haven't replaced her yet. I have a proposition for when I would like to go back to work: I want to go back a little bit early, but only for three days a week. I see this as being the perfect scenario that will let both Liam and me ease into a new routine rather than going cold turkey on it. But, I have to run this by The Powers That Be, and I can see them saying no. Business continuity is a big catchphrase these days. It may be easier for the department as a whole to give me an ultimatum and say it's all or nothing. In which case, I may well not go back to work until the full year is over. Without having a boss around to yay or nay my proposition, I can't give these daycare providers an exact date for when their services will be required.

So I think I will continue to amass names and numbers, for the time being, but stop making calls. Frankly, my ego can't deal with the heckling. I just hope I'm not left hearing people saying I told you so as Captain attempts to change Liam's diaper and get him out the door to playgroup on time.

Proof that I really do miss my job

Of course I must... I mean, why else would I be finding things to graph in my spare time at home? Yes, I have been keeping track of Liam's nighttime crying spurts. You'll notice that they are pretty consistent, that one terrible night aside. But I am thrilled to report that he didn't cry last night. Not when we put him down in his crib, and not even half an hour later (I don't understand why he sometimes does that: if there's nothing to cry about immediately, why does he decide, after all that time has passed, that it's time to start??) I'm sure this is not the end of the CIO journey for us, but it's progress. And it deserves some celebration.

Something else that deserves celebration is our 4th wedding anniversary, which happens to be today. Happy Anniversary, Chad! Not sure why I'm saying that here as Chad has only read this blog maybe twice in the six or seven months that it's been going. But that makes this a safe place to discuss anniversary gifts. For some ridiculous reason, Chad and I started following those lists of contemporary and traditional anniversary gifts when we first got married, and we're too far into it now to stop, although every year it gets harder and more annoying that we ever started. Year #4 is represented by either Appliances (for the contemporary list) or Fruits & Flowers (for the traditional one.) While I would love to get Chad a new washer and dryer (yes, those big cobalt blue front-loading models that he drools over at Sears each time we're there), that's simply not in the budget this year. And, our old machines are still running. Might as well wait for them to quit before buying new ones. So after weeks and weeks of agonizing over what to get him - we frankly don't need a new toaster oven or griddle, not that Chad even cooks all that often; he wouldn't appreciate flowers the same way I would, and I decided that a year's supply of Juicy Fruit gum was just too silly), I finally got him a gift set at the fragrance counter of my local handy department store. Which I've always seen as the gift to get when you can't think of a gift to get. Oh well! I figure there has to be something floral in there somewhere, even if it is a men's scent. He used to wear scent all the time and I loved it. So I'm trying to start that up again (though, yes, I realize there's a Clean Air policy at work where they encourage people not to overdose on the fragrance, lest the person the next cubicle over develop an allergy to them and commence workers comp proceedings).

Anyway, Chad is celebrating our anniversary tonight on a booze cruise with a project group he's been working with for the past year and a half - today is the big project wrap-up celebration. He expects to be home at 11:30 p.m. tonight. I guess that leaves Liam and I to fend for ourselves today. Happy anniversary, eh! We'll find something fun to do tomorrow to make up for it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

It's official...

...Liam exists! (You mean he's really not just a figment of my imagination??) Five months and one day later, we have proof of it (meaning, his birth certificate, which was pictured here until it was correctly pointed out to me that I probably didn't want to make that public). Funny that you send away for something like this as soon as you're released from the hospital in April, and the "issued on" date is September 11, five months later. So what have they been doing with our application for all this time??

In other news, we are now dealing once again with the issue of night waking. Only now it's because Liam is flipping himself onto his stomach in his sleep, and then wakes up ticked off that he's in that position. We have to go give him a flip to put him back to sleep. Hopefully the fact that he rolled himself from front to back the other day will continue and he will soon be able to accomplish this on his own.

And in news that shouldn't be related to Liam, but actually is... we are getting new neighbours. Our wonderful elderly neighbour died last March and the property has been vacant for the past six months. Next week the new owners get posession of the house. Should be a good thing, right? Well, we understand that they plan to do some work on the house... which is a good thing... there are some beautiful old homes in this neighbourhood and I love to see them get restored. Unfortunately, today a work van pulled into the driveway - not for long, mind you, but they were there. Liam had just gone down for his nap and woke up when he heard all the banging around. His bedroom (with two windows) is right next to the neighbours' driveway and property. I remember how noisy it got around here as we were fixing up our place - this will not be good for his sleeping patterns! Luckily though, with colder weather coming up, the windows won't be open for more than a few more weeks. (Not that they were open today either though...)

Finally, it officially became more than okay to start decorating for Halloween yesterday. I was out at Winners and the Christmas stock has already arrived. Knick knacks, dishes, racks and racks of ornaments and cards and books and CDs. The Halloween stuff is all in clearance bins at the front of the store (though not on for clearance prices... yet.) Why is it that retailers wish their lives away so much??

Feeling with it

We finally got a high speed internet connection installed today. This will hopefully cut the amount of time I spend online in half. Unfortunately it also means that our email address has changed, and it's a huge pain changing over all of our contacts, accounts etc. to a new email address.

I sent an email out with our new addresses, but I'm sure that (a) I forgot some people and (b) I don't even know that the email was sent out correctly. So if you haven't heard from me, can you drop me a line at my 'junk' email address: - then I can give you our home address. I don't want to post it here because of the pile o' spam that would likely generate.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Oh yeah...

...and you rolled over from your tummy to your back for the first time at playgroup today, too. Way to go, dude!

5 months

Liam, at five months old you are exuding so much roly-poly babyness that I can hardly stand it. You are just so stinking cute! You still have big chewy cheeks and huge brown eyes, and your hair is really starting to fill in, auburn with a bit of curl. More than that, though, you are starting to act like such a Gerber baby. You sing and coo, you roll around on the floor sucking on your toes, you squeal with delight when we airplane you through the air. These are the crowning achievements of babydom as far as I’m concerned.

You are getting much more physical. We put you in the jolly jumper for the first time this month, and you bounce and pirouette in that thing like a ballerina. They got it right when they called it jolly – that’s exactly how you look when you’re in it. As for the sucking on your toes – yes, you can contort that far! – maybe all the yoga you did with me while in utero helps?? If I hold you on my lap, you lunge at and grab for everything. At no time is this worse than during mealtimes. I said I wanted to breastfeed you exclusively until six months, but for weeks you have been making it very clear that you want something solid to eat and you want it NOW. I don’t know how much longer I can hold out. The other pitfall during mealtimes is that Captain is usually up on the counter, and you laugh at him like crazy and grab for him, too. A couple of times he’s let you touch him, but mostly he skitters away. If we had known how effective a baby could be at keeping the cat off the counter, we might have had you a long time ago!

All of your tricks from a month ago – the rolling over, the bubble blowing – are nowhere to be seen. It’s as if you’ve proven to yourself that you can do those things, and now you have loftier goals in mind. The big thing we’re working on these days is sitting up. You love to practise it. You start out in a frog pose, leaning on your hands, and can eventually work up to an unsupported sit for at least a few seconds. What usually ruins it is that you swipe at something and knock yourself off balance. I know it will make a world of difference when you can finally sit on your own, and see the world vertically, as we see it, rather than from flat on your back.

We started letting you cry it out this month. My poor sweet boy, I hope you will someday forgive me (assuming that I don’t lose my sanity along the way). You sure don’t like it but rest assured, neither do we. At best, you cried for six minutes before falling asleep. At worst, 77 minutes (please don’t make me revise this next month with a new record.) One night after a 15- or 20-minute cry, Chad asked how long it had been (because yes, I watch the clock and time it each night, down to the minute.) And when I said it had only been 20 or so minutes, he said he could not for the life of him believe that we had once survived an entire 77 minutes because the 20-or-so minutes felt like a lifetime. I knew exactly how he felt. I don’t know of any way other than this to teach you to fall asleep on your own, and I hope the lesson is learned quickly and we can move on to better things.

I’m still trying to figure your personality out. Are you brave or cautious? Easy going or temperamental? Type A or Type B? I keep watching you to try to pick up clues, but I don’t know yet. I do still think you’re shy. You will sing and play with abandon when it’s just the three of us, but if someone unfamiliar enters the room, even if it’s just your grandparents, that all comes to a halt and you keep a suspicious eye on them instead. One place you are NOT shy is at playgroup. We attend the 0-12 months session at the OEYC religiously on Tuesday afternoons – you get a kick out of the other babies there, especially Autumn, who is two months older than you. Several times you have practically been nodding off as we arrive (since playgroup coincides with naptime), but the minute you see her, you perk up and are spellbound by her for the entire hour and a half.

Sometimes you love repetition and can’t get enough of the same things over and over. I have this goofy “Baby Liam” song I made up and sang to you all the time when you fussed as a newborn, and it stopped you from crying then. When I sing it today, you stop what you’re doing and crack a huge grin – you still love it. But sometimes you look at me like, If I have to play with that toy or listen to that story one more time, I’ll go mad – don’t you have anything better to offer? There is a diaper ad in the magazines right now that says something like “8 Pat the Bunnys, 15 games of peekaboo, 2 sippy cups, blah blah blah and it’s only 8 a.m.” I swear the people at that ad agency bugged our house – that is exactly how we live. You are starting to consolidate your naps so that they are farther apart, and keeping you entertained for these longer periods is proving to be a challenge!

At five months old, you are 27 inches long and weigh xx pounds {to be determined}. The next month is going to be full of big changes: starting solids, finally sitting on your own and gaining some major independence there, and I’m willing to bet that there’s a tooth on the horizon. We’re also coming up on my favourite time of year. I can't wait to share it with you.

Monday, September 12, 2005

He spends all this time looking in the mirror... so how come he doesn't have to worry about vanity???

Today I had to clean out the shower drain, something that is hardly noteworthy in the grand scheme of things except that when you are a new mother, it seems everything has some sort of hidden meaning, this being no exception. My point here is that I can’t remember the last time I did this. Normally it’s something I do whenever the water starts to hit my ankles when I’m showering – less preventive maintenance than emergency procedure – but something that would usually occur, I don’t know, monthly, maybe?? But as I was pulling out ages-old stringy hair this morning, it occurred to me that I really hadn’t done it in months and months and months. Yes, I am losing my bumper crop of super-lustrous pregnancy-induced miracle hair. It’s all downhill from here.

This got me to thinking about how having Liam has also changed me in some ways that I actually have control over. As for my hair and other body parts that will never be the same after having a baby, well, there’s not much I can do about that. But almost unconsciously, since Liam has been here, I have made so much more effort (in the areas I have control of) where appearance is concerned. Before having him, I could roll out of bed, not brush my hair or put on any makeup, and wearing yesterday’s clothes, head out to the mall or the grocery store where I was guaranteed to run into at least a handful of people I know. And really not care. These days, I put on makeup every day. Even just to wear around the house. I’m a little less fastidious with my hair, but still make more effort than I used to. It doesn’t matter whether it’s playgroup day, or grocery day, or absolutely-nothing-planned-outside-these-4-walls-day… I still try to do it. (Clothes are a little trickier. Especially after being the host for my little alien for nine months, I am of course dying to wear great, trendy stuff - maternity clothes have come a long way in terms of being stylish, but they still have a long way to go. Considering how much of my day I spend covered in spit up and crawling around on the floor, a lot of it is just out of the question. I'd love a velvet jacket this fall, but are you kidding me?)

I think there are two reasons why this all interests me so much more now. Number one, the less you have to work with, the more effort it takes. When you’re young and skinny and gorgeous, you always look good, right? But let’s face it… those days, while hopefully not all behind me, are more and more showing up in the rear-view mirror. It’s taking more effort just to maintain some sort of par.

But there’s also doing it for Liam’s sake. If I look like a slob as Carrie, that doesn’t bother me (at least, not as much as it probably should). But if Liam’s Mom looks like a slob, I feel bad for him. He shouldn’t have to deal with that. Again, it’s a whole new level of (admittedly self-imposed) accountability that comes along with being a parent.

The last time we got together with my family, my sisters were making fun of me. My purse coordinated with my capris, my shoes matched my shirt, etc. The last time they have seen me looking so into myself was probably on prom night. I know their time will come. In the meantime, Yummy Mummy is a title I will happily accept.

Welcome back, Martha!

Martha Stewart - you love her or you hate her. I fall into the love category. I love the things she does and I think she has impeccable taste. But I also think she's hilarious. She's always been so hoity-toity and full of herself, and I think that makes her funny. But it's gotten even better since she was released from prison - she is actually able to make fun of herself now. I'm not entirely sure that she's comfortable doing it, but she cracks me up with each attempt.

I am not much into daytime TV, the one exception being Cityline. I love Cityline. Not the Health & Beauty Wednesdays, but I love all the other days... Around the House Mondays, Fashion Fridays, and what's inbetween. One advantage to being a SAHM is that one hour a day when I can putz around and get things done, or even just play with Liam, with Cityline on in the background.

I feel like such a traitor for tuning into Martha's new live show this morning instead. They're on at the same time. (There are reruns of both, but I'm trying to limit my hours of TV viewing, not add to the repertoire.) But how could I not? She's back, baby! And it was well worth it. My favourite part was when she was playing cards, and bragging about how she is so good at all kinds of card games. I expected her to go on and say it was because her father used to play games with her at the big pink Formica kitchen table in Nutley, New Jersey - you know, the quintessentially Martha explanation for everything. But no. Her reason for being so good at cards is that she had a book of card games in prison, and had time to learn them all.

Come on, world. How can anyone not like Martha Stewart?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

When does it become inappropriate to share naked baby pictures?

Oh well, I will consider us to not be there yet. These photos are from a couple of days ago: our usual bedtime routine. First Liam has some Naked Playtime. I have no idea how we started this, but it is pretty much his favourite thing in the world, and consists entirely of rolling around on the floor, buck naked, sucking on his toes and otherwise amusing himself. If he had his clothes on, there is no way he would ever be content to play on his own for such a length of time. Then we play with his reflection in the mirror for a while (which is when these shots were taken) and then finally it's time for a bath, a feeding and bed. Saturday night he cried for 24 minutes; tonight it was 12. And I have to say, if it wasn't so heartbreaking, it would almost be funny. I suppose I can say this because I know that his cry is not a cry of pain, or hunger, or fear, or anything like that. It's actually just a pissed off, come-in-here-and-play-with-me kind of cry. He wails, in a very angry kind of way, and then stops - I think he's listening to see whether he's been successful: are there footsteps approaching? No? OK, time to wail again.

We had a busy weekend doing a little bit here and a little bit there. An early trip to Windsor on Saturday morning was successful for all three of us. Chad found some running gear he was looking for, I found a new scrapbook store with some decent inventory, and Liam found a Halloween costume. And before I hear anything about how it's far too early for that, let me say that although the store had JUST finished stocking the racks with these costumes when I got there, they were positively being swarmed over by shoppers. I nabbed the last size 6-12 months in the style I wanted, and had some hipster doofus following me around the store to see whether or not I was actually going to buy it - I guess he wanted it too. I had the clerk put it on hold for me for ten minutes until I could have Chad come back and agree to the purchase. (Which he did.) I will not spoil it now since I will (obviously) post a photo when the time comes, but we thought it was very fitting for Liam. And no, it is not Andre Agassi - especially not circa-1987 Andre Agassi. (And yes, there is some sombreness in the household tonight as Agassi lost in the final at the US Open today. Had a very commanding lead and then just choked.)

Today we made a spur-of-the-moment trip out to Dana and Bruce's trailer and Rondeau. I went for my last long(ish) training run: the half marathon is one week from today. We left Liam with Chad's parents and I ran through the park while Chad biked alongside to keep me company. We had lunch with the Cooks before coming home. Today is Grandparents' Day: Happy Grandparents' Day, Dana and Bruce and Marlene and Ralph! This afternoon there's been a lot of chores around the house on the agenda, along with the US Open disappointment and a bit of free time for me to play with my new scrapbook goodies. Or at least, time to think about using them. I am so indecisive (as usual) that I really have not made anything with them yet.

Friday, September 09, 2005

On sitting (it's banal to some, but endlessly fascinating to me)

Today, it was all about the art of sitting. Something you take for granted until you come across someone (like Liam) who can't do it. Lately, we have been practising sitting up a lot. Liam loves to sit up; he's just not very good at it. Originally he needed to lean on me at all times. Then I started trying to teach him the frog pose (photo #1), where he could hold himself up by leaning forward and planting his hands between his legs. Only he's not happy with that - he wants to sit like real people do, leaving his hands free to wave around and grab at things, like my dinner or Captain's tail. After many, many hours of rescuing him from a face plant on the floor this week (during which time he is folded completely in half - it looks so uncomfortable, though it doesn't faze him in the least) - he is starting to get the hang of things. Not for more than a few seconds at a time, and if he reaches out for something it's still enough to turn him into a pretzel, but he's getting there (photo #2). I think this is great - it will be the epitome of babyness when he can sit on his own and bang pots and pans together, or stack blocks. The hours spent in practise are well worth it.

Also on the subject of sitting, earlier today we went to the car seat clinic. I had an appointment that I was told would last 20 minutes. Well, we were there for an hour. We almost had the seat in correctly, but they felt that it needed to recline a little more than we had it. So they took it out and reinstalled it over top of - I kid you not - a pool noodle. How that makes an infant seat more secure instead of less secure is beyond me. The extra recline cuts into the front seat legroom, so the car seat is now located behind the passenger seat rather than the driver's seat. And in order to retain enough legroom to be able to actually seat a passenger in the front, they had to remove the seat base. This called for the expertise of multiple police officers to figure out. In return for the inconvenience, we did get a free teddy bear for Liam and some hot water pipe insulation and a low-flow showerhead and energy efficient light bulbs for me, as the clinic was sponsored by Union Gas.

I didn't take my camera to the car seat clinic - the last thing I wanted was a bunch of police officers and public health nurses to think I'm some nutjob overobsessed mother (even if it's true.) It was very amusing, therefore, for about twenty photos of Liam to be snapped while we were there - and none by me. The police unit took several, Union Gas took several, I think the dealership may have even gotten a few. We're in various poses with various police officers. Sometimes Liam is in his seat, sometimes I'm holding him, sometimes we're with an officer or two or three, or a public health nurse. I don't know where these photos are destined to go - some police promotion? Some Union Gas promotion? The garbage? - but I hope to see a copy someday.

And, finally, a CIO update. Liam went to bed around 6:45 tonight. Not a peep. As I was typing this out at 7:24 p.m., he started to cry. We're now ten minutes into it. I have a really bad feeling about this.

Edited to add: Crying is done. Duration = 14 minutes.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Dear Blogger administrators, could you please delete yesterday's post and wipe it from the memories of my readers, too? Thanks.

Liam played a dirty rotten trick on Chad and I tonight. He went to bed without a peep. Just rolled over, closed his eyes and started to suck his thumb. Twenty minutes passed. I stopped into our bedroom to talk to Chad (who was napping after watching Wednesday night's Blake/Agassi match, which couldn't have been closer and which finally ended at 1:15 a.m.). My last words to him were something along the lines of, Hear that... he went down without a sound tonight. It worked!

Spoken like a true idiot.

I went downstairs and sat down at the table to work on some things. That's when it started. The wailing, that is. And it did not end for the next 77 minutes. That's right - almost twice as long as the first night of the whole CIO experiment.

Obivously, my faith in this magical Dr. Weissbluth is truly shaken right now. And his claims about how the crying is just protest crying and it's not doing your child any permanent damage? Not sure I buy that anymore, either. Suddenly I have visions of Liam on Jerry Springer twenty or thirty years from now: It's not my fault I'm messed up... it's my mom's... she put me in my crib to fall asleep on my own when I was five months old, and I've never been the same since!...

We had been planning to go to Windsor Friday night, but I'm going to skip the trip on Liam's account. I'd rather get this over with than mess around with it unnecessarily and potentially prolong things. Not sure whether we'll do it Saturday instead. We (Liam and I) have a few activities on the agenda tomorrow - going to get the car seat checked at the clinic, and then we're going to visit my friend Daylene. If that's all the activity that we manage to squeeze in for the day, that's still fine by me.

This time last year: Provence

At this time last year, we were in Provence. I have always wanted to go to Provence. I have read every book ever written by Peter Mayle: A Year in Provence, Encore Provence, Toujours Provence... all his fiction books, like Hotel Pastis and Anything Considered... According to Peter Mayle, Provence is the land of milk and honey, and I wanted to go. I feel like a heretic, therefore, to report back to you that we didn't find it all that exciting.

Yes, the landscapes were beautiful, the weather wonderful, the quality of the light and food amazing. But... the very thing that draws people there, the laid-backness of it all, drove us nuts. We are not laid back people. We need to be on the go and doing things. And while there's lots to see in Provence, there's not as much to do. I think Provence would have better been saved for a vacation as a retiree, when you're looking for R&R, rather than at this point in our lives when we want to do it all.

Anyway, there were some highlights. A large part of the reason why I wanted to visit in the first place was to see the Pont du Gard, a two thousand year old Roman aqueduct. We were not disappointed - it was really magnificent (top photo). There are also all kinds of Roman amphitheatres and coliseums scattered throughout the south of France. We went to a bullfight at the one in Arles. This was particularly cool after seeing Gladiator, though we made sure it was not the fight-to-the-death type bullfight before buying tickets - I don't think I could have watched that:

And speaking of Arles, that's where Van Gogh lived for many years, so it was pretty cool to be there and see the inspiration behind a large number of his canvases. This is the actual cafe that is pictured in Terrasse de Cafe la Nuit:

And, to its credit, I don't remember having any morning sickness in Provence whatsoever. Maybe all that fresh air and wholesomeness did it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I love the smell of Napalm in the morning... smells like victory!! OK, it's a little too early for that (and you know I'm more of a pacifist, anyway), but tonight Liam went to bed after only a six-minute cry. And it wasn't even a cry, not if you are using the same scale as the last couple of nights. It was only borderline above The Grumble. And it was interspersed with lots of long silences. You know: Is he done yet? I don't hear him. Oh, there he goes. Wait, he's quiet again. Is he done?

So to all you I-told-you-so'ers: Yes, we should have done this a long time ago!!

Car seats make me think

1. I'm sad that the new car seat has no place to hang Liam's little mobile. Man, he loves that thing. And now it's been unceremoniously tossed on the bassinette-bouncy seat-boppy pillow-etc. pile o' stuff in the basement closet.
2. I'm glad that Liam's newborn red-as-a-drunken-sailor's nose has (a) gotten proportionately smaller as compared to the rest of his face, and (b) is also significantly less red. It's funny - you have a baby and think they are just the cutest thing ever. No matter how goopy or red or wrinkled they come out. Then they truly do cuten up, and only in hindsight can you say, What was I thinking??? (Except that Liam truly *was* the cutest newborn ever. No, really. I swear.)


Yesterday was Liam's first day in his new car seat. Yes, we finally got the stupid thing home and installed. There is a car seat clinic on Friday where I am going to have it checked out. I'm not sure what to think - Chad is pretty sure he has it in there correctly, though he didn't exactly follow the instructions and he thinks we're going to be told it's all wrong even though he thinks it's right. But he is really clever at figuring things like that out, and I trust him. It seems pretty secure to me.

This photo is a montage (obviously) - Liam's first day in the old car seat (i.e. on the way home from the hospital), his last day in his old seat (maybe Sunday or Monday?) and then yesterday, on our way to playgroup in the new seat. The good news is that we still had so many gift cards and certificates from people for Liam that the seat barely cost us anything. The bad news is that playgroup was terrible yesterday - we were the only ones there for the first 45 minutes, and then just one other person showed up. Where did everyone go? Maybe it had something to do with the first day of school.

And, to update you on our CIO progress, well, on account of playgroup, Liam missed his afternoon nap. Which meant he was exhausted by bedtime. And he fell asleep while eating. I tried to rouse him again, really I did, but he wouldn't have anything to do with it. So I unwittingly put him to bed already asleep. Please tell me this doesn't mean we're back to Square 1 in the CIO department with another hellish night ahead of us...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

This time last year: Chamonix

On this date last year, we were still in the Alps, though back on the French side in Chamonix. Chamonix is known as the Death Sport Capital of the World. If you are mere hikers, as we are, you are seriously looked down upon in Chamonix. The true athletes are there to scale sheer faces of rock using nothing but a single ice axe, or to parapent off the mountain peaks after soloing them, or to do something else outrageously crazy and dangerous that nobody else has done before. Anything that is considered safe or that has been done before is too pedestrian a pastime for most of these people. To be honest, the parapenting is not all that dangerous, and you can ride up on lifts and take tandem flights with an instructor. When we were planning our trip, that was my back-up plan: if I wasn't pregnant by the time we went to Europe, I was going to go parapenting as a booby prize. Luckily it didn't come to that (and Chad still thinks I would have chickened out at the last minute anyway!)

Oh well... bring on the mediocrity. We still enjoyed the views of the Mer de Glace, supposedly the world's longest glacier:

And it was cool to see the climbers heading for the summit of Mont Blanc, even if we weren't among them. We took the lifts up to an observation point around 13,000 feet, with the summit being around 16,000 feet. The observation point is the highest I would have been comfortable going while pregnant - there is surprisingly little literature available on being at altitude while pregnant. We have high altitude experience and I knew I'd likely be OK up to around 15,000 feet, but we still only stayed at the observation point for a half hour or so to see some climbers off, and then booted it back down:

We also enjoyed the hiking around Lac Blanc - very similar to Lake Louise in colour and backdrop:

While we were in Chamonix, I called home to check our messages. I was expecting the doctor's report about the ultrasound I'd had the day before we left on our trip. The technician had told me she found the heartbeat, but I was still anxious to hear the full report. Three minutes and $43 later, I had it. This was pretty infuriating, since the signs posted at the hotel said there was no surcharge for calling North America. I did get the charge reversed when I called to complain once I got my Visa bill. Even though getting the happy news was worth far more than $43, the thought of paying that much for such a short call made me positively ill!