Six months!

So first off, these past couple of weeks have been insanely busy at work. They’ve been the type of weeks where I’ve only managed to scratch of an item or two from my to-do list, while simultaneously adding three or four more items. They’ve been the type of weeks when I’ve been insanely busy each day, yet at the end of the week I can’t really pinpoint appreciable progress on my current tasks. In other words, screw these past couple of weeks.

On a much higher note, the dumpling officially turned six months old this past Tuesday! He had his six month check-up and the pediatrician was satisfied by his growth and progress. He weighs 14.5lbs (5th percentile!) and measures 26.75in (56th percentile – holy cats!!!). He doesn’t roll except when he’s in his crib, but he’s sitting almost perfectly unassisted. He doesn’t have much interest in toys, which was starting to alarm me because he doesn’t really grab for things. He has though, in just the last couple of weeks, started to really analyze what he’s holding. He still doesn’t reach for things much, but he’ll take it from you if you give it to him. He loves fabric though (and paper it seems – the paper liner on the pediatrician’s scale, for instance, he had to bring that with us back to the examination room). He’s officially tried sweet potatoes, peas, squash, egg, and avocado. Although, the egg and avocado, I’m fairly certain he didn’t actually swallow either of those.

It’s amazing watching him grow. His hair is coming in. His little legs are getting longer and hammier. He’s long and lean and adorable.


If I may though, can I relate to you the night of hilarity that occurred at my house this past week? Yes? Oh thanks.

So Luffy had to travel for business Wednesday and Thursday. No biggie. I was preparing the dumpling’s bath when I heard what every homeowner dreads – three chirps from a smoke detector. Le crap. I carried the peanut with me as I tried to track down the chirping unit. Unfortunately, after three rounds of chirping, the unit was ominously silent and I STILL hadn’t found the culprit. Well, I thought, might as well get the dumpling off to bed first. The only good thing in this scenario was that I had happened to be standing directly under the unit in the dumpling’s room as the last set of chirps went off, so I knew it wasn’t his.

So I continued with bedtime and got the dumpling off to bed, his bottles washed, his milk made, my pump parts cleaned, all without another peep from the detector. I naively hoped that it was a fluke and that it wouldn’t sound again. I knew it wasn’t a low battery signal and none of the other units had gone off, so it wasn’t an alarm state. All of the units showed steady green lights, so no issues to note there (also no help in determining which of the units was chirping). Around 10:30, I was about to head to bed when the chirping started again. Le double crap. I hurried around the house, but still couldn’t determine which unit it was because the thing still only chirped three times. When the house was silent again, I sat back to think about what to do. I figured three rounds of chirps every two hours or so wasn’t bad – I might even be able to sleep through it and it didn’t seem to bother the dumpling. I headed to bed with the hope that it would be a smooth night.

HAHAHA – I foresee much fail.

I got ready for bed and climbed in, settling down into my pillow right as the chirps started going off again. I ran through the house to figure out which one it was – again with no luck. I finally decided that maybe it was the hallway one and went to get a new battery and a chair.

Now let’s pause here. I knew, KNEW, that it wasn’t the typical battery dead chirp, but I, for some reason, did not consider that information. That’s basically all I know how to do with smoke detectors. Hear chirping – change battery. These are all of the things I know. Secondly, I should have just pulled them down to disable them (ours have A/C power as well as the battery back-up). I was worried that if I did that, it would set them all off with some sort of malfunction alarm as they sensed a fallen brother (not too crazy, ours are interconnected).

But I didn’t do any of that. At 11pm, I drug a chair into the hallway and replaced the battery in the hallway unit and then somehow managed to set off a test phase which meant that all of the units in our house suddenly blared their alarms. I prayed to ALL OF THE GODS AND LANDS AND EVERYTHING THAT IS HOLY that the dumpling would sleep through the racket. And he did! Praise be! I climbed off the chair, ready to head to bed when – CHIRPCHIRPCHIRP. (F&*%)

So at 11:15, I drug the ladder in from the garage and climbed atop it to change the battery in the office unit (again, see above and all of the things I know regarding smoke detectors). The damn thing kept chirping, even with the new battery. So at 11:30, I frantically looked up the manual to try to figure out what the freaking beeping meant and how to shut it the hell up. (My language was getting worse through this ordeal, so glad the dumpling wasn’t awake to witness it.) I discovered that this specific beeping pattern meant the unit was malfunctioning – FANTASTIC – and decided to disable it for the evening. So at midnight, I climbed up the ladder again and pulled the entire thing down. Since I still wasn’t 100% sure that the office unit was at fault and the thought of getting out of bed AGAIN for chirping AGAIN made me want to murder someone, I decided to pull down a couple of others for good measure.

So at 12:30 in the morning, I finally settled into my bed, completely on edge, waiting for more chirping. Which didn’t happen. Whew. But then my night fell apart farther as an unholy trinity of leaky diaper and gas and uncomfortableness got the dumpling up at 1:30 and kept him up until 4. Fun times. At least I didn’t have to call the fire department again. So win?

Baby’s First Flight!

Last Tuesday, exactly a week ago, we got a postcard in the mail. My mom had recently finished renovating her newly acquired office building and she was having an open house. This was a huge milestone for her. She’s been in business for over 11 years, but she’s rented her space the entire time. She had outgrown her original space long ago and had slowly leased additional suites in the same building. These suites were not all together though, so she and her employees were constantly running through common area to get back and forth. Plus there was a lack of security, given she had to rely on other tenants to lock the exterior doors. Then there was also the fact that the entire building shared a bathroom. Etc. Etc. Lots of reasons why this new building is going to be such a huge step up for her and her employees. Plus her own building! With her name on it!

When we got the postcard invitation to her open house, Luffy asked me if I was going to attend. It was on Friday though, middle of the day, in my hometown (5+ hours away by car) and Luffy also happened to be out of town that day.

“No,” I chuckled, “I’ll just send her some flowers to let her know we’re thinking of her.”


Last Thursday, around 2pm, I got a call that registered with my hometown’s area code. I answered, instantly recognizing my mom’s business partner’s voice. He and my mom’s best friend (who also happens to be her employee) wanted to surprise my mom by having me there for her open house. They’d cover the flight, they’d pick me up, they’d even purchase a car seat if that made things easier for me. My mom always planned surprises for everyone else and they wanted the chance to surprise her.

What could I do but agree?


Thursday night, as I lay in bed contemplating the next day – flying with the dumpling all by myself – I dissolved into a ball of nerves. What on earth was I thinking?! Flying home, with no one to help me with the dumpling?! I’m crazy! I’m insane! I should be committed!

As 11pm and then midnight and then 1am rolled around, I tried frantically to adjust my plans. I even got on the phone with the airlines to try to take a different flight (that actually didn’t exist – turns out I tend to misread things when it’s 12:30 in the morning and I’m freaking out). I tried desperately to come up with a solution that would allow me leave the dumpling at daycare and be home in time to pick him up. (To be clear, we have plenty of friends and family in the area who would have been here for the dumpling in case he needed it. I wasn’t just going to abandon my young to daycare and go jet-setting.)

Finally, probably around 1:30 in the morning or so, a mere four and a half hours before I needed to get up, I calmed myself. I could handle this. I was flying with the dumpling, not some stranger’s squalling infant. We would be fine. Worst case scenario, the flight is only 45 minutes long, I’m pretty sure I (and my seatmates) would be able to survive anything for just 45 minutes. And with that thought, I finally managed to get to sleep.


I awoke with a start at 5:45 because omg the baby! He hadn’t made a peep all night. Of course, the one night I’m riddled with nerves and can’t sleep is the one night he sleeps all the way through. Because of course. I tried to roll over and go back to sleep, but I was wide awake. Which was probably ok because the dumpling ruined my plans to get ready before getting him up for the day by waking up at 6:15 and nursing for half an hour. But even with the curve ball, I got him fed, myself showered, breakfast eaten, Jas got her medicine, and we were out the door by 7:30!

And then I got to laugh at my anxious self as the dumpling did beautifully in the airport. He peaked out from his carrier as we went through security and made our way to the gate. He slept while we waited to board and woke up to be delighted by the airplane. A kind couple behind me shifted seats so that I could have a row to myself. I nursed him as soon as we took off and he nodded off for his first nap of the day. He slept the whole flight and woke up just as we were touching down. We made our way through my hometown’s small airport to find my mom’s best friend. As promised, she had a newly purchased car seat in the back. She had, adorably, given up YouTubing for installation help and had taken it to the local fire station. We chatted excitedly as we made our way to my mom’s business. With her business partner keeping her distracted from the security camera feeds, we made our way inside.

When I rounded the corner into my mom’s office, she stared at me, completely shocked and not really putting the pieces together – to see the dumpling and I standing in her office on a Friday morning. But the second passed and she burst into happy tears and came around her desk to envelope us both in a hug. She took the dumpling from me, hugged me again and again, and then proceeded to direct the set-up for her open house one-handed as she carried the dumpling everywhere – her mood notably lifted.

It was so much fun getting to surprise her like that! She was so shocked to see us and we made her day. We also got to surprise many of my extended family (including my own granddad who got the opportunity to meet his great-grandson!). Of course, with only two people in-the-know, we surprised nearly everyone who came out to support my mom. My mom had a blast showing her grandson off to all of her friends.

Since I was travelling alone and I needed to be back home to teach my first class the next day (which – SPOILER ALERT – didn’t end up happening because of a stomach bug I picked up along the way), our flight home was at 4:30 that afternoon. Mom drove us to the airport, sad to see us go but ever so happy that we came.

The dumpling did well on the flight home, although he was much more tired and therefore a touch more cranky. We made it home in time to get him into bed on time. Then I took a hot shower, had some dinner delivered, chatted with Luffy, and climbed into bed myself, exhausted from our busy day.

And then I got back up and puked, but let’s just pretend the story ended on my happier note, shall we?

Back in the Saddle Again

I’m back! (cue Steven Tyler mic tip and hair flip)

Welp folks. My maternity leave has officially ended. I am on my third day of being a working mom. I think it’s going pretty well. It’s nice to be back at my job, using my brain for things other than keeping track of how long it’s been since the dumpling has slept. Though it’s a little dusty up there, I’m pleased to report that I do remember financial terms and can still label a balance sheet! Back in October, this time seemed like an eternity away. When the newborn days hit us hard, January seemed like it would never arrive. And now we’re here. That chapter has closed.

Three days in and all I have to say is whew! There’s just so much to remember to get the dumpling and myself out the door every morning. Milk. Lunch bag. Computer bag. Diaper bag. Pump. Pump parts. Seriously – did you pack the pump parts??? (A crucial piece that I forgot yesterday and had to turn around and drive all the way back home for.)

I have a pretty great arrangement with work. If you’ll remember (waaaaaay back at the beginning of my pregnancy), I worked out an arrangement that I would work from home part time. Today is the first day of that and I think I’m really going to like it. Mornings are a lot smoother when I’m not as concerned about getting myself out the door to go downtown. I can also pump while working, which is very convenient as I’ve already seen why working and pumping moms often stop pumping. It’s just such a nuisance. Yes, I know you’re providing sustenance for your child. Woo! But it also means 20 to 30 minutes (every three hours or so), locked in a room at work, feeling weird because you’re shirtless. It means interrupting conversations and meetings because you’re boobs are full. Or not interrupting conversations and meetings and then realizing that it’s 3pm and you’ve only pumped once. It means stopping what you’re doing right now because you’re already behind on your pumping schedule. Since I’m working from home most of the week, I think I’ll be more likely to keep up with pumping as it’s just my conversations with Jas that might get interrupted. (And who are we kidding, she’s a cat… she’s probably happy that I stopped talking to her and left her to nap in peace.)

We did change daycares. I feel pretty good about the new place so far. Everyone is warm and welcoming. Even though it’s a center (which I always stigmatized as huge and impersonal), the staff and teachers have greeted the dumpling by name every morning. They tell me that he’s the happiest baby! So many smiles! They also have a great app that keeps us up to date on his day in real time (he’s napping right now). They can also send us pictures through the app which is how Luffy and I got to view the dumpling’s displeasure with tummy time on Tuesday. I, however, am very happy that he’s getting regular tummy time and stimulation as I seriously doubt he was getting such attention at the last place.

So now Luffy and I are once again shifting our roles a bit, finding our groove in this new routine. Luffy helps me wash the daycare bottles and pumping bottles. I take time each night to get the dumpling’s bottles ready for the next day (right now, he’s getting all fresh milk because I’m battling a cold and want to make sure he’s getting all my antibodies). Luffy picks up the dumpling when I’m working from the office. I race home from to nurse. But at the end of the day, we get to spend a little time with our dumpling; coaxing adorable smiles that make the entire day so worth it.

The Newborn Chronicles: 9w2d

The tides are turning my friends. It dawned on me this past Monday that I only have three weeks of maternity leave left. Three weeks! And for the first time, when I thought of returning to work, rather than looking forward to the return to my routines, I felt sad. Just three short weeks left of hanging out with Little Dumpling. Then, Luffy and I decided to arrange some transitional days for the Dumpling at his day care provider. A couple of half days, a couple of whole days – good for both of us as we begin a new routine. However, this means I really just have two full weeks left. Two! TWO.

Luffy is already making fun of me because just a few weeks ago I was going on about how I couldn’t wait to go back to work and to share the responsibility of caring for the dumpling. But now. Now I’m a little saddened by the thought of not seeing him all day. We’re finally to the point where our days have some routine. The Dumpling’s getting big enough for me to actually enjoy. He’s awake for about an hour now, more or less. He’s all smiles when he’s well rested. He loves his play mat (an adorable little activity gym that I opened on a whim). He stares at the toys overhead and smiles at his reflection (he loves that guy in the mirror!). He’s becoming more and more vocal. He coos at us all day long. I’m expecting his first giggle any week now. He finally enjoys his swing and will take some naps in it if needed.

Our biggest progress though has been on the sleep front. When we last chatted, Luffy and I were so frustrated with the two or three hour dance it took to get the dumpling down for the night. On good nights, he would wake every three hours like clockwork. On the bad, it was every hour and a half or less. One particularly low morning, Luffy found me at 6:20am, crying on the couch as I nursed the dumpling again. I had just put him down at 5:30 and he was up again. Luffy suggested we look into sleep training because he couldn’t stand to see me upset like that, frustrated with the Dumpling and with myself.

The turning point came at our two month appointment. Our pediatrician gave us the go ahead to try sleep training. Her opinion was that it certainly couldn’t hurt. If it didn’t work, put a pin in it and try again in a few weeks. She told us we were overthinking the sleep thing. We were trying everything to force naps to ensure that the dumpling got close to the 15 hour recommendation. She told us that the dumpling would take care of his sleep needs; we just needed to provide the opportunity and environment for sleep.

Now, it’s still a work in progress. Definitely not perfect, but the change has been so nice. He’s falling asleep all on his own most of the time. I no longer have to spend twenty extra minutes after each night nursing to rock him; I can just put him back in his Rock ‘n’ Play. He’s sleeping longer stretches on occasion too and I firmly believe it’s because he can fall asleep on his own (and therefore no longer absolutely needs us when he wakes between sleep cycles). He’s doing really well and I am so proud of him.

So yeah, it’s going to be tough leaving him. I feel like we picked a good day care provider. I think he’ll have fun there and be well cared for. I’m excited to return to work. I’m looking forward to more routine. But I’m also sad to know this chapter is quickly ending. I’m not looking forward to the days I’ll be away from him the longest (I return to teaching my exercise class at the end of the month, but I will start attending class as practice sessions). I know we’ll be stretched a little thinner and we’ll probably flounder a bit as we work through establishing a new routine. But we’ll get there. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my last few weeks of hanging out with Little Dumpling.

Happy Holidays!

It’s our first Christmas with the dumpling. He won’t remember it, of course, but there are a few presents under the tree for him.

(I’m currently enjoying a blissful moment of peace as he’s taking an extended nap in his swing.)

He had his two-month check up at 8 weeks this past Tuesday. He weighed 10 lbs 1 oz and I was astounded to realize that it meant he’s gained four pounds since coming home from the hospital. Four pounds! He’s also now measuring 22.5 inches long which puts him solidly in 3 month footed jammies. His legs are so long he’s actually even stretching those out, although he can still wear a lot of his NB onesies since those don’t have the legs.

Luffy and I have finally crossed the threshold of newborn days. We now look at our son with wonder and love and joy – marveling at his little nommable cheeks and trying to get him to smile for us. That probably sounds pretty harsh – I mean the dumpling is almost two months old! Are we implying that we didn’t love him before this???? you ask. Well no, we loved him. We just didn’t like him very much, as the saying goes. He was a chore, a task, a worry, and sometimes a fear. The newborn days are just so very, very hard. And while he’s still considered a newborn, at two months, we’re at least to the point where there’s a little give from him. He recognizes us and will smile for us. He’s actually started to be soothed by my presence, which I longed for earlier. His happy awake times are starting to outnumber his fussy awake times. We’re becoming more confident in caring for him. Plus, he’s started actually going to sleep on his own sometimes which is a MAJOR milestone for us. Praise the baby sleep gods!!

Oh – he’s awake! Sorry guys, gotta run. My dumpling calls. Have a wonderful holiday season!

The Newborn Chronicles

Can I still call him a newborn? I mean, he’s five weeks old today. Meh, I’m still gonna call him a newborn.

Last week was fun (ish? esque?). Little Dumpling went through a cognitive leap and was extra cranky and clingy and fussy which was perfect timing because my mom and Luffy were around to help keep me sane. My mom went home Saturday, but Luffy helped a ton over the weekend as well (Luffy can wrap him up in our Moby wrap and get a three or four hour nap out of him!). I think we’re starting to come out of the Wonder Week, although he still seems to be rather tired (and a touch cranky today). But he’s been good.

I, on the other hand, had a bit of a meltdown last night. For some reason, the monotony and responsibility of being the one to help the dumpling get to sleep each. and. every. time. he goes to sleep got to me. I was nursing him before bed, which is when he usually conks out. However, the past two nights, nursing alone hadn’t worked. I desperately wanted some time with Luffy and here was this wide-awake infant who was supposed to be going to sleep. I got frustrated. I passed him off to Luffy who (wonderfully! graciously!) accepted the challenge of getting him to sleep and told me to go to bed. Which wasn’t really what I wanted, but I took him up on the offer. What I really wanted was a day to myself again, where I’m not solely responsible for this tiny human. Where I’m not needed to nurse or change a diaper or get him to sleep (this is the biggest, most challenging and frustrating aspect). What I really wanted was a day with just Luffy and me again, to do as we please. My days are not my own right now and it’s getting to me.

By 9PM, I went to check on Luffy and the dumpling – both were still awake. I pumped, giving Luffy enough milk to make the dumpling a bottle and went back to bed. Luffy brought the dumpling into our room (where his bassinet is) and tried to lull him to sleep with a pacifier. It didn’t work, but by that time I had collected myself enough to go help. The dumpling wanted to nurse, so we did, as Luffy sat beside me, listening to me describe what I was feeling. The dumpling did manage to go to sleep after nursing but woke up soon after we transferred him to his bassinet (he had a dirty diaper). By this point in the night, it was late, so I sent Luffy to our bed and the dumpling and I cuddled* up in the guest bed. He slept an astounding four and a half hour stretch before waking to nurse again. Then we dozed and nursed until 7am.

Luffy and I talked more this morning. I miss our old life, when it was just the two of us. When we could relax in the evenings, without the question mark that is getting an infant down to sleep. When I could focus on taking care of Luffy (or myself for that matter!). I miss work and I miss my exercise classes. I laughed at myself because, in all that time we spent trying to get pregnant and in the nine months that I was actually pregnant, I never really thought about the newborn phase. I never once thought about how hard it would be to take care of an infant. When I thought about our hypothetical child, it was always the older infant (maybe 9 months?) or the adorable toddler. It’s probably a defense mechanism of sorts. Too late now!

To be brutally honest (and why not – it should be talked about), there are times when I look down at the dumpling and I wonder if he’s worth it. I wonder if we didn’t make a huge mistake. I resent the intrusion he is in our (Luffy’s and mine) wonderful life. I mean, I know he will be worth it and I know we didn’t make a mistake, it just feels like it sometimes (also known as when the dumpling is howling bloody murder for no apparent reason or is suddenly wide awake when he’s supposed to be sleeping). Now don’t call CPS on me – we’re all good. I feel like it’s probably a thought a lot of mothers have (especially those that aren’t really into the baby phase – some women are, more power to you).

I know that these days will go by, whether he cries for hours or sleeps like a champ or goes on a nursing strike. These days will roll by and suddenly, Luffy and I will look down at our dumpling and he will no longer be a newborn. He’ll be an infant and then a toddler and then a child and we’ll wonder why we ever questioned ourselves. I know that day will come, so I’ll just try to get through these days as best I can.

*Hardcore bedsharers always talk about cuddling their newborn, but I’d like to call BS on this, at least with my particular newborn. Bedsharing with him is like sharing a bed with someone who thinks he’s sleeping alone. I’m cradled around him to keep him safe and clear of pillows or blankets. I’m hyper aware of his little body, trying to lay as still as possible. Meanwhile, he grunts and kicks and coos in his sleep as I just try to stay out of the way. Plus, the word “cuddling” sort of implies a little give and take, maybe some snuggling, some happy baby chirping or a smile. Nope. Nopity nope nope. My little guy wakes up and is just like, where ma boob be at??? And would it kill you to change my diaper?

Blissfully Happy

I’m sitting on my couch right now, with Friends on as background noise for Little Dumpling. Luffy is napping beside me; he came home early from work. Little Dumpling is in his pack ‘n play in front of me, napping like a champ. Jas is soaking up the last of the afternoon rays in the office, worn out from our play session earlier.

I am blissfully happy at this moment. Wonderfully, completely, absolutely happy.

Everyone and their mother has told me to sleep when the baby sleeps, but I just can’t do it right now because it would be such a waste of this perfect moment.