Sunday, June 6, 2010

Liam's Sleeping Music

We've recently attempted to remove Liam's night time music from his sleep routine. Liam had 3 albums that he listened to over the past 6 months to help him sleep, and each would play continuously until the morning when he woke. Sadly, it doesn't seem to make a difference anymore and this summer the air conditioner would have drowned out the music anyway, so they've been retired. So as a tribute to his 3 albums, here are my reviews of them. I think I have the best perspective on them anyway, since I've heard them hundreds of times.

Baby Einstein's Music Box Orchestra - Legendary classical songs done in a gentle, baby-friendly style. The music is relentlessly gentle, as formerly powerful songs by Beethoven, Bach and Mozart are performed on toy pianos and high pitched synthesizers. The songs are obvious classics, the CD could not be more baby friendly, but there is not a lot here for adults. 3 out of 5 baby stars

Brian Eno's Music For Airports - This legendary ambient album might seem a little too "hipster" for baby sleep time, but this music is so lulling and gentle that it instantly puts babies to sleep. Most people who have heard of this album haven't actually heard it, but as a quick description it's really sparse piano music with a few slight synthesizer touches. It's a lot easier to take for adults than Baby Einstein, but I still must admit that it's not exactly the most exciting album in the world. 4 out of 5 baby stars

Helios's Eingya - Easily my favorite Liam album. Gentle, smooth instrumentals from a rock band that doesn't really rock. Helios has a traditional band structure (guitar/bass/drums) but blends those elements in a really beautiful, lulling way. While it might have more dynamics as an album than Liam's other bedtime jams, it flows in such a perfect manner that it never once woke him up. Great for babies, great for adults. 5 out of 5 baby stars.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Liam Clapping

Wow, am I ever behind. I still need to write Liam's 9-month update (we finally have some TEETH!) but for now, I'll leave you with this video:

Friday, April 9, 2010


Phew. What a WEEK! Work and school are both crazy right now, and, of course, there's the teething baby situation. It's one of those weeks where I feel like I deserve a "Mom of the Year" award for dealing with all of it and not having a nervous breakdown, know what I mean?

For those if you who have been wondering, no, Liam does not yet have his first "toof" yet, but it's right there, about to poke through the surface, and surely bothering him. Allow me to explain...

Last Friday, I went to pick him up from my parents' house and I immediately knew something wasn't right. And for the next 36 hours, the "something isn't right" feeling continued. Feverish, watery eyes, sleeping horribly, not napping, refusing food, drooling and spitting up like crazy, wanting to be not just held but carried around 24/7 (thank God for the Moby Wrap), crying at random intervals, hardly smiling, etc. etc. Saturday was awful; he fussed for most of the day and he ran a low-grade fever off and on. I debated whether to bring him in to urgent care. Was it an ear infection? Strep throat? Reflux? Did I want to pay the $20 copay and expose him to loads of germs just to have the doctor on-call tell me it was just separation anxiety? (Believe it or not, that exact thing happened the week before.)

Not once did it occur to me that he could be teething. Not once. Despite the drool, the refusal of food, the constant chomping on his hand, the fact that he's eight and a half months and doesn't have a tooth yet.

Then again, I'm the woman who, at nearly 38 weeks pregnant, had bouts of severe back pain every 4 minutes and didn't even consider the fact that I could be, you know, IN LABOR. I was convinced that the pain meant something was wrong, so I went to the hospital. When the nurse told me I was in labor, I was all..."really? Labor? I'm only 38 weeks!"

Finally, on Sunday afternoon, I thought to put my finger in his mouth for the first time, and while feeling his bottom gums, I ran across a giant, swollen bump.


While no tooth has broken through yet and Liam is still gumming everything, his mood has markedly improved. The past three nights he's slept great (only one "fuss" each night, around 4 a.m., and he's gone back to sleep until 6:30 all three times), napped well, and seemed generally happy. I'm still walking on eggshells, though, just waiting for the next bout of teething hell...

Monday, April 5, 2010

A big week.

Within the past 7 days, the following things have happened:

Liam started crawling.

Liam started pulling up to a stand.

Liam is getting his first tooth. (It hasn't broken through yet, but it's about to.)

I'd love to update you on the first two milestones, but the third pretty much has sapped my energy to do anything, including concentrate on writing a blog entry. I had no idea how bad teething could be until it happened to my poor little guy. I know it's not this bad for ALL babies, but mine seems to do everything in a big way!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The sleep habits of an 8-month-old

How did my tiny, cuddly little newborn boy turn into an 8-month-old? I never thought I'd miss those sleep-deprived newborn days but now I sort of do. It's going by so fast!

Month 8 has been a true delight. Liam's personality is really starting to come out. He's serious and brooding -- he likes to observe his world and take it all in before participating. He's all smiles and giggles at home and at my parents' house, but it always takes him awhile to warm up to new people. Sometimes he'll surprise you, though, by breaking into a big smile for a stranger at the grocery store. But usually he just gives them a stare that clearly says "who are you and why are you invading my world?" He loves figuring things out and you can just see the little wheels turning in his head when he plays with a toy.

Liam loves to eat, as evidenced by the adorable rolls on his arms and thighs. He can feed himself bigger pieces of food (crackers, teething biscuits, etc.) but doesn't have the pincer grasp down yet for small pieces. He's getting bored with purees -- well, except for the part where he tries to grab the spoon and feed himself!

He is thisclose to crawling. He can launch forward onto his hands and knees from a sitting position and back, but he can't move forward yet, which greatly frustrates him. He can stand while holding onto a piece of furniture and is trying so hard to pull up (especially in the bathtub...yikes). Every day we get closer and closer to mobility. He's been doing the hands-and-knees thing for about a month, so I'm sure it's only a matter of weeks.

He now says mama and dada, although he doesn't know what those "words" mean. He has a special relationship with our usually anti-social cat, Taka. She loves being near him and he gets the biggest grin on his face when she walks into the room. (Our other cat, Danny Boy, is terrified of him!) He also loves the neighbor's dog and will laugh hysterically when she licks his hand or his face.

He is starting to understand cause and effect, particularly when it comes to noises. Our quiet little guy gets such a delight out of banging things together or dropping something on the floor and the resulting noise. Lately he's gotten particular enjoyment out of putting his hand in my mouth when I'm talking. I have no idea what's so funny about that, but then again, I used to find Adam Sandler movies funny, too...

As wonderful as everything has been this month, sleep is still an issue in our house. Liam still isn't sleeping through the night most nights. It's funny -- when he was younger, the first question people used to ask us was "is he sleeping through the night?" How that he's 8 months, they don't bother asking us because, well, he's 8 months. Of course he's sleeping through the night! Sigh. On a good night, he wakes up once to eat. On a bad night, he's up three times (once to eat, and the other times he just wants to be held). We had some success with letting him cry it out last month, but then he got sick and everything went out the window. A lot of people say their bad sleepers became good sleepers around a year, so I'm hoping we can trudge through the next four sleep-deprived months!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sickness is serious business

This has been the sickliest winter I can remember. Actually, it's been the sickliest MONTH I can remember. Two weeks ago, Liam had a cold. He passed it onto me (big shocker there - the kid literally sneezed into my eye). On the tail end of my cold, Brad caught some sort of weird minor stomach bug/food poisoning thing. And just as he recovered from that, I got a horrible stomach flu (norwalk virus!) and was the sickest I've been in years. It's been almost a week and my stomach is still not quite feeling back to normal yet.

Having a kid is hell on your immune system. I don't know if it's the lack of sleep or the significant amount of time spent indoors, but I seem to catch everything that's going around. I wash my hands, try to eat my fruits & veggies, take my vitamins, and do my best to get fresh air, but somehow I can't escape the germs. I'm so glad it's almost spring!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Liam (noun).

When I was pregnant Brad and I swore up and down we wouldn't use silly baby talk at home. We wanted to treat our new addition like a real member of the family, not like a pet! But, as I now know, many of the lofty plans that you make when you're pregnant (cloth diapering? breastfeeding for 18 months? making my own baby food?) become...well...just that. Lofty plans.

We've actually been pretty good about avoiding the baby talk, per se. But without realizing it, we've managed to develop our own little vocabulary for all things Liam. So, without further ado, and a bit of embarrassment, I present to you our dictionary.

Dipe (n): Diaper. I somehow started calling diapers "dipes" right from the beginning, probably because I was so sleep-deprived I couldn't force out the whole word. It caught on fast, and now we don't change diapers -- we "change dipes."

Fuss (n): OK, we didn't invent this word, but we invented the way we use it -- as a noun. When Liam wakes up in the middle of the night, which is unfortunately way too often, we call it "a fuss." As in, "he had a three o'clock fuss last night." or "I'll handle his first fuss." Lately we've been dropping the word fuss and referring to his wakeups like business meetings: "his three o'clock." Our bleary-eyed morning conversation often goes like this. "How many fusses did he have last night?" "He had an eleven o'clock, a one o'clock and a four o'clock. That last fuss was his wakeup fuss."

Butt-pat fuss (n): Sometimes, a fuss only requires a few minutes of patting Liam on the butt to get him to go back to sleep. It also works to rub his back or jiggle his mattress. In context: "I didn't need to feed him during his 3 o'clock. It was only a butt-pat fuss."

Snerf (n): Please withhold your judgement. I realize a kid as cute as ours deserves a sweet nickname like peanut, sweetie-pie, sweet pea, etc. Nope...instead we call him Snerf. Often. To the point where he may think this is actually his name. It all started when he had his first of many daycare-acquired colds, and instead of "the sniffles" he had "the snerfles." (My fault.) Somehow, that evolved into a nickname that Brad and I both latched onto. There are variations like Snerfie, Snerfus, and Snerf-a-gus, but mostly we just use plain old Snerf.

I'm sure I'm missing a few here (Brad?) but those are the ones that immediately come to mind. What about all of you with little kids, or even pets? I KNOW you guys have your own dictionaries. Come on...'fess up!