Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Cultured Pooper

Robbie pulled himself up on his crib. He's been flirting with the idea for quite awhile, but finally succeeded after an unsuccessful attempt to give him a nap. Forget TV, Jim and I stick him on the bed between us and just watch him squirl around like a drunken pinball.

Charlie is sick today. We're hoping it's just a cold, but the regurgitated applesauce spewed all over the floor suggests it's the"F" word... The three letter one that ends with "u". No one wants to say it for fear we'll jinx ourselves.

We started a food cleanse today. I won't call it a diet, since that conjures up visions of points and low fat cottage cheese or something. It's largely for Jamie, who's a hefty 37 lbs and could stand to lose a few of those holiday pounds.... Jk. I'm trying a grain free... Sugar free... Almost-everything-free, in hopes it might help his attention span and slightly (and totally adorable) neurotic behavior. (that he definitely does not get from either of his parents). *cough *cough* We're on day two, and while I'm sure it's too soon to tell, he did sleep almost twelve hours last night instead of his usual seven or eight, so maybe it was that good ol' high fructose corn syrup and red number five that was keeping him up.

Since I didn't want to go grocery shopping with the sick McGnarles (one of Jim's many nicknames for Charlie). I raided our dead garden in hopes of finding something gluten/sugar/dairy free, like a shriveled up, forgotten squash or bell pepper. Instead I found the heirloom tomatoes we planted last year had gone all zombie-fied and refused to die. They had taken over the garden, choking out the mint and threatening the all-mighty rosemary. *gasp*
Now I have a bumper crop of green tomatoes I don't have time to deal with. But hey! I did get creamy, green tomato soup out of it for lunch, and Jamie didn't bat an eyelash at the strange, non-matching color/taste.

Robbie learned how to do a manly yell that does not belong on a baby. Charlie continues to happily impress his siblings with his vast dinosaur vocabulary, even though he often insists the dinosaurs are dragons. And Jamie is probably not the first kid nor the last to act like the iPad is surgically implanted to his hands.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Wailing Lobster

The babes is six months now, and like most third-borns his mother is sucking it up majorly on the "recording major milestones" front.

So this post goes out to our Robster the Lobster...thus coined because he turns beat red when he's mad.   He's almost as adorable when he's mad as when he's happy, which unfortunately (or fortunately) doesn't happen that often.   It's not that he's an easy going baby, he's got very strong baby opinions, it just so happens he really truly loves just about everything.  ... except baths.

He loves people, he adores his brothers.  Toys fascinate him, food is his best friend.  He sleeps, farts and poops easily, and thinks his mommy and daddy hung the moon.   Mention the b-word though and he starts to look vaguely uneasy.   Pull out the baby bath tub and he gets very worried.  Actually try to put him in the bath and he suddenly develops baby ninja skills.   I swear he's more canine than human baby when he's near a bath.   Yesterday, I was undressing him and he was all smiles, belly laughs, and happy, wiggling baby chub.   Then he saw the dread B.A.T.H. and I literally almost lost him.   He somehow wedged a toe in one of my ribs and used that as leverage to launch himself over my shoulder.   His pediatrician says he's abnormally strong for a baby his age, but it's only because his brothers have him in a daily bootcamp specifically designed to build muscles and maximize survival skillz.    Mostly they're skills like "how to stay upright while being spun around 158 times in an exersaucer"  or "how many pushups and leg thrusts does it take to reach the toy my older brother keeps moving just out of my reach."  but apparently it also includes "emergency ejection plans for avoiding B.A.T.H.S." 

Seriously, even when he's in a gently warmed in his mother's arms as she softly coos and plays with him.   It's defcon 10.

What do I do?  Is there hope for my waterless lobster?  I'm a little worried because both my other two were water babies from the get go.  They both learned to swim easily and spend more of their Summer in the pool than out of it.   What am I going to do next year if I have one child who won't so much as dip a toe in the water, and two other children who would prefer to be merchildren?

Do I give him more baths?   Or less?  Right now he gets one once or twice a week because baby torture isn't high up on my list of life ambitions. 

Any advice would be appreciated... even if we sort of think he looks like a Peanuts character when he cries. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Robert Walter Ramsey born June 4th 6:55 pm. 7lbs 11oz, 21 inches long.

It's weird how every newborn and every birth is so different.

I also remember why birth stories are so hard to write. In one sense you want to write it all down while it's crystal clear, so you won't forget, but in another sense, your brain is so noodley and...squirrel! It's hard to get it all out.

I had a scheduled c-section on Monday which may appeal to some...and definitely did have benefits... but for someone who prefers a bit more mystery and spontaneity, it felt a little bit like an execution date looming over my head.

The OR was booked for the whole week, and the only slots they had available were all in the afternoon. Mine was at 4:30 pm. I took advantage of it by packing lunch, bikes and camera and heading to the park for a family picnic. So awesome, except for how crazily thirsty I was (since I hadn't had anything to drink since bedtime the night before). By the time I checked into the hospital, I was so dehydrated they couldn't get an IV started. After feeling like a giant marshmallow poked by a million roasting sticks, they finally got a vein to cooperate and they started pumping me full of fluids which felt like bliss...even though I wasn't actually drinking and swallowing it myself.

Since this is our "last" baby (unless we change our mind), I was in super "savor-every-moment" mode. I paid attention to every little detail, trying to hold onto it and burn it into my memory. Every little bump, sound, smell and sensation.

Totally backfired. Completely freaked myself out. I feel like now I understand you sensory processing people a little better. Yikes. A hospital is a terrifyingly overwhelming place when you've got all five senses on ultra high sensitivity. It was so bad, my blood pressure (which is usually a steady 107 over 52 or something) was setting off alarms in the OR while they were prepping me. The OR nurse had to keep telling me to take deep breaths, so my blood pressure would even out.

Once it dawned on me what was happening, I decided this whole "savor each and every detail thing" was for the birds. I started chatting with the awkward med student about what he wanted to do with his life (not labor and deliver it turns out...ha...poor guy). And discussing the varying surgery preferences and techniques of different doctors. I was seriously fine from then on. It was weird. When they shoved a giant needle in my back, I was worrying about whether or not Robbie would be as difficult to teach as Jamie. When they were strapping my arms down on the table, I was thinking about how I would redecorate the nursery when Robbie and Charlie were old enough to share it as a bedroom. When I could feel them slicing me open, I was thinking about what books I'll require my sons to read before they graduate highschool...etc etc etc.

The hospital we were at this time rocked. Even though there was a strict no video policy for the OR, they said they'd let Jim know when they got to the "baby being born" part, so he could catch it on video. (important to me, since I can't see anything from my angle). Since I was lost in my own thoughts, and as calm as a cucumber (at this point). I wasn't expecting to burst into tears when he was born...but I did. Maybe it was the sound of awe and adoration in Jim's voice when he said "he's here". But I was so in love I saw my baby. I think I bonded a lot faster this time.

The only problem was, he didn't cry. It really scared me, because I knew it sometimes takes a minute before they start crying, but Robbie never did. I heard a nurse say "come on Robbie...cry for me." With the whole csection thing, and not getting his lungs compressed through the birth canal, I really wanted to know he was ok. They finally brought him over to me (he still hadn't cried). And I asked what his apgar was and they said 8 then 9. So I guess he was fine, he just wasn't that perturbed about being born. He never had any fluid in his lungs, he never coughed up any amniotic junk. He never had even a hint of low oxygen, or high respiration rates like I was prepared for. He was a perfectly healthy, happy, full term baby. The difference between full term and nearly term (Robbie and Charlie) is huge.

I was in and out of recovery in a flash. In recovery I did skin to skin, nursed Robbie for the first time (he was born an expert breastfeeder). Jim and I talked and coo'd and ooh'd over him. Got to my room which was super nice and homy. Our family and friends were all waiting. My one request was a turkey club sandwich... which I got...and consumed. I believe it may have been the best thing I've ever tasted in my life. My nurse (while nice) was having a fit about the sandwich. But I'd already cleared it with my doctor, so I ignored her. What was she going to do, rip the bloody sandwich out of my hands? (can you tell I was very attached to the sandwich).

It was late at this point in time...way past visiting hours, but again this hospital was super chill and didn't have a problem with my room full of people at 10pm as long as I was ok with it. We shoo'd everyone out and settled in for a long sleepless night. Except Robbie slept great... a little too great. I was worried he didn't want to breastfeed, but we did appreciate the rest.

And that's pretty much it. It was a good experience. I did have to wait 2 1/2 hours for my c-section. I knew when I came in that it was going to get delayed because the admissions lady told me there was a full moon the night before and labor and delivery was packed. When I got to my room there were 8 women at over 8 cm dilated and people were running around like crazy. I figured out of all least one of those statistically had to turn into a c-section. I should have checked the status of the moon before I booked my scheduled c-section. :wink:

I ended up knowing almost everyone who cared for me. The admissions lady was my Pastor's daughter, my labor and delivery nurse is a patient of Dr. Deckert's (where I work, and I have done all her breast cancer screenings). Another family friend worked in the billing dept and she stopped by. My lactation nurse was the wife of Dr. Deckert's old practice partner, as well as being another long time family friend. This hospital was the perfect combination of laid back and family friendly, while still being big and new and state of the art. All of the things I thought I was going to have to fight them on, were already policies at the hospital (except for the sandwich...ahem).

Recovery has been easy. I did get a urinary tract infection, but I don't know whether it's from the folley catheter, or a reaction to all the meds I've had, or if it's just because I'm prone to them.

Here's a video of his birth (don't watch it if that sort of thing grosses you out). For those of you who saw Charlie's birth video, you'll be impressed how much faster they got Robbie out.

He still continues to be the world's happiest baby (knock on wood). He eats, he sleeps, he talks, he looks around a lot, then he repeats the process. Jamie and Charlie both adore him a little too much (hullo baby squashers). But I think they are having a rough time subconsciously, because they're both uber clingy and needy all of the sudden.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Faceplant stunts and baby bumps

I have insecurity issues about my kids bike riding skills. I mean, they can scale the side of a cliff, identify eight different varieties of snake, and lose their shoes at the top of a tree somewhere, but bike riding? Not so great a skill around here. Charlie just flat out hates to pedal, I have to bribe him with his gummy multivitamin just to make sure he can still do it. And Jamie learned how to ride a bike last year, but since it's about as safe around here as wind surfing on Mars...he can't really do it without my supervision. Nothing is flat, there are rocks and crevices everywhere, the only good part is there are no busy streets or cars to worry about. Guiltily though, I haven't taken the time to help tackle the all terrain with him as much as I should.

The weather has conspired against me though. Southern California is locked in one of those La Nina years where it never rains, and is 75 and gorgeous every day. (except on the days where the devil gets mad and tears everything apart with high winds). Such a nice life...until the wildfires sweep through in 8 months... but we won't talk about that.

Consequently though, the nice whether has Jamie begging me outside to go bike riding with him, every single day. He doesn't really need my help...except to keep him from dying. So I jog alongside of him while he pedals happily around two or three acres like it's merely a walk around the living room. I should be grateful for the exercise. Considering the amount of food I'm putting away these days, it's probably solely Jamie's fault I don't weigh an extra hundred pounds. (although to be fair, Charlie does his fair share of keeping me active). Jamie's not terribly good at braking yet, and he's still in that stage where he thinks you have to pedal all the time. So even when he's careening down the driveway with his pregnant momma huffing and puffing distantly behind him. He's still pedaling with all his might while simultaneously bleating like a baby goat "MOMMMM helLLP! I'm going TOO FAST. I'M GOING TO DIE."


"I WANT TO DIE." Translation, 'I forgot how to brake'.

This is both why I do an don't freak out (very often) about where we live. Jamie is not the dangerous sort. He does lots of things that might freak other people out, but he is a fully in control kind of kid. Even on the rare occasion he's not in control (like careening madly down a hill), he'd rather pretend he is. In this instance however, I had visions of him flying off the hill and getting an impressive amount of air... something that wouldn't be terribly fun to land. So I ran like a mad woman after him, yelling at him to steer into a bush.

He did. Which promptly sent him over the handle bars where he landed spread eagle in a bush that swallowed him whole like Jonah and the whale. Typical boy though, he crawled out, climbed back on his bike and said "lets do that again." Meanwhile I'm holding my side with a evil braxton hicks and mentally lecturing Robbie to stay put and wait his turn. Please.

Charlie's drama lately, has been more tooth related. He normally is a champ at the dentist and doctor. In fact they do more on his teeth than any other three year old because he begs them. Normally they have a five minute teeth cleaning for three year olds, but Charlie will happily wear sunglasses and watch Nemo on the ceiling while they pick and clean away. I found out the hard way this is only because Jamie sets the bar high, and Charlie follows suit. I ended up at the dentist alone with Charlie who had four cavities to fill, and Charlie just flat out refused. Refused to stand on the scale to see how much sedation medicine he needed. Refused to eat the applesauce his medicine was in. Refused to let anyone touch him. I bribed, and ordered, and cajoled and begged, and finally the promise of a happy meal worked, and off he reluctantly went. Medicine doesn't work that well on him though (much like his older brother). The twilight sedation wore off in half the amount of time they were expecting it to, and they only got halfway done. Halfway done. They had to be joking. I barely got him in the first time, they were kidding themselves if they thought I could get him to go in again. Our options were either, get him back in and cooperating, or put him under general anesthesia. I had a good long heart to heart with Charlie about the rising cost of college education and how much general anesthesia would cost us (peppered with a liberal hint that maybe he should consider becoming an anesthesiologist when he grows up). But Charlie and I did not see eye to eye. "Not covered by insurance" was not an impressive enough reason to go anywhere near a dentist ever again (and we go to a really awesome-non scary pediatric dentist).

I was so desperate, I took him to the toy aisle and let him pick anything he wanted (which he would get after he had the rest of his cavities filled). He picked Woody, who waited patiently for him in the waiting room like the good sheriff he is. I don't know if it was the presence of Woody...or his magic older brother Jamie. But Charlie trotted back to the procedure room like a patient martyr and survived his oral sedation, laughing gas, and local anesthetic like a champ. He is not a very gracious person coming out of sedation though. More like a hungry bear coming out of hibernation. All growls, and scowls and thrashing around the couch when his pillow didn't behave properly.

I keep catching myself wondering how I'm going to take care of a baby. My kids are "easy" now. They can eat, pee and sleep without any help, but yet they still manage to keep me running after them at breakneck speed. I'm ok with Robbie staying put for awhile, but Jamie can't wait until he's here. He patted my belly this morning and told me quite honestly "You look funny mommy. Like you have a food belly, but only cuter because I know there's a baby in there." "Thanks honey, I like your tummy too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Baby penises and super powers

Some people might have a hard time remembering to date things with '2012' instead of '2011', but I am so far ahead of the game this year, I've already accidentally written '2013'. If I were really on the ball, I would have made sure it wasn't on doctor office paperwork and insurance information, but right now my brain only works in fits and sputters. There's no gold star though for being one year ahead. It just means when you make mistakes, insurance companies (which are already impossible to work with) become gaping black holes of evil... sucking all your money and sanity.

What I'm lacking these days in brain power, I make up in super power. Whenever I am pregnant, time speeds up to near hyper-jump speed. I feel like yesterday I found out I was pregnant, I blinked, and now I'm halfway done, I'll blink again and the baby will be here. I won't have his crib ready, or his nursery set up. His cloth diapers won't coordinate with his clothes, and I will be digging desperately through the garage for the boppy, swing, and all important breast pump. Everyone keeps telling me, all you need is diapers and a few onesies...and after all I have two other boys, it's not like I don't have eight rubbermaid bins full of boy stuff.

But to me it's like training for a race. You run your first 5k and you are impressed you even finished. But then you think maybe a 10 k would be fun. Then you find new running shoes. Then you start thinking silly things like improving your time, and running faster than the big hairy guy with the neon shirt and beeping pedometer. Every time you run a race you want to improve.

Blame my competitive first-born-ness, but to me, pregnancy is like the ultimate sporting event. It's like a marathon that takes nine months to cross the finish line. I've finished twice now, and this time I want everything to be perfect. Delusional? Probably. I'll add OCD to my list of pregnancy symptoms.

Jamie prayed for two years for a baby...a sister, so when he found out a new sibling was en route, he naturally assumed it was a girl. After all, why would God only answer half his prayer? That's just silly. If He's going to go through the trouble of listening to a 6 year old at all, God might as well answer the whole thing. Needless to say, "unhappy" is too mild of a word for his reaction when he found out the baby in mom's tummy was a boy. It wasn't that he was devastated, it was more like opening a package from Amazon and realizing they sent you the wrong thing. You very matter-of-factly send it back and ask for the correct one.

It's taken months for him to grapple with the idea of having another boy in the family, but he finally stopped scowling whenever anyone mentioned Robbie, and he started talking to my belly every now and then with a "hey, I got here first, just so you know". In the end, logic always prevails. I wasn't sure what brought about the change of heart until I overheard him tell Charlie. "We're having a baby brother because God ran out of baginas up in heaven and He only had penises left."

So there you go. This apparently is the reason I'm embroidering owls onto hand made baby rompers instead of flowers onto little dresses. :-)