Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Welcome to Malka's prom Date!

Mr and Mrs. Miao have finally welcomed their son into the world - and if all goes well, he'll be taking Malka to the Prom in about 16 years...

Welcome to "Mini Miao"

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Off to the allergist.....

So we brought Malka in to the doctor's today, to talk about her eczema, which seems to be getting worse.

He looked at her, and confimred the ezcema, but wants us to go see an allergist before we start her on solids, and before we go to a dermatologist. He was glad to hear that she's not bothered by it. She only itches her eyes, but we think that's because we don't really want to put the aquaphor too near her eyes.

When he said allergist, my heart started racing. What if she's allergic to the cats? He said even if she is, it's (the dander and hair) all over the place, so getting rid of them wouldn't solve the problem. Small relief. (but I'm still nervous about it)

She's still (bless her heart) a totally happy baby, and she's not really bothered by the eczema. (Baruch HaShem).

So we're calling the allergists on Tuesday, and setting up appointments.

And we have a date to see her birth mom on June 5th. We're looking forward to it, but I hope we have some answers before then.

And that my anxiety lessens before then, too.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I love my Imahot

I love my Imahot, originally uploaded by shellipsm.

My friend Amy is making this into a bib for Malka to wear at Pride!

Steppin In Style Boutique

g'on, go and give her a visit now, y'hear!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I pick YOU!

Inspired by the guest blogger at An Accident of Hope, I feel compelled to share that YES. I pick my nose. (gasp, shock, horror). I even go after rogue wedgies. All of this IN PUBLIC. Much to Narda's shagrin, mind you.

I also tend to feel that, "Hey, we ALL do it." And I"m OK with public "finger nail" versions of nose picking, but I put my foot down at full finger insertion.

How about you?

(PS - there are still a few interview spots left - so be sure to sign up before the blue light special ends!)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Monday, May 22, 2006

the interview...

Mo from Bike Ridin Mama has asked me the following questions:

1) What do you miss most and least about Portland living in NYC?

I miss the real estate, the trees, the beauty of nature, the sense of community, the ease of being organic and "green," instead of having to convince our co-op board to switch to green power because it's the right thing to do. I miss having a front yard, a back yard, excellent schools, and family being close.

I love that we don't need a car - for economic and enviromental reasons. I love living steps away from Central Park, THAI food, Fresh Direct (grocery delivery service), cultural diversity in the sense that it actually doesn't matter that Narda and I are a bi-racial Jewish couple with a black Jewish daughter. It really doesn't matter. Which is awesome. Because it would matter in many other places. I love our synagogue, the ease at being a gay family, BROADWAY, the fact that we can see the Empire State Building from our roof (when we sneak up there...)

2) What about being a mom has been different from what you expected?

Oh my goodness. It's SOOOO different than I anticipated. I thought with my experience with kids that it would be MUCH MUCH easier than it actually is! It's VERY hard work, and the amount of stress and worrying that I do amazes me. I realize now that I have inherited my grandmother's worry gene. Seriously. I used to reassure her ALL THE TIME, but now I get it. I worry about Malka's eczema, about her diaper rash, about if she's getting ENOUGH or TOO MUCH sleep, if she's going to the bathroom enough, it's amazing the amount of things I can worry about. I think that was my biggest expectation that was blown out of the water...

3) What are some of your hopes for Malka? (I know, kind of broad!)

I hope she grows up with self confidence and the ability to be grateful. I want for her to be mindful of other people's feelings and to be aware of her own, knowing that it's OK to express them. That's pretty much it, really. Although if she became a famous doctor, that wouldn't hurt...

4) What new craftiness are you dying to do when you have time?

I still have my quilt squares that I'm working on, and I'd LOVE to finish those! I'm also wanting to finish up all of my "started" projects and complete one! But I also want to finish decorating Malkas room, and cleaning ours, and getting her scrap book started. I'm really good at starting crafty projects, but finishing them is another story...

5) We talked about hydrangeas in my chemistry classes this week. Any guesses as to what we were talking about? (Alternate question: besides hydrangeas, what other plants/flowers do you think are pretty?)

Ha! Easy one from the science teacher! (Now remember, I worked for OMSI for 6 years! I created a "soil erosion" demo, and worked at Outdoor school as a Soil aide; so I'm kind of a secret science geek) You were testing PH of the soil. I keep ALL coffee grounds, and SLATHER the soil around my hydrangeas with it, in an effort to make BLUE Hydrangeas.

I'm also a BIG fan of roses, being from Portland and all. And I also like Lavender.

If you want to play too, leave me a comment saying "interview me." The first five commenters will be the participants.

* I will respond by asking you five questions.
* You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
* You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
* When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Sleep Training, or Why I spent the night at Bobby's Saturday night...

So before the folks who are "anti-CIO" whomp on me, let me share the following scenario:

Malka's bedtime routine is lovely - the three B's: "Bath, Bottle, Book," and a lot of snuggling, singing, rocking and in about 10 minutes - BAM - out like a light.

For about 2 hours. Wash, rinse, repeat. Except the falling BACK asleep took about 1.5 hours.

For about 2.5 hours. Wash, rinse, repeat. Except the falling BACK asleep took about 1 hour.

For about 3 hours. Wash, rinse, repeat. Up for the day at 5:15 or so am.

And Narda, the world's BEST partner, took the lion's share of nights, as I was on duty with Malka ALL DAY LONG, who, by the by, would only take 40 minute naps, and sometimes a 2 hour nap IF we were lucky. I am now back at work, and Narda's on day duty for the summer.

Through it all, Malka is STILL a mostly happy baby, but her cranky moments were getting bigger and bigger and bigger. All due to sleep deprivation - not ours, but HERS.

Her pediatrician recommended sleep training about a month ago, but we weren't ready, we thought she was too little, and wanted to wait for her to be at least 5 months. Her babysitter said she is SO ready for sleep training, she just needs to learn to soothe herself to sleep - she's almost there, but keeps waking herself up...

So we make a plan. We'll do the "combo method" (Ferber/Weisbluth). We'll check on her in 5, then 10, and then 15 minutes, and we'll feed her AFTER midnight. (As one of the doctor's in the ped's office said: "she has 'reserves,' she'll be fine.")

Friday night we are all set, I'm a wee nervous - we do the 3 B's, and instead of rocking her to sleep, we snuggle a bit more, put her down in her crib, sing a few songs to her, hand on belly, tell her how much we love her. And leave.the.room.

My heart begins to break into a million little pieces already, but I'm a strong woman, and it's "all good." She cries for about 5 minutes, and is OUT.LIKE.A.LIGHT. We look at one another, and think - No, SURELY, it can't be THIS easy - but we even watch a movie. I pop up to go in and check on her every 45 minutes or so, just to make sure she's OK. So she went to sleep at 7:45pm. After the movie, I go to bed, pop in the ear plugs, and settle my head down on the pillow. It's about 11pm now. And she wakes up. Crying. I pop up, remove the earplugs, and instinctually start for her room. Narda says to wait a few minutes, to see if she will calm herself. We do the 5, 10, 15. But wait - I can BARELY make it to 5, and I start crying, saying, "I'll do nights until she's 30, I HAVE to go into my baby." And Narda doing her best to console ME, when we need to focus on consoling Malka. We go in, and put hands on her belly, lovingly, I'm fighting back tears, we tell her we love her, and we leave the room after she settles. She starts crying again. I lose it. I envision all kinds of awful, evil things that are happening to my baby, I'm picturing years of therapy for abandoment issues, all kinds of horrible things. I literally push Narda out of the way, crying hysterically and pick up Malka, holding her closer than I ever have before. I tell Narda to make a bottle, I feed Malka, (still crying, mind you), and rock her to sleep. She's asleep from midnight to 2:30am, and I go to her again, and feed her. She goes back down at 3:20 or so, and is asleep until about 4:30am, where I go in and rock her back to sleep, and she's good until 6am; where I make Narda take her for a bit, and I sleep.

Realizing that sleep training is a complete and total disaster for me, we decide that I'll spend the night at Bobby's Saturday night, and be home by 6am where I'll take the morning shift. It was Bobby's birthday, and a bunch of us went out for dinner. It was my FIRST "night out" since having Malka in our lives, and MAN, was I POOPED by 10pm. And dinner wasn't served until 11. The two glasses of wine, and the constant calls to Narda helped. I bowed out at about 11:40 or so, kissed all goodnight, and took a cab to Bobby's where I played with Biscuit for about 10 minutes (She has the CUTEST little butt wiggle - she wiggles her ENTIRE hind end when she's happy - I can't even begin to describe the cuteness) And I'm out by midnight, up at 6, and in a cab home.

So basically what transpired Saturday night was: we put Malka to bed at 7:40, and I left for dinner with Bobby. She slept until 8:20. She woke up screaming, and it took about 28 minutes of demonic posessed screaming and she went back out. (Narda's recount of the events, not my words) She slept until 11:50pm. She woke up crying, and continued to do so for about 10 minutes. She woke back up at 1:50am, Narda fed her, and she cried from 2:00 to 2:15, and then was out from 2:15 to 6am. When I came home and was with Malka at this point.

Sunday was a completely new chapter, however! She took 2 AMAZING naps yesterday - from 10:30am to 11:50am, and from 2:15pm to 4:50pm! We put her to bed at 8pm, after our 3 B's and LOTS of snuggling and singing, and she was asleep in 3 minutes. She didn't wake up until 1:50am. That's 6 hours folks! Narda fed her, and she was back asleep in less than 30 minutes - from waking to diaper change to bottle feed and back asleep - LESS than 30 minutes! She started squaking/talking at 5:37am, but stopped at 5:47am. She's STILL asleep, and it's 7:30am. We're looking at 11 out of 12 hours here. I AM IN SHOCK.

It actually WORKS. I was a mess, but I can now tolerate 5 minutes of whiny crying when just 3 days ago, I could not. Malka is learning to soothe herself to sleep, which is a VERY important lesson we all need to learn. The best part? Malka wakes up HAPPY and content. She is now about to wake up, as I just heard a noise, but hey - I'll take 11 out of 12 ANY day, as opposed to 7 out of 12 on most days. It's MUCH healthier for Malka to sleep longer than she had been.

We'll see how each day continues, but I think we are on the road to healthy sleep for ALL of us...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

5 months old!

Where oh WHERE has the time gone?! I look at little babies, at babies of friends, and Narda and I keep saying to ourselves that Malka was NEVER that small! Malka is just a BIG girl - she's not terribly fat, in that "needs to be in her own issue of the Enquirer" kind of fat, she's just BIG - long, big bones, "solid." She's 21 pounds, and 25 and 1/2 inches long.

She still has her rotavirus, but the dookie situation is MUCH better - instead of toxic sludge that looks and smells like radioactive waste, it's looking more like human waste product - well, the baby version, anyway - let's just leave it at "creamed corn." And I'll let you come to your own visual.

One of our nick names for her is "sock-dini." She can remove her socks faster than you can say "where's your other sock, baby girl?" Which is usually followed by a "where were we last?" walk around the apartment, where we usually find a lone sock on the floor, all lonesome and wondering where its friend went.

She's still not rolling over, but she is threatening to! She starts to get the hang of it, then gets frustrated with her right arm - she's not quite sure where it's supposed to go. Actually, I get that same frustration when I try to sleep - I'd rather just remove the said arm, it would make sleeping on my side much more comfy.

She has discovered more of her vocal cords, sadly sometimes in this grunting thing she does - it's terribly amusing to her, not so much to the rest of New York City, but since she's so amused, it's cute. She can laugh at the silliest things - like her Eemaoht dancing. if she's cranky, or threatening to lose it, or bored, all we have to do is break out into a silly dance, and she's SO amused!

Her grin MELTS ME. It's a big open smile, and I get the biggest ones in the morning when I go into her room and look down on her in the crib, and when I come home from work. It's a grin that is just reserved for me, and I'll give her ANYTHING she wants, as long as I get to see that grin every day.

Did I mention the teething? The doctor we saw on Sunday (one of five in the practice, but not her usual Pediatrician) said her upper gums were "bulging" and with her constant drooling and sticking ANYTHING in her mouth - esp. my knuckles, well, we're just waiting for the first one to pop...

She is really good at being social, and she LOVES being out amongst folks. She has two main babysitters, and she loves them both. They are very different - one is old world, and doesn't speak much English, but is SOOOO amazing with her, and the other is a young grad student who also happens to be an actor. Malka gets on famously with both of them. (thank goodness)! We are in the middle of every NYC parent's dilema - daycare. We don't need her to be IN daycare until August, but NYC being what it is, we apparantly should have gotten onto waiting lists when we first started TRYING to have a baby, back in 2003. We think the daycare closest to our home, which is brand spanking new, will have a spot for Malka, as long as we start paying in June. A friend of Narda's did the math for us, and we'd STILL save money by paying for 2 unused months of daycare there as opposed to the more expensive ones on the Upper East side. Go figure.

She also has mild eczema - mostly in random splotches - a few here and there - as long as we keep her "slathered in Aquaphor," she's fine. We have 1% Hydrocortizone cream to use if it gets bad, but for now, it's managable.

She is using more and more of the toys in her exersaucer, although she has yet to figure out how to turn around on her own in the thing. She stands REALLY well with support, and can sit up all on her own for almost a minute at a time. She loves doing ab work, as any time she's laying down, she basically does crunches - I guess she's "past" the whole being flat on her back thing and wants more interaction with the world. Our constant reading to her is paying off - she looks at the books as we read them, and tries to help turn the pages.

This is my 3rd day back at work, and it's mixed. There's a LOT of clean-up to do from when the temp was here - the most diplomatic response I heard was: "For her age and experience, she did the best she could." (insert snicker here) So I'm doing things now like calling the registrar's office and asking for extensions to turn in the FINAL grade rosters which were due Friday, but the temp simply "couldn't get around to doing it" (or so the post it note she left me stated... granted, she HAD it for OVER a month). So lots of little "messes" like that. But it's great to be using other quadrants of my brain, besides the one that sings the same songs over and over again. I do, however, miss Malka, and so I therefore have to figure out how to leave the office earlier, in order to have more time at home with her before I put her to bed at 7:30.

Speaking of sleep, she's doing GREAT in her own room! She'll sleep from about 7:30 to 1:30, when Narda gives her a bottle, and then is back out in about 1/2 an hour, and then she's up again around 4:30 for another bottle, and is back down in about 1/2 an hour until I'm up with her at 6, and then I get 2 hours or so and she's down for a small morning nap at 8ish. And I leave for work between 8 and 8:15.

On Mother's Day, Narda and I kept saying "Happy Mother's Day" to one another, almost with a "pinch me" tone. We STILL will say things like: "Hey baby," "yeah?" "did you know we have a baby?" "no shit!?" "wow."

Yeah, wow.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Malka's version of a rotavirus... (or a fun way to spend Mother's day)!

It's official, she's got a rotavirus. Thankfully, she hasn't dropped weight (a sign of dehydration) and she hasn't puked and there's no temprature spike.

She has, however, had the MOST toxic dirrahea for the past 3 days, and the doctor said it could last for up to 10 days (UGH)!

She's eating her formula, however, so that's a good sign. And as you can see, she's a happy happy girl, even at the doctor's office.

And for the record - 20 pounds, 13 ounces. (ZOINKS) and 25 and one half inches - and she'll be 5 months old on Wednesday...

Friday, May 12, 2006

What goes around....

Tuesday night I went to bed feeling a little "funny."

I woke up at 3am with all of the obvious signs of the flu, or food poisoning, or a stomach virus, or what you will. I spent the next day, one which I was supposed to go to work for a big faculty retreat, in bed, while (thankfully), the sitter was here with Malka. I could not be vertical for more than 20 minutes. It was horrid. Gatorade was my friend. That was all I had for 2 days. Just last night, Thursday night, I got my appetite back, but I'm still sticking to the bland diet, and pushing the Gatorade a bit, for good measure.

We thought I would be the only victim of the (as diagnosed by the on-call nurse at my doctor's office) stomach virus, but today, Malka wouldn't finish her morning formula. OH OH. Red flag, erp. After she flat out refused her later bottle, I called the doctor, who suggested Pedialyte, clear fluids, rest and lay off the formula for a bit until she felt better. If she got a fever, we were to give her tylenol. She went down for her nap at 11:45 after an ounce of Pedilyte, and slept SO well, for 2 and one half hours. At the cooing and babble that called me from the monitor, I waltzed into her room, where I was stopped IN MY TRACKS by the most toxic smell of baby dookie I've ever experienced. I had Narda on the phone, and all I could say was WOAH, and start giggling, and I'll have to call you back. Malka seemed mildly annoyed by the inconvience of the blow out, but she was still giving me giggles and grins. Let me tell you, I have been OFFICIALLY inducted into motherhood, as all moms who clean up a diarrheal blow-out are. I mean it was literally EVERYWHERE. I went through almost an entire package of wipes. (I would have plopped her in the bath, but at 21 pounds, and not quite sitting up solo yet, baths are a two person job).

She's been feeling pretty groovey since, we went out for a walk, she's had about 8 ounces of Pedialyte, she's responsive and giggly and grins and chats with us, but WOAH, was that some serious dookie action! She hasn't had formula since about 11am, but she's not puking, and there's no fever. We're nervous to re-introduce formula, but we know she needs it. We might do a watered down version before bed in an hour.

Our poor baby!

I just hope Narda is spared the nasty stomach virus!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

To all of you, no matter where on the journey you are...

For many of us, this Sunday is a first. A first day to celebrate a coming through the murkiest sludge of pain into the light that we have known. A first as partners to share in a new experience. A first to hear what we have so long wanted to hear for so many years. To my dear friends who are now mothers, I say to you, Happy Mother's Day!

Jen and Cait
Em and Brooke
Kwynne and Pam
Mrs. and Mr. Miao
Jennifer and Susan
Estelle and Jean
Maria and Julie
Dora and Erin
Hope and Megan
Conchita and Ann
Jess and Andy
And FINALLY, Ilyse!

For many of you who read this, you are still struggling with your own journey, and are frustrated as to the length of the path. It is impossible to know the actual square footage of the path you are on, but it does have an end, and a joyous one at that. I know you may not see that now, but I pray that you can trust me on this, and therefore, to YOU I say happy Mother's Day!

S, dear, sweet, S
Tex and Blondie

My heart is happier knowing each of you.

Thank you.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Where did it go?

I started my eight week Leave of absence seven weeks ago. I am actually going into work tomorrow for a big faculty retreat, but after that, Monday is "return to work day." We need the money, I'm WAY psyched to go, but I'm TOTALLY depressed about it, as well.

It's been DAMN HARD work being a SAHM (stay at home mom), but I would not have traded it for the world. I have been there to see all of Malka's milestones, and her giggles and grins AMAZE me and make my heart BURST with glee. EVEN with the pain of sleep deprivation, the anxiety of Malka doing something different (which of course in my mind means she's sick or something, but actually according to all of my mommy friends just means she's learning new things and growing - DOH! Who knew they could do that!) and the stress of keeping a house clean and a relationship in order, it's been great. If we could afford it, I would consider being home more.

I LOVE my job, and I'm excited to go back, but I will miss Malka.

We were away this past weekend, for a retreat with our synagogue,
and we left Malka with one of the babysitters provided by the retreat, and I cried - long and hard, and laughed at the same time from the embarassment - all of the moms there got it - it was the first time someone ELSE had put my baby to bed. I was a MESS. Thank G-d they all understood.

So I think returning to work will be a mix of both - I am excited to use other parts of my brain again, but I will hurt for Malka's company. This is why we are struggling with a bedtime right now. I want to follow Malka's lead to go to be earlier, but it will be really hard to leave work before 5:30 in order to make it home to have time with her before she goes to sleep.

I am envious of Narda who gets time off of work when there isn't work happening - she is a professor, and has no classes during the summer. My leave was peppered with calls from the temp a few times a week, and sometimes a few times a day.

So all of this to say, it's going to be hard. In so many ways.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

In praise of...

The "City" button on the white noise machine - after Malka falls asleep in her stroller, I can wheel her into the bedroom, crank up the volume on the white noise machine, and she's STILL sleeping. (she usually wakes up about 5 minutes after we get home)