Saturday, February 28, 2009

My First Cold

I baby with a cold has to be one of the most pathetic things. Dean got his first real cold a week or so ago. It wasn't too bad. No fever, just a booger nose and coughing. He started waking up a few times during the night due to a stuffy nose, but it never really damped his spirits...just mine. I slept very lightly that week, always on the alert for wheezing and bad coughing. Other than being a little extra clingy and wanting only to nap in my arms, he seemed fairly normal. He let me take his temperature daily (which can't be fun at all), squirt saline solution up his nose, stick a booger sucker up his nose, and rub ointment all over his extrachapped face. Good sport. I can't imagine what it is like for a parent to have a truely sick child. My cousin's newborn was hospitalized recently for pneumonia, and my friend's 5 month old was hospitalized for another type of virus. Scarey stuff. I am so thankful for the health of this little guy.

Josh and I are not the type of people that are overly germ conscious. In fact, we are almost on the other end of the spectrum. We are more in the "dirt makes you stronger" category. We are both avid hikers and have enjoyed long weeks of eating with dirty hands, wearing the same clothes for days on end, and sleeping in small tents with dirty dogs. We fully plan to encourage Dean to do the same. Some people keep their dogs at a distance from their babies, worrying about what they could introduce to their children. Not us. We love to lay Dean on the dogs, and what him play with Cooper's slobbery jowls. We try to keep the face licking to a minimum, but if they are having fun we let him go to town and clean up where we can. Dean is on the verge of crawling and I know that as soon as he is mobile he will have his mouth on everything. Now, I don't want him picking up dog doo in the yard, but a mouthful of dirt isn't going to kill him. I refuse to be an overprotective mom. Plus, people are dirtier than dogs!

Friday, February 27, 2009

The last month...I can fly!

The last month has flown by. Dean is now almost 5 months old. Since my last post we have been to Michigan to visit Grammy and Grandpa, had our first baby cold, visited Aunt Lauren and Uncle Zach in DC, and been caught in middle of the woods in the rain. I'll start with our visit to MI...

We decided it was time to show Dean off to the Michigan Barricklows and booked tickets for a week long trip. During the month before the flight I constantly fretted over what the flight was going to be like with a 4 month old. I heard horror stories, and bore witness to such stories, of screaming babies. I received tidbits of advice on how to keep the pressure from bothering them ranging from feeding during take off and landing, to swimmer's wax in the ears. Unfortunately our flights went through Charlotte and I knew there was no way that feedings would coordinate with take off and landings of 2 flights. So I grabbed an asortment of pacifiers and spent the month trying to get Dean to like them...or even to tolerate them long enogh for take off and landing time. No luck. We get on the first plane going to Charlotte. It's a 35 minutes flight so you are always climbing or decending. Luckily Dean's second breakfast is timed perfectly with our scheduled take off. One problem solved...or so I thought. I get the bottle ready, Dean is on my lap protesting loudly (he can see the bottle and it is just out of his reach. He doesn't understand how I could be so cruel.), we taxi out, I start the feeding, and just as the bottle touches Dean's lips the pilot comes on to say that there is a delay and we have to wait 45 minutes. Crap. Well, there is no way I can take the bottle away and try again in 45 minutes. We'd have a royal tantrumon our hands. Dean sucks the bottle down and starts to whine for more. Just then the most amazing thing happened. He fell asleep!!! Not only did he fall asleep without much fuss, and not at normal naptime, but he stayed asleep until we landed!! Now, of course every flight didn't go this well, but he did fall asleep for at least part of every flight and never made much of a fuss. It was great!!

OK, so enough flight talk. On to MI...

Josh's parents, Grammy and Grandpa (and their dogs Wilsona nd Indy), were SO excited at our arrival. Or should I say, Dean's arrival.

We spent the week taking Dean around to friends and family, showing him off. He was quite a hit. The change of location and all the new sights and people threw him off a little bit, but overall he did really well. It was a lot of fun to see him interacting with his grandparents and beginning to recognize their faces. We happened to go to MI during the warmest week of the winter. The day before arriving they had 18 inches of beautiful white snow. The day we arrived it was 55 degrees and that beautiful snow had turned to black mush. It remained around 40-50 degrees the rest of the week. I have to say, MI is beautiful in the winter...WHEN THERE IS SNOW. Lucky for us the day before we left it snowed 4 inches. While the guys were out plowing snow (Dave has a snow plow business), Bronwyn and I bundled Dean up and took him out to "play in the snow".

He would open his mouth and stick out his tongue as the flakes fluttered down on his face. How would he know to do that? he surprises me like that. He's only 5 months old (4 months when this was happening) and you can see him trying to figure everything out. He loves to touch everything. not just touch, but really feel it. He doesn't have a huge amount of control with his individual fingers, and hasn't mastered the use of pointer-thumb pinches, but he concentrates so hard on trying to make them work. Imagine if we continued to grow and learn at the rate that babies do. Well, I can say one thing. Our heads would stay hugely misproportunate since our brains would continue to grow bigger and bigger.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I can do it on my own

We have some friends in town that moved to Paris a few years ago. They have a 5 month old little girl named Eloise. I bought a baby entertainer (doesn't that sound like we're hiring a clown to come play with Dean?) so we had another stationary object that we could put one of the babies in. I didn't realize that Dean was nowhere near big enough to actually enjoy it. He is average height, but still can't touch the ground when sitting in it. The seat seems to be big enough around so that a 50 pound baby could sit in it comfortably. We had to roll up 3 blankets to stuff around Dean so he won't flop over. Of course, this erect position means that he can hardly reach any of the entertainment. I put him in it the day I got it and he just stared at me with a look like, "Really Mom? What the hell am I supposed to do with this?" Eloise seems to really enjoy it though. She bounces, hits the music keys, spins the frog.

It's amazing the difference between Dean and Eloise's strength and control, and they are only 3 1/2 weeks apart. Eloise is a vibrant, incredibly active little girl. Dean is a more of an observer. Having the two of them together helped me see Dean's personality even clearer. I think he is a lot like Josh and I were as babies (at least from what we are told). He's pretty quiet, and loves to just sit and watch everything around him. He also seems very planned in his actions. You can see him thinking about how to get that plastic chicken into his mouth without having to let go of the rattle he has in his hand. Or how to stick his finger in his nose AND his mouth at the same time. It's been so great to see how Eloise and Dean react to one another. Dean watches in fascination while Eloise kicks her feet with the force of a pro soccer player. I imagine Eloise is then fascinated by the waterfall that is pouring from Dean's mouth as he stares at her. Ah, young love.

Waterfalls and Lipstick Rings

Dean is a drooler. There's no going around it. He loves to stick his hands and anything else he can grab, into his mouth. He especially loves the reaction he gets when makes a raspberry sound with those things in his mouth. Who could blame him though. The reflection of lights and colors off the spray of saliva as it flies through the air is breathtaking. And the way your whole face feels cool and damp as the air hits the puddles forming on your cheeks, magnificent. At least, that's what he seems to think. Well, I got tired of mopping him up every 10 seconds so I just stuck a bib on him and let him go. Bad Mommy. He developed such horrible chapped cheeks that he looks like he has a lipstick ring around his mouth. I now not only have to mop him every 10 seconds, but I have to apply all kinds of lotions and salves to the red areas. I'm not entirely sure that the Baby Kisses salve that I got for him really works though. It's basically just petroleum jelly and he rubs it off within 5 minutes anyway. Lotions are good, but only when he won't be rubbing his face around (so basically never). I even used Bert's Beeswax chapstick, which seems to help it heal, but I think it burns some on the really raw areas. Plus he gets it in his mouth and seems to hate the taste. I thought of putting zinc oxide on him after he's fallen asleep at night. Wouldn't that be cute.

Every baby drools. Some, obviously, more than others. And they drool even more when teething. So what will my little guy look like when the teeth are coming in? He's going to need a huge bib that has shoulder wings and a completely waterproof lining.