Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sickness Strikes!!

We've had a relatively healthy first 7.5 months of Sophia's life. There was a brief sickness back in December that Sophia caught from me, but we both persevered. She slept all the time then anyway, so chasing away a bug was easy.
Fast forward to last Thursday. It has been extremely hot and humid here in Boston over the past week. Despite Dave and my penchant for true New England suffering, we felt it was in Sophia's best interest to install an A/c unit in her window. The trick was getting the setting cool enough to be refreshing and good sleeping weather, but warm enough not to turn her into a penguin.

Around midnight, Sophia woke me up by crying. It was an extremely unusual cry that I hadn't heard from her before. I went in to check on her and when I picked her up - she was a hot water bottle! I quickly got her out of her sleep slack and found the thermometer to take her temp (we're still going the armpit route). 102 degrees!!
I gave her some Tylenol, which she promptly puked back up. This caused me to wake up Dave and he held and rocked her while I called the on-call doctor at our peditrician's office. She called back within 10 minutes - great response time in my book!

After I explained the situation (and made sure to tell her I wasn't roasting her in her room with the humidity) She said our best bet was for me to nurse her and see if she'd take more Tylenol (she did) and go back to sleep. I could take her in to the office when it opened in the morning. So, after a night of nursing almost every hour, I took her in at 9 to our fabulous doctor. Sophia's fever had broken by this point and was only about 99, which was a relief.
Dr. Tomkins said that she probably had just caught a little virus and it (happily!) didn't look like an ear infection. Just keep an eye on her and give Tylenol when she seemed to need it.

It was a relief to know there was no ear infection, but as the weekend progressed, she descended into the land of mucus and phlegm. Yum. My heart was just breaking, though, every time she coughed or sneezed one of those big snot bubbles. (If only she could blow her own nose!!) Sophia was very clear that she did not want us to invade her personal space (i.e. nose/mouth) to clean her up. It took Dave basically pinning her down and receiving multiple kicks to the Adam's Apple for me to be able to suction out her nose with the bulb. As much as she hated it, we saw how relieved she was afterwards to be able to breathe through her nose, at least for a little while.

Another side effect of this (besides the not sleeping much at night - she would cough herself awake and start crying almost every hour) was lack of interest in eating. Solid foods were just a big no freaking way and breastfeeding (and even the bottle) was difficult. She hadn't figured out how to breathe out of the high side of her mouth while eating so she would take a big breath like she was diving under water each time she went to eat.

Happily, it looks like we've turned the corner. She's back to sleeping through the night and while she is still quite phlegmy, she is clearly happy and excited to be outside in the not so humid air.
It's never easy to see your child sick - it breaks my heart to not really be able to do anything - but I know that she is just building up a big, strong immune system. Just in time to eat some more sand at the beach!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day

Sunday was Dave's first Father's Day. In general, he is not a big holiday celebrator, but we thought it would be fun to mark the day with some treats.

I had posed the question to some friends on Facebook earlier in the month about their favorite Father's Day gifts to give or receive. I got a ton of wonderful ideas (homemade and otherwise).
The one I settled on was a photo set of Sophia holding up the letters DAD.
I enlisted the help of my neighbors Brendon & Katina (who are far more creative than I will ever be!) to help set the scene and manage Sophia.

Now that she is sitting up on her own, it is fun and easy to engage her. These were two of the great test shots:


Then it was game time. At first, I thought just handing her the paper would work. Silly me - she has a penchant for the crinkly sound of the paper. Sophia quickly decided it would be more fun to eat and crunch than hold:

But we were able to get a bunch of great shots once we mounted the letters on cardboard. Here are the final ones we landed on:

Dave was thrilled- I framed the three shots in a nice wooden frame.
Sophia also gave us both a lovely gift - 2 long naps, which enabled both Dave & I to get long runs in and then subsequent veg/nap sessions on the couch. A perfect day all around.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Neuroscientist in Training...

At least, that is what Sophia's new onesie says.

Yesterday, we participated in a study at Children's Hospital in Boston. They were studying babies perception of male and female faces as it related to their primary caregiver. I had to fill out a chart of how much time I spent solo with Sophia, how much time Dave spent with her solo and then the time we both spent with her over the course of a week. The women running the study were awesome and so great with Sophia. Being the ham she is, she had them laughing and giggling with her in no time!

After some playtime and paperwork, we went into a room where Sophia sat on my lap and was shown almost 160 images of male and female faces. In order to record how she was perceiving/responding to the photos, she donned a "sponge cap" which would measure the response in her brain. There were 30+ sponges soaked in water that were able to conduct the energy emitted from her brain and record them for the researchers. I think she looks pretty darn cute:

After she looked at the photos, they took off the fun cap and we headed out for a short break. Here's the "after" photo:

Good thing it was bath night! :)

We got to go to the prize closet. It holds a host of goodies. Happy that Sophia is still too young to really be overwhelmed by it. She got a great dragonfly teething rattle. After the fun, we went back in for 5 more minutes of "memory recall" pictures.
When the study was over, the researchers commented that Sophia had a really long attention span for her age. They were quite impressed. Yea for my little researcher!

I love the idea of helping science and research. And I'm hoping it sets a good example for Sophia.

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A day in the life of Sophia - 7 months

I'm totally nicking this idea from a fellow friend and blogger (thanks Abbie!)

The biggest thing I heard from all my mom friends while I was pregnant was to get the baby on a schedule. Some swore by the schedule, down to the minute, while others encouraged a little leniency (give or take 30 minutes). But the common theme was having a schedule will make life easier for the baby and for you.

I definitely subscribe to this - it's just my nature. After working full-time for almost ten years, living and dying by my day planner, then Palm Pilot and finally Blackberry, schedules and lists made my world go round.

It was interesting during the first few months - we didn't have a schedule per se, but rather a general flow to the day. But we both knew what was going to happen - nap and/or eat every two hours (don't you wish as an adult someone told you to eat and sleep every two hours!!)

Now, at 7 months, we really seem to have developed a pattern that I think is a good fit. So here it goes:

5:30-6:30am - At some point during this hour, Sophia wakes up. She generally plays in her crib quietly, having a lovely conversation with her giraffes. When the conversation starts getting overly animated, or I her squeaking, it means it's time to get out of bed. (The squeaking means that Sophia is chewing on the leg of her Raffi doll - a sure sign of her carnivorous habits!)

6:30-7:00am - I nurse Sophia in the glider in her room. It's quite a soothing way for both of us to wake up in the morning. When she's done, I change her diaper and we head out to the living room. By this point, Dave is usually awake now too, so he gets a little snuggle time in.

7:00-8:15am - Play time! First stop - the jumperoo so mommy can get some laundry done and everything Sophia just ate stays in her tummy while she's upright!

When that's done, we head out to the playmat

Then, we do our tummy time:

Finally, a little sit up time (our newest skill):

8:15-9:30 - Nap time! Sleep lasts about an hour, but we have a nice little routine to settle down for the nap and sometimes (if I'm lucky) Sophia will play a little after she wakes up.

9:30-12:00 - Food time, errands and playtime
We do a nursing session on one side and then to the high chair for food. She always has a little toy entertainment while I get her food ready. In honor of the World Cup this week:

This week we introduced yogurt (Pear flavored Yo-Baby - yum!). It's kind of a mess - which is really a theme of our solid eating experience - but she really likes it. If she's still hungry, I give her a little applesauce with some cereal, either rice or oatmeal, mixed in. Trying to make sure she gets all her iron needs met! A quick clean up/mop up and then it's back for a top-off of nursing.

After an outfit change, it's out the door - to the park for the swings or out to the grocery store or Target to run our errands. The grocery store has become one of our favorite places, just because there is so much visual stimulation.

12:00-2:00pm - Naptime for Sophia and lunch for mom. In general, Sophia's naps last for 45 minutes (the morning one can last a bit closer to an hour). We're trying to stretch out the 2nd nap to start later and last longer so we can drop the 3rd nap. We'll see how that works.

2:00-6:30pm - Nursing, playtime and outside time. This is when we really get outside - to the park, long walks in the stroller, trips to the Children's Museum and mommy stroller runs. A lot of times, Sophia's 3rd nap will happen in the stroller while we walk on the river. It's kind of a win - win. I get adult interaction, we both get fresh air, and she gets a nap. I figure if two of three naps are in the crib each day and the other is a "fresh air" nap, then we're good.

6:30-7:30pm - Bath, bottle and bed
The quiet down time of the evening. She gets a bath every other day, though I have to say that she looks so darn cute I could see it every night!

After the bath is her 7oz bottle with either mom or dad, then a few books, lullaby and bed.
And then we start it all again the next morning. :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Elusive Tooth makes an appearance

After close to 6 weeks, we finally have a tooth sighting. Maybe "sighting" is a strong word, being that Sophia's tongue is the ultimate gate keeper, "feeling" might be a better option.

The teething experience has been quite an interesting one. Over the past month and a half, Sophia will have a random wake up once a week/10 days in which she is fairly inconsolable and appears to be in pain. After bouncing, rocking, singing and nursing attempts fail, we end up deducing that it is teething pain and give her a dose of Tylenol. She generally settles back down to sleep and is a happy camper in the morning. But until this morning, there has been no sign of the tooth actually breaking through. Here's a picture that sums it all up though:

I've felt a rise in her bottom gumline for at least the past 3-4 weeks and have just been waiting for that little bugger to poke through. At times, I though I was being neurotic about the teething and that it must be something else that was bugging her (who knows what else??). My mom swears by giving her the good, crusty end of a loaf Italian bread (referred to in our house as the coolie). She said it worked like magic for getting my teeth to pop out. It was on my list to pick up at the grocery store for Monday, but looks like we won't need it! (at least for this time around...)

Sophia went down to bed fairly easily last night (we took her with us to a sailing dinner so she could meet all of Dave's boatmates and friends) and so by the time we got home, she was ready to sleep. About 2 hours later, though, she woke up screaming. I wasn't sure what had caused her to stir, but thought she might settle back down after a few minutes. I quickly realized there was no settling after Dave picked her up and she got even higher pitched. When I lightly touched her bottom gums she about jumped out of Dave's arms, the poor thing!! I gave her a dose of Tylenol (well, the generic kind because of the recall) and let her nurse for awhile to head back to sleep.
When she woke in the morning, she let me feel her gums and low and behold, we had the ridge of the tooth poking out. Hooray!! Now - how long till this little guy is all the way out, I'm not sure. Hopefully it's quick. 1 down, 19 more baby teeth to go.

Aunt Hayley's Graduation

It's been a busy spring time with family graduations. Last weekend, Sophia's Aunt Hayley (Dave's little sister) graduated from 9th grade at Rumsey Hall School. Here's a picture of the new graduate (and recent graduate Uncle Cameron). Hayley will be attending Westminster School in the fall:

It's always a treat getting to see family and Sophia loves hanging with her Aunt & Uncle. It was a hot day under the tent, but Sophia was a rock star, getting her water fix here:

We had a big party back at the house in Woodbury with all of Hayley's school friends as well as their parents. All the moms were so very excited to hold Sophia as they watched their 15 year old kids run around, laughing, texting and celebrating. I think she was passed around amongst them for over an hour! She was happy as a clam with all the attention. The main piece of advice I received from all of them was to really enjoy these moments with Sophia - you always knew where she was and she couldn't talk back! :)

It was a long day, but Sophia was a trooper. She has been getting better and better at falling asleep in her pack n play in new places. I've really learned that consistency to her bedtime routine is key. She now will whimper for a minute or two before conking out. It's really quite nice.

Here's a final pic of Sophia & Uncle Cameron recovering from all the fun on Sunday:

Until next time!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sophia's First Newport Weekend

Dave and I have been renting a summer house in Newport, RI for the past 10 summers. With the blessing of our housemates, we decided to give it another shot this summer with Sophia.
For those who don't know, there are 8-12 people in a 6 bedroom house each weekend. We have a really great system down, as it is basically the same group of people each summer, so we know each other's quirks and roles in the house. Everyone had met Sophia before, and being that she is such a good-natured baby, we felt like it would be a good fit.

I did an overnight with Sophia at the house last week to bring down most of our stuff. A friend who does this with her daughter in a ski house during the winter recommended we just get two of everything to make the packing and transporting each weekend more simple. I duplicated a lot of the basics - boppy pillow, changing table, extra bottles, spoons and bowls and her favorite playmat. (The playmat is key as every morning after she eats, she'll play on it happily for 20-30 minutes while we get stuff done).

All in all, the weekend went very smoothly. We had a bit of regression in the sleep department, with Sophia crying more than usual as we put her down, but that is to be expected. Between all the stimulation of new people, the heat and being in a new place, it's par for the course. As the summer progresses, I have no doubt she'll get more comfortable and so will I. (I was really afraid her crying might bother people, but I was the only one stressing over it. So I'm letting it go.)

We took her for a fun time in the park near where we got engaged. Here's a short video:

It was also her first trip to the beach (I love 80 degree weather on Memorial Day!)
She enjoyed the ocean. A bit uncertain and definitely a little chilly, but all in all I think she was a fan. Here are some shots:

Her favorite part of the weekend, though, might have been meeting George. We lovingly refer to him as "Uncle Georgio" - he entertained her for hours (or maybe she entertained him...not sure). Here's a shot of the bonding session.

We can't wait to head back down again next weekend and soak up the sun (with sunblock, of course).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Flying Solo for the week

For Cameron's graduation from Muhlenberg College (see last post), Dave and I drove separate cars to his father's house in CT. We then combined for the PA leg of the trip. The reason for this being Dave had quite the driving trip all around NY state planned for the week and wouldn't be home till late on Thursday evening. On Sunday evening, Sophia and I headed out from CT and said bye to Dad (and for me, my tag-team partner).

Dave has gone on previous work trips, so this was nothing new, but it proved to be exhausting. It took an additional hour (thank you, traffic & construction on 84!) to get home Sunday night and then just some general resettling of both Sophia & I once we made it in. Last week was an extremely hot week in the city, so I decided it would be best if I took Sophia down to Newport where it was about 20 degrees cooler.

I think all the being on the road, new sleeping quarters for many of the nights, took its toll on both of us. Sophia definitely fought going to sleep more than usual, though I was blessed with a few 2-hour naps as a result. At one point, I needed to go to my neighbor's place (across the hall) just to have some adult conversation that was face to face. It was very helpful to commiserate (they have a 4 month old little girl).

By the time Dave rolled in on Thursday night, I was happier than ever to see him and had a complete appreciate for single moms and moms whose husbands travel regularly for work. I especially had new regard for my mom, who often flew solo while my dad was on work trips as I was growing up. I sometimes forget that she has been through it all before (silly, I know) but it is during situations like these that I really appreciate her support and understanding.
It takes a tough lady to handle that on a regular basis, that is for sure!

Uncle Cameron's Graduation

I'm a little behind on my posts, as we have been traveling quite a bit. Two weekends ago, we ventured down to Allentown, PA, for Dave's little brother's graduation from Muhlenberg college. We decided to split up the drive by going to CT on Friday evening and then doing the rest of the drive (about 3 hours) on Saturday morning. That way, Sophia could get a nap in on Saturday morning before we headed into a weekend of family fun.
She slept like a champ on both car rides and was wide awake and excited to see her Uncle Cameron.
Here's a shot of the two of them outside of Cameron's dorm:

Cameron gave us a great tour of campus and we headed out for a celebratory beverage before his Baccalaureate event that evening. Clearly, Sophia wanted in on the fun!

Our hotel situation worked out really well. Our room was kind of small, but it was on the first floor, close to the lobby. We had brought the monitor, so instead of sitting inside the room with the TV on low, Dave and I put Sophia to sleep and had our dinner out in the lobby watching the Celtics game. The monitor worked like a charm and we enjoyed a nice adult dinner of takeout from Carrabas. :)

Sunday morning was graduation morning. I knew that Sophia's naps would be somewhat of a mess that day, but it actually all worked out. Graduation was outside on the main quad and, being a small class of about 400 kids, we could stroll around during the ceremony until it was time for Cameron to get his diploma. I'm trying to be better about letting go of the schedule occasionally, but it's really tough when you know that you're going to have a very cranky baby. Luckily, she napped some in the stroller and afterwards, we had a great family photo shoot:

It was a great weekend. We headed back to CT Sunday evening and then Sophia & I continued back home to Boston to sleep in our own beds. Dave headed off for a work trip for the week, which proved to be exhausting for all of us.
But more on that in the next post.