September 27, 2006

Last Post

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Following the grand tradition of the majority of parenting/daddy blogs, PatataMonkey will only last about two years. Yes, this will be my last post here. I will leave the blog online as a resource for new parents (I know a few people who count on it, which is flattering), and you will be able to follow The Guid's growth and adventures through pictures at guidojack.com.

So why do all these parenting blogs end when the baby is about a year old? Hard to tell, but I can give you my reasons: the baby is quickly becoming a toddler -- he almost walks, he understand a lot of what we say, in either language, he signs (as of today: eat, milk, sleep, more, up, down, train, cat, dog, thank-you, please, bird, airplane, hurt, ball, book, horse, fish and blows kisses. Oh, and "ceiling fan"), he only nurses twice a day (and tomorrow we introduce cow's milk!), he is a once-a-day napper, he is a sweetie-pie, a little clown, a heartbreaker...in short, he's our bug.

So anyways, the rate of change is incredible. Every day he learns something new or does something new. Little, hart-melting actions/gestures/skills, which make us incredibly proud. Tracking all of it in the blog would be both boastful and very time-consuming. With the little time I have every day to spend with him, I'd much rather BE with him than to write about it.

Then there's the fact that I don't need the blog any more. Blogging about the pregnancy and our baby's first months was extremely therapeutic for me. It was a way for me to vent and to share what have been some of the most challenging times of my life, both in hope that someone could sympathize and to feel good about sharing some tips about what worked for us.

About a month ago, after we came back from our Italian vacation (GJ was about 10-months old then), Mariah and I definitely felt like, all of a sudden, we had come "out of the tunnel" that started at the beginning of the pregnancy. Guido is big enough to be easier to tend to, he spends two days a week with a sitter, we do baby-sitting swaps almost every week (sometimes twice a week), our schedule allows for more human interaction with our old friends...in short, we're back! Things are under control again.

So the need for blogging sort-of evaporated. As did the need for reading other parenting blogs. I have a whole lot of them saved up in my Google RSS reader, but I barely every look at them any more. I made another list of Guido's little friends' blogs or Flickr picture feeds, and that's enough.

So here we are, one last post, at least for now. I would like to thank all of you who posted comments (really, thank you so much), and all the daddy blogs out there, especially Greg of daddytypes.com and Jan Garcia, Lucas' dad: you've been great companions, whether you know it or not.

So...are you thinking of having kids? Let me squeeze in some last-minute, annoyingly unrequested advice, while I still have a blog:

* Work on that solid foundation of love with your partner before you start thinking of having babies. I heard that most marriages end when the first child is between 8 and 18 months of age, and I can see why (though ours is going super-strong, don't you worry about us!)

* Have family nearby: our families are very far away, and it's been VERY hard without them. Both for the free baby-sitting and support that comes with it, and for the enormous amount of love that your baby will receive and give back to them (we really hate that we're depriving our kid and our parents of it by living out here. Sure we use Skype every day, but it's not quite the same).

* Do it while you're young, it takes a lot of energy

* Fathers: don't be jerks. Do more around the house. Come home early. Recognize that being a mother is an incredible amount of hard work. Yes, harder than your job. And it's 24/7. Think about it for a second. At 3:00am it's easy to hide behind the "but I gotta go to work in the morning" excuse, but guess what? If your partner COULD go to work instead of you, she'd do it in a heartbeat. So be there for your hormones-filled wife. Listen to her and try to put yourself in her shoes for a second.

* Build a support group: moms groups, playground friends, library lap-sits, you name it. Keep looking until you find some people you really like, and who happen to have a kid about the same age as yours. This is invaluable, and we feel terribly lucky to have met a few such people (hi Maggie, hi Elias, hi Riley!)

* Do baby-sitting swaps (it's so easy, the kids are sleeping anyways)

* Do sign language, it's magic (if you can stomach the songs, Signing Time is really good)

* Blog about it all! ;)


So, much love from the three of us, and goodbye.

Posted by patata at 09:12 PM | Comments (3)

August 22, 2006

We're back from vacation

We are back from a 6-weeks trip to Italy. Head over to guidojack.com for pictures.

The trip was great, and there's too much to tell.

We came back with a different baby that the one we left with. This one:
- has 2 more teeth (6 total now)
- eats just about everything we eat (he likes to feed himself)
- crawls really fast
- is close to walking, pulling himself up everywhere and taking small steps sideways while holding on to things
- waves bye-bye
- clearly says MAMMA, just not at Mariah yet (though he knows what mamma means)
- signs "dog" and "airplane" and "eat" and "drink" (more on that in a later post)
- is a social animal, demanding attention and fully interacting with other babies
- is LOUD
- has put us in a childproofing emergency when we got back

Some of the lessons we learned during this trip:
- adjust expectations. A vacation WITH a baby is much different than one PRE-baby. Vacationing with a baby means that instead of having NO time for youself, you get an hour a day or so.
- having family around should be a pre-requisite to having a child (more on that another day).
- italians have never seen a baby feed himself (and overall think it's a great thing)
- italians feed very weird things to their babies:

- italians have a long way to go towards ratial integration (I'm talkking 200+ years). The Guids was about the most exotic thing to hit southern Italy in a long time. Oh, and they like to STARE at people, especially us.

Posted by patata at 01:25 PM | Comments (3)

June 03, 2006

Our New Daily Routine

So apparently some people other than my parents do read this blog (hi Tom! hi Liz!), so I guess I should post more than pictures and videos. So let me describe the Guids' new daily routine, or at least the part of it that I know.

Guido wakes up anywhere between 6:00 and 7:00 am. As I'm a morning person and Mariah doesn't function in the morning, the morning shift is mine. So, when he wakes up I go and get him (he sleeps in the crib in his room) and basically attach it to Mariah for feeding (she's half asleep the whole time). I get my last 5-10 minutes of sleep while he has his breakfast, and get up when he's almost done. I get dressed quickly, brush my teeth and get him. Mariah goes back to being 100% asleep at this point.

This is our usual morning routine (say, 6:30 to 8:30): we play a little in the living room while he digests, then I change his diaper (you don't want to do it right away or he'll barf on the changing table). As I'm changing him, I also change him in day-time clothes: socks, pants, shirt, bib. Then I put my shoes and my hoodie on, and put a hat and a hoodie on him, stuff a couple of little toys in my pocket, grab a magazine or a book for me and we're off.

We get the stroller from the garage, I tether the toys to it, and we go to the coffee shop. Depending on how hungry I am we either go straight there or take the long way around the park so that the Guids can check out some bau-baus and some cheep-cheeps.

The coffee shop ("Bean There") is basically Guido's (and mine's) second home. He's been there almost every day since he was 3 weeks old, so everyone knows him and he definitely recognizes Ornella and the other people who work there. Double-latte and a pastry for me, tethered toys for Guido. He's pretty good at letting me have my breakfast in peace. Now that the weather is nice we sit outside and he looks at the dogs (big smiles) and the flowers and the cars, which is nice for me. If we're lucky some of his little friends are there too (other local kids, usually there with one parent, just like us). Somehow if other people are there Guido lasts a lot longer without getting antsy, which is nice.

Anyways, after the coffee shop we go back to the park and if I have the energy we also stop at the playground for a little swinging session. We're usually the only people there at 7:30, I wonder why... ;)

Then we go back home. He plays in his play-pen or on the living room rug or in the exersaucer, then, if they are online, it's Skype-time with one of my parents in Italy. He's been having video-conferences with them regularely since he was very young, and now is totally comfortable with the concept...my mom sings him songs and plays peek-a-boo with him...he smiles and laughs and pays attention. Makes you wonder about his generation...if video-conferencing and VOIP are some of the first concepts they learn, what kind of views towards technology and geography and the world will they grow up with? Man, I remember having a black-and-white TV when I was a kid!

Anyways, back on track. After a good 20 minutes on skype, we play some more, read a book or two, play ball (he's getting better and better a throwing it back in my general direction, which makes it easier on me). Towards 8:30ish he starts getting tired, so I have recently started another time-killer: Signing Times DVD #1! He really enjoys it: paritally because we don't let him watch TV or DVDs other than this one, partially because of the content. He's just recently starting to sign back...he signs "milk" when he wants cheerios...still, he's signing! :) I'll have more on that in a future post I'm sure.

After 5-10 minutes of signing time, it's 8:45, time for his second feeding. We wake up Mom, she feeds him and puts him down for his 9:00am nap. We started really enforcing the 9:00am nap, even for when he wakes up at 7:30. Having a nap schedule is something that we only started a couple of weeks ago, but I think everyone is happier with it. It gives the day some structure, and most of the mommy-and-me activities around town are at 10:30-11:00, so having Guido Jack be all rested for those is a good thing.

Once The Guids is asleep, and go to work (sometimes I make Mariah breakfast before I do). I get there at 9:15ish, and I'm still the first one there most of the time...ah, programmers...

Now I'm not so sure about what happens while I'm at work, Mariah can talk about this in more details. Anyways, his morning nap lasts anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. I know that he eats two more times (he's been on the 5 feedings a day schedule for a while: 6:00am, 9:00am, noon, 3:00pm and 6:00pm). His afternoon nap is at 1:00 (again, anywhere from half an hour to two hours sometimes). Mariah and Guido always have some activity planned (or at least that's the goal): either a mom-group, or the mom-movies on tuesday mornings, or lunch with a friend, or a museum, or a walk in the park, or a lap-sit at the library, or the "dancing and prancing" thing at the community center on fridays...you can never have enogh activities planned, and we're always looking for more. The day passes faster if there's something planned, and everyone's happier at the end of the day.

Ok, so by 5:00pm Mariah is understandably exhausted and I get the call: "are you coming home now?". Luckily work has been manageable lately, so I usually answer "yes".
When I get home on my vespa 8 minutes later I usually see Guido and Mariah looking out the window waiting for me. Guido always greets me with a big smile and some arm-flapping (we call them his "chicken wings"), which is a big gift.

I go upstairs doing our family whistle, put down my stuff, wash my hands and take him, much to the relief of Mariah. ;) We have some active play time (we wrestle on the bed mostly), then we eat solids in his new awesome $20 IKEA high-chair (we're adding a new kind of food every few days...so far he loves everything, like a good italian boy). Sometimes if it's early we hit the playground, which is packed at this time of day.

A little more play-time, a little "street patrol" (sitting on his stool by his window looking at the cars and the trains and the dogs in the park), until he gives us a signal that it's time for bed (usually he'll stop playing, raise his arms and whine a little). This usually happens anywhere from 6:30 to 7:30pm.

So it's "night-time-routine" time: I take him to the bathroom, brush his 4 little teeth with his little toothbrush (Guido knows what's going on by now and usually cooperates), then back to his room: turn on the night-light, roll down the shade, prepare his pajamas in his crib, and put him on the changing table. I change his diaper into a disposable, I give him a little leg-massage, take his shirt off, make him laugh by kissing him all over, then I pick him up to bring him to Mariah for a quick look at the semi-naked baby, which is a treat for any mom. ;) Then back to the crib, I put on his jammies and read him a book (usually Todo Los Besos or Goodnight Moon, which I translated in Italian. Sometimes we read The Going To Bed Book or Goodnight, Gorilla instead, but it's rare).

After the book, I take him to Mariah, who is waiting on the couch to feed him. She feeds him, he usually falls asleep on the second boob, she clips his nails (not every night, but often), and puts him in his crib. While she's feeding him I either cook dinner or order it or go pick it up somewhere near.

Once the bug is down we have our dinner and catch-up on the daily events. Then we either watch a movie or I read while Mariah watches TV or I do some computering while watching TV...all very glamorous I know.

I'm usually in bed by 10:30pm, and I love it.

Then we start over the next day. And the next. And the next. And the next.

As you might have noticed, not a whole lot of personal time for either Mariah or me. We're working on that...for instance, on Monday mornings I go to the coffee shop ALONE with a book, which is heaven. Mariah is going out with her girlfriends tonight...plus we're looking for a baby-sitter for one day a week, at least until we go to Italy this summer (5 weeks from today, yes we're counting the days...).

Posted by patata at 09:07 AM | Comments (1)

May 01, 2006

Raising a Low-Maintenance Baby

Mariah and I never really thought about parenting styles very much or discussed them explicitely (though we both liked this book when The Guids was still in the belly). We tend to deal with things as they come up, and we usually agree on "a strategy" pretty quickly (if not on the spot, later that day when we discuss what happened and what we should do if it happens again). Anyways, this has been working for us so far.

By now we have made enough little parenting decisions that patterns are starting to emerge. The first of such patterns to emerge is one that I think is very important to us. I struggled to pinpoint what it was, and after much searching for the right terms, I have figured out that our actions, from the start, are often geared towards raising a low-maintenance person.

For instance: we never gave The Guids a pacifier. Ok sorry that's a lie right off the bat, on a few occasions we shoved that thing in his mouth hoping against hope that it would get him to stop screaming. As you can imagine, that never worked. Anyways, back on the subject: the main reason we didn't give him a binky wasn't for fear of long-term problems with the roof of his mouth or anything like that. Mostly we just didn't want him to rely on it for, yes, pacifying himself. What happens if he wakes up in the middle of the night and can't put the pacifier back in his mouth? Basically we didn't want the binky to be a crutch for him. He soon discovered that sucking on his shirt on left wrist was just what he needed, and he has been doing it since (and it's really cute too).

Ok, next: we never used a wipes-warmer. We always only used cotton pads (the kind people use to remove make-up I'm guessing) and room-temperature water (the commercial wipes gave him a rash, plus I heard they have anti-freeze in them). From the start, he knew that diaper-changing time was going to be a bit cold. He doesn't know any other way, so he is fine with it. So now when we need to change him in a restaurant/park/airport, it's no different than home. Again, one less thing he "needs".

Next: we don't lower our voices much around him when he sleeps. He sleeps through anything (a Muni train goes by his window all the time). We watch movies in the next room while he sleeps, no problem (though I think this has to do with his mom's genes more than anything, she's the original champion sleeper).

Next: his night-light in his room is pretty bright (it's just a regular paper lamp + a 5 dollar IKEA dimmer). Again, we don't want him to rely on pitch-darkness in order to sleep. Plus, when he wakes up in the middle of the night, we want him to recognize where he is and feel safe (and, the theory goes, go back to sleep).

What else...oh yes, the whole "going to sleep" subject: basically we want him to be able to go to sleep by himself: no rocking until he's asleep, no going for a walk in the stroller until he's asleep, no going for a drive either...well, I doubt he would sleep on the back of the vespa anyways ;) We just put him in his crib, tired but awake, and leave him alone. Sometimes he "has to go out with a fight" (that's how we describe it around here) by crying for 5-7 minutes, some other times he just plays and sucks on his shirt until he's out peacefully. For a while we were concerned that he needed the boobs to go to sleep, which meant that "we could never get a baby sitter!" (I remember Mariah paniking about this one), so we trained him not to need it. We'd keep him up until after Mariah fed him (tickling always works), that way he was awake when we put him down. Anyways, the idea is the same: we don't want him to rely on anything but himself to go to sleep.

And while we're on the sleep subject, I am a total sleep-training convert, mostly because I don't want him to rely on getting picked up in the middle of the night.

Another subject is the bottle: since we want Guido Jack to be low-maintenance and be able to hang out with a sitter once in a while, I have been feeding him a bottle at least once a day since he was maybe a month old (and boy it was a struggle at first!). That way he just is ok with taking a bottle. Now I'm a little bummed that he definitely prefers his formula on the warmer side...I'd rather get him used to room-temperature water, but you can't have it all now can you?

Which brings me to the one little nagging doubt I've had about this whole thing: are we being overly tight and depriving our baby of something he needs at this age?

Nah, I don't think so...we love our bug SO MUCH and we he gets lots of active play, hugs, kisses and snuggles. And as far as we can tell, he is a very happy baby.

Plus we're always a little flexible with things: for instance, last night when he woke up screaming at 3:00am I picked him up, fed him and rocked him back to sleep (whoa, tripple whammy). It was against my principles, but it was an emergency situation (poor Mariah hasn't slept properly in weeks because of her horrible allergies, plus he's teething and a little sick and yadda yadda yadda). Sometimes parenting is about choosing the lesser evil I guess. Oh! Look at that! The second pattern I notice! ;)

Posted by patata at 08:08 PM | Comments (1)

April 14, 2006

Teeth!

Guido Jack now sports two little teeth -- ok, they're still tiny, but definitely there and very sharp!

Tomorrow he'll be 6 months old. Today we went to the ped who gave him 3 shots (poor thing), told us that he's still 50% of length/head/weight, and that what we have been affectionately calling "the scars from his horns removal surgery" is really a common eczema, and that we should "moisturize the hell out of it" (her words) to make it disappear.

Tomorrow we start with solids (I'll be making brown rice cereals in the morning for the first time).

Plenty to talk about...too little time. We posted more pictures on guidojack.com, and have some new videos coming soon.

In short, everything is going great, it gets easier and more fun every day, and we love our "bug" very much. Very, very much.

Posted by patata at 11:23 PM

March 05, 2006

I'm a Sleep Training convert

Ok, I fear sharing the following because I have quickly come to understand that this is a sensitive subject for many (more on that later).

Anyways, the subject is SLEEP. Remember, the thing you never really cared for until your baby took it away from you? The thing that you want the most, the thing that would make EVERYTHING better? If only I could get an 8 hour stretch, no, I'd be happy with 6! ? Yes, countless chapters of child-rearing books and many website articles have been dedicated to the subject, because it's such an important holy grail for new (and not so new) parents.

Well, here's our story. The Guids has always been a pretty good sleeper, waking up a lot to eat in the first month or so of his life, then settling into a 2-feedings a night routine for a while, which became a single 2am feeding at maybe 2 and 1/2 - 3 months old. Which I was perfectly content with, not being the one with the boobs. Mariah, on the other hand, was understandably looking forward to the day when he didn't need that either.

So on our 4th month check-up with the pediatrician on Feb.15th, we asked: is he eating because he needs it or what? To which she said "not really, he's plenty big, he's starting to do it out of habit". That word, HABIT, was all that Mariah needed: "we're weaning him off TONIGHT". If there's one thing we don't want, is to create/encourage bad habits.

So she did some research and we decided to "sleep train". Now, all I knew about it was that "you let the baby cry it out". I remember when my older brother did that with his first son, and I remember thinking "wow that seems a bit cruel, he's just a baby". So I wasn't so sold on the idea. I had heard of "Ferberizing" stories, when babies cried for so long that they puked. Long story short, I was perfectly happy with the way things were and not into the whole sleep-training thing.

So that night the little one woke up at 2 for his feeding, and so did we. We had a couple of rules:

  1. Mariah couldn't go to his room because she IS food (they can SMELL 'EM!)
  2. I wasn't supposed to pick him up

We let him cry for what seemed like an eternity (it was probably 2 minutes), then I went in to comfort him. I cleaned up his tears with my hand, I tried to talk to him...as you can imagine, it didn't help. He cried and cried and gave me this begging look that said "ok, you came all the way to my room, now pick me up!". I didn't. I went back and waited 5 minutes. Went back in, same story. I was about ready to give up at this point, I hated the whole process and I was ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that my son would turn out to be a serial killer because I had been so cruel to him. Long story short, he cried for about 1 hour before falling asleep, at which point Mariah and I were not on speaking terms and DEFINITELY not sleepy. God that sucked.

On day two we introduced "the routine". For the first time in his life, we decide to add some structure, just to get him used to going to bed. Here's the very nice little routine we do now:

  1. come 6:30-7:00pm, we change him into a disposable (we use cloth during the day, but we don't want him to wake up at night because he feels wet)
  2. give him a little soothing full-body massage (I added this on day 3, it's nice!)
  3. put him in his jammies and sleep-sac
  4. read him a book (usually Todos Los Besos, which I translate in Italian, but that's for a different blog entry)
  5. feed him (boobs)
  6. put him down in his crib, say goodnight and leave his room

Lo and behold, he slept 12 hours straight. It wasn't the first time it happened with him, but the other times he was jet-lagged from coming back from Italy. Either way, I was joking "wow this sleep training really works! one day is all it took! amazing!"...I shouldn't have joked about it, way to jinx myself...

Night three, he woke up EVERY HOUR, and cried for 20 minutes each time. This is when I thought of something that really made all the difference in the world: I started wearing ear-plugs! It really made ME last a lot longer. Plus I settled into this "visit" regimen:

  1. when he first wakes up, let him cry for 5 minutes (I use a digital clock)
  2. go in for maybe 30 seconds (sing him a song, talk to him...)
  3. leave and wait 7 minutes
  4. go in his room for maybe 20 seconds, talking a little less (no song or anything)
  5. leave and wait 10 minutes
  6. go in, tell him you love him and show him that we haven't abandoned him, and leave
  7. wait 15 minutes
  8. you get the idea

The goal here is to show him that he's loved, but that crying is not going to get him anything, so he shouldn't bother.

Oh I forget: on the first night I eventually picked him up briefly (after maybe 45 minutes). I had this idea where I didn't want him to associate his crib with crying, so I was trying to do anything I could to make him stop crying. Well, 3 seconds after picking him up, it dawned on me that he was now associating crying with being picked up (getting what he wanted). I WAS BUILDING MY OWN TRAP! I immediately put him down and haven't picked him up at night since. That thought terrified me.

Anyways, I had a rough week. The third night was the worse one. In the following 4-5 nights he woke up once or twice, or not at all (once). Then, maybe 8-9 days into it, he stopped crying. I could tell that he was awake, I could hear him through the baby monitor, but he wasn't crying, he would just go back to sleep.

It has now been 5 nights in a row of 12-hours stretches.

Let me write it again because it feels so good: it has now been 5 nights in a row of 12-hour stretches.

Aaaaahhhh. Life is good again. Mariah and I feel like we got our lives back. Birds are singing, bunnies are frolicking, rainbows are in the sky... :)

I am a TOTAL convert. It WORKED. The baby is happy, the parents are happy, everything is happy. He's not any less happy than before, I have serious doubts that he'll have any trauma whatsoever from crying a little bit...I think everyone should do it!

And here's where it gets interesting: I have been telling our story to our friends, and it was met with very mixed reactions: people who had done the same couldn't agree more on the virtues of sleep training, others were MUCH colder. Some say they could NEVER do something like that, some say that they tried but couldn't, some "envy our toughness", which is just a veiled criticism.

I realized today that this is the first child-rearing topic where I have met people with extremely conflicting opinions on the subject. I guess it was meant to happen sooner or later...it forced me to think about being mindful of telling our story in a way that's not offensive to people who don't agree with our "strategy"...our pediatrician said it best: "there is no one single good strategy. The only good one is what feels right to the parents".

I couldn't agree more.

Ok, it's 8:30pm and I think I'll WATCH A MOVIE now (I know, I can't believe it either)

Posted by patata at 08:36 PM

January 20, 2006

How to soothe a baby? Let me count the ways...

Actually, I have been using one simple technique: counting! Specifically, I recite the multiplication tables as fast as I can to Guido Jack when he cries. It works every time.

uno due tre quattro cinque sei sette otto nove dieci.
due quattro sei otto dieci dodici quattordici sedici diciotto venti.
tre sei nove ...

you get the idea. It's verbal diarrhea for him, which confuses him and conforts him I guess...I have been doing this so many times now that I think he's starting to memorize them (which should come handy in a few years...) ;)

It also keeps my mind young and busy on something other than his crying. Sometimes if I get to 100 and he hasn't stopped crying I start over. Once in a long car-ride in which he seemed inconsolable I started trying to recite them backwards, which I gotta tell you, it's Bucking HARD! (yes, we have started to say Buck! around here. I think it's really funny.) Anyways, it worked and put him to sleep eventually.

Guido Jack is 3 months old now, but my friend Chris has started doing the same with his 5 weeks old and says it works like a charm.

So there you have it! Math saves the day again. :)

Posted by patata at 08:51 PM

Ah, milestones...

I don't want this blog to be all about our little boy, but some milestones are too important to pass up.

It happened much earlier than we expected: Guido Jack now officially farts like an adult. Yes, BOTH noise AND smell.

He actually woke me up with a one-two punch last night, which made me smile...until the smell reached my nose that is.

Great, just what we needed...

...aah who am I kidding, I'm proud of my little stinker-bottom! ;)

Posted by patata at 10:11 AM

January 16, 2006

Bottle Breakthrough and the Scientific Method

Ok, since our incredibly frustrating Saturday, much has happened in the 'battle of the bottle' (as we call it around here).

Saturday I decided that the bottle nipple was going to become Guido Jack's favourite toy. I wanted him to stop hating it and become friends with it, so that's pretty much the only toy I gave him all day. I would show it to him, make him touch it, and once in a while I would put it in his mouth, not for long, just to get a quick taste of it.

Well...at the end of the day I noticed something: I put the bottle nipple barely in his mouth (only the tip of it was touching his lips) and he started sucking on it! Not with his whole mouth, not a full-on latch like the ones you see in the breasfeeding literature. He would just suck with his lips, never letting the nipple past his toothless gums.

I felt like a scientist struck but a sudden lightning of discovery. It all came to me, and it all made sense now! Here's what I think happened: for a couple of months now my wife has been affectionately renamed "the fire-hose", due to the incredible power of milk production of her mammal glands (sorry for sharing Mariah, but it's in the name of science!). As a result, I think Guido Jack adjusted his style of sucking to a much more cautious "please don't choke me woman!" lips-only style. Me trying to shove the whole bottle nipple in his mouth was NOT AT ALL what he considered proper eating technique, no wonder he was so pissed. I had actually observed this behaviour in the last couple of days, I just didn't make much of it (oh the fool I was!).

So now I had an observation and a theory. Probably due to the extreme frustration I was already feeling, instead of being excited by my discovery I somehow got really mad at myself for not having noticed earlier: Why had I not applied the scientific method? Start from observation, you idiot!

I know, my wife tells me I'm weird too.

Anyways, an hour after the amazing discovery I decided to test my theory and try to feed GJ with this new "lips only" technique. Alas, it was a disaster. He would suck (with this sort-of wimpy suck one can do with your lips alone), but nothing would come out of the bottle. Ah, the troubles of a young (ok, not so young) scientist! I knew the theory was right, but what to do?

I know, let more milk through! I quickly sterilized a needle and made another hole in the bottle nipple. Genius right? Well, not only the new hole I made wasn't big enough to let anything through, but I left the needle on the fake-marble counter, and Mariah poked herself with it while cleaning half-an-hour later (you can imagine how happy she was with me).

So that was the end of saturday. I went to sleep exhausted, frustrated, but I had a glimmer of hope: if I could get more milk to go through, our problems would be over.

On Sunday morning I woke with excitement: let's go to CityKids, let's go to Day One, let's buy ALL THE NIPPLES! I know, it sounds dirty/strange, please bare with me. So we went to our usual baby stores and bought four (4) different kinds of bottle nipples (which brings our total to 7 I think, but the 3 we had at home were useless), from the "second stage" (3 little holes instead of one) to the funny-shaped playtext orthodontic one to the Avent "variable flow" one for which we don't even have a bottle for (it's not a hole, it's a little slot like someone jammed a screw-driver through it).

I went home, filled a couple of bottles with water, and tested it all, jusy by gently squeezing the tip of the bottle nipple with my thumb and index finger. It turns out that the screw-driver slot was the one that let the most milk through (I didn't really have to squeeze at all, gravity does most of the work).

So I tried that with The Guids, and lo and behold, he took an ounce in 5 minutes! That's all the milk we had stored last night, but this morning he took another 2 ounces, again in 5 minutes.

Success!!!

Of course I'm jinxing myself with this post, but there's hope. Go science! Go bottle! Go nipples! (what?)

P.S.I put some recent pics on guidojack.com

Posted by patata at 07:30 AM

January 14, 2006

Our son HATES the bottle: any tips?

Guido Jack won't take the bottle any more. He's a boob-man 100%. This upsets us a lot. This is NOT what we want.

What's even more upsetting is that he used to take it...ok a little history: at 4 weeks of GJ's life we started trying to give him a bottle, once a day, just so that he would take it. He hated it at first, but after maybe a week of struggling he started eating it (never more than 2 ounces, which would keep him satisfied for an hour or so, but better than nothing, right?). Things were ok for a few weeks (we sort-of got lazy and skipped a few days here and there, but overall we were satisfied). Then, when Guido was 9 weeks old, we went to Italy, and that's where we made the big mistake: the whole time we were there we didn't give him a bottle at all (I think I tried once but there were too many distractions for him). At the same time he made a tremendous developmental jump, starting to smile at people, seeing better and further, we joke that we came back with a different baby than we left with. Well guess what, this new baby won't take the bottle.

He's too old to be fooled that it's really a boob, he knows exactly what it is, he knows that milk comes out of it, and he thinks that it's a torture. The second I put it into his mouth, he starts crying. And gives me this look that says "why are you doing this to me?"

Now, we followed all the advice we read about, namely:
- I give him the bottle, not Mariah
- Mariah is not in the room when I try it
- I wait until he's not overly hungry but hungry enough
- The temperature of the milk is fine (he prefers a little warmer than body temperature)
- We tried EVERY bottle/nipple on the market (settled on Playtex, but now I'm rethinking everything...)
- I wait until he's in a pretty good mood
- Even though before Christmas he would take the bottle while laying down in his bassinette, in the last couple of days I have tried putting him on the boppy and holding him like Mariah does when she feeds him. He seems to want to suck in that position (instead of chewing on the bottle nipple like he does when he's in his bassinette), but the position of the bottle is very awkward, it's just not tilted enough (stupid gravity).

So now we have a 3-months old baby that won't eat the bottle, and we're pissed.

Any advice fellow bloggers?

Posted by patata at 09:08 AM | Comments (2)

January 06, 2006

What makes the first month hard

I remember in the last couple of months of pregnancy all the new parents that we met (even on the street) warning us about the first month with a newborn; I believe the adjectives used to describe it were "rough", "incredibly hard", "just like triage", "struggling to survive", "a long dark tunnel", you get the idea. I remember thinking "ouch", but also wanting to know more: sure I understood that it was going to be hard, but what is it that makes it so hard? What causes it to be like a dark tunnel? I'm a problem-solver people! How am I going to face these challenges if I don't know what they are?

So I remember promising to myself that I would take mental notes of what makes the first month with a newborn so hard and that I would share it with people on this blog. Well, 12 weeks have gone by, and I think I am ready to share my findings.

Now, a disclaimer: the paragraphs below are pretty hard for me to write, as it might give you the WRONG impression that I don't like being a parent or that I am overwhelmed by it all. Far from it. My little family is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I adore my wife and son and can't get enough of them. All I want to do is be home and share every minute of this baby's life. And even when it's really hard, I have clear in my mind how priviledged and lucky I am to live such a wonderful life. I can safely say that I have never been happier, and that is probably why this post has been sitting, half-finished, in my "drafts" pile for so long. But a promise is a promise, so let's get to it.

#1 - Sleep Deprivation
First and foremost, the lack of sleep is what makes everything hard. If I were to put all the things that make it hard on a pie-chart, this one would take half of it or more. You don't know how much you value sleep until someone takes it away from you. The first day back from the hospital is usually the hardest: the milk hasn't come in yet, and the baby is starving, running on empty and screaming all night. That's a shocker, considering that for the most part babies sleep all day for the first couple of days in the hospital (plus they feed them formula behind your back anyways...which I can understand, otherwise too many people would just leave their babies at the hospital) ;)
The first couple of weeks are also terrible sleep-wise: be prepared to be awake for one hour (feeding, changing, feeding on the second boob, putting down...), then sleep for one hour (if you can get back to sleep right away that is), then do it all over again, 10-12 times a day. For the first few days home you don't need the sleep because you're in total adrenaline overload (I now realize I was), but then the sleep deprivation catches up to you, and you never get a chance to catch up, not until the first month is over at least.

Now let's talk a bit about what sleep-deprivation does to you: a quick Google search led me to The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Brain and Behavior, which I just scanned quickly and my eye fell on this quote: One of the possible side effects of a continued lack of sleep is death. which made me smile but I totally believe it. Anyways, mostly it makes you irritable, which is not good at all around a baby or another irritable sleep-deprived person, and stupid (more on that later). It lowers your defenses and tolerance, and if you have a history of depression it brings it out (more on that later).

So in other words, it sucks. This alone would make a month of your life pretty hard...but keep reading, let's look at the other half of the pie-chart...

The Stupidity
A side-effect of sleep-deprivation is your brain turning to mush. One great tip my friend Aideen told me is to read ahead: read at least the first few chapters of all the "baby's first year" books you own. It's true, you will be home from work when the baby comes and you think you have all this time to read, but trust me, you will NOT be able to retain any sort of information due to your lack-of-sleep-induced stupidity. Mariah and I would read the same sentence over and over a few times, and still wander if maybe we had bought our books in romanian or greek by accident.

This is another thing that surprises me about evolution: as a mammal, when your newborn is at most risk, shouldn't you be the most alert to fend off predators? Talk about intelligent design! Oh well, at least mankind discovered coffee some time ago, which helps dads a little (DO NOT feed caffeine to a breastfeeding mom unless you're ready to deal with a CRAZY hyper baby. Mariah can't even each a little chocolate these days...).

Anyways, prepare to be dumb. You'll make dumb mistakes, you'll say dumb things, you won't remember things. I can barely remember last November at all.

So our tip is this: write things down, don't try to remember anything. Mariah and I kept a breastfeeding journal for...oh wait, we still do (though in a very condensed form). It really helped us keep our sanity: "how many times did he eat today?" Why try to remember when you can check the notepad! We tried to stop the journal after 3 weeks and that was one of the hardest days so far, we were totally lost.

The Constant guessing
Babies don't come with instructions manuals. At least today you can buy lots of books and go to lots of great classes. And you should. I read a lot and learned a lot before Guido Jack came, and I'm glad I did. Still...this is a person you're taking care of. Your instinct is to want to protect and nurture your baby, but also to try and make sure that your baby will be secure, well-balanced, smart...or at least NOT screwed up. Every little action you do will have an impact of how your baby turns out...talk about pressure.

So even if you have a pretty good idea of how to make sure your baby will eat enough and stay healthy (the books/pediatrician are pretty good at helping with that, but more on those later), there's a whole other world of guessing going on: am I stimulating him enough? too much? how far can he see? can I start with the books now? how many people is too many people in one day? how much should I speak to him? Baby-talk or regular-talk? I could go on for pages...basically EVERYTHING you do with the baby will come with some second-guessing baggage. In other words, prepare for being very insecure. Yuk.

The Conflicting information
More on books and doctors and nurses and friends and people on the street who give you advice. Because of your insecurity, you are starved for information and advice. New parents love to compare everything about each other's babies: how much does your baby sleep? how much does your baby weight? the list goes on. I used to find this most irritating, but I now realize that it's a consequence of people's insecurity and fears. As long as your baby is similar to his peers, you know that things are ok.

So, back to the sources of information. You would think that after thousands of years of civilization, the proper way to care for a newborn would be fully understood, a science not even worth studying any more. Far from it! For reasons I truly cannot understand, everyone still has an opinion, and even the "experts" change their mind every few years. When I was born people called my mother a hippie for breastfeeding me, and I slept on my tummy every night ("it is safest!", they used to say). Today, depending on where you live, the "dogmas" are different.

DUDE!!! Is anyone else totally baffled by this? Make up your mind people! Get some grants! Do some long-term studies! Publish some findings! Helloooo???!!??

Everyone has a different opinion on every little thing. Even in the hospital two different nurses gave us completely different views on "nipple confusion: does it exist?".

So...brace yourself for a lot of conflicting information...I know, great, just what you need right? :(

Our tip is believe in what makes you worry the least and stick with it. Oh, and try not to compare, every kid is different.

The Constant worrying
I remember this from the first week home. Sometimes GJ would make a lot of noises in his sleep. We would worry: "is that normal? is his nose stuffy? is he getting enough deep sleep?". Then at other times he would sleep without a peep: "Oh my God is he alive? Let's check, put your hand on his chest, but don't wake him!".

Other days he would sleep a lot, which would scare us: he must be sick! Then the next day he wouldn't nap, and we would worry about that too: this kid never sleeps, something must be wrong!

I guess that makes us regular parents: you worry ALL THE TIME, wether you like it or not. (12-weeks update: this goes away pretty fast)

The crying in the ear
Imagine someone screaming a really high-pitched scream IN your ear (I mean 1cm from it). For 30 minutes. Or more. Imagine how that would feel. Unless you've had that happen, I doubt you would be able to really imagine how that makes you feel. It's horrible. It's torture. It makes you crumble into little pieces. It makes you SO angry. Oh, and if it's your baby screaming inconsolably in your ear, it makes you feel like a terrible parent for not knowing how to make it stop. Man it sucks.

It's going to happen. Babies cry, and while most of the time you can understand what it is and respond to it (this poster helps if you don't at first), sometimes babies cry for no reason. When this happens (I think it happened <5 times in 12 weeks with the Guids), my tip is: wear ear-plugs, or listen to an iPod. At the very least, turn your face the opposite way, that way the sound waves will have to travel around the back of your head to get to your ear, and be a little more bearable. I swear this little trick works.

A side effect of a lot of screaming in your ear coupled with sleep deprivation are

The dark thoughts
There are times when the screaming gets to you, it gets you bad. The rage comes from deep in your bowels, makes you want to do ANYTHING to make the screaming stop. You start having these dark thoughts, which immediately scare you to death: how could I be so horrible to even contemplate shaking my baby? I really MUST be a horrible parent/person! Whatever is left of your self-confidence gets thrown out the window.

These are tough thoughts, not something you want to admit to yourself, let alone your spouse or friends. You don't read about these in all the blogs, but I believe that everyone gets them and if we talked about them in the open we could even laugh about them.

Very important: when this happens, PUT THE BABY DOWN IN A SAFE PLACE AND WALK AWAY! Or give the baby to someone else, tag-team. Go to the opposite side of the house, close the door, and don't go back until you're ready again. Oh, and put earplugs on. The baby will be fine.


[ok, I'll finish this post another time, I think there's enough to be published for now. Here's what's to come:
Missing your previous life
The guilt
The loneliness
The social pressure
Readjusting to work
Breastfeeding issues
Post-Partum Depression
]

And a surpise last entry: the pressure to post on this blog

Posted by patata at 03:19 PM | Comments (1)

January 05, 2006

Who are you? (The Pressure of Blogging)

Over the holidays everyone I saw - wether a family member, a friend or even a distant friend of a distant relative - told me that they check patatamonkey.com pretty regularely.

Other friends who just got engaged/married told me that they hope I continue blogging for a while so that when their turn comes to have kids they'll use this site as a resource.

Some other people I don't know have left messages in the comments.

Needless to say, I feel pressured to keep blogging. At the same time, I feel like I have a lot less to blog about. Guido Jack is such a great kid (sleeps, eats, interacts), I rarely have something to vent about. We have settled in our little routine, have stopped buying baby-related equipment (aside from baby books and clothes I guess) and are generally happy just hanging out with each other. Not a whole lot to blog about you see...

Soooooo, my question to you is: who are you, and why do you come to patatamonkey.com? What kind of information are you looking for?

And for other daddy bloggers reading: do you feel my pain? How do you deal?

Posted by patata at 06:55 AM | Comments (8)

December 01, 2005

Back at work

so today is my first day back at work after 7 weeks. Time is so strange when you have a newborn: it feels like you do nothing all day, but then days go by incredibly fast. The last 7 weeks are very much a blur in my mind, though an awesome, sweet amazing blur.

I have asked around here on tips on getting back to work, and everyone had the same answer: nothing, it just really sucks. But it gets better.

All I can say is that I agree. I was ready to go back home at 10:00am. It's 1:15 now and I'm thinking that 3 more hours are probably plenty for today. ;)

Anybody has any good tips on resuming the work-life?

Oh, and can someone remind me how to do my job? I barely remember what I do for a living... ;)

Posted by patata at 01:11 PM | Comments (1)

November 26, 2005

Belated Thanksgiving Post

Yes, the turkey was 3lb heavier than the baby. I love the look on him, it's like he's thinking "God my dad is a weirdo...".

Also, two new videos: Singing in the morning and Strong Neck!

Posted by patata at 05:39 PM | Comments (1)

November 22, 2005

Spanakopita?

To file under: freaky parenting things nobody told you about

spanakopita.jpg

Today Guido Jack's poop is green. Looks a lot like spanakopita filling (above, more pics here), and smells like it a little bit too.

So of course we freak out, Google it and find all these scary things...then I realize that we ate a large Trader Joes Spinach Pie last night, mistery solved.

Is there any other food that will paint your baby's poop that we should know about? I have heard about asparagus...I can imagine beets will make a nice little red poop (even scarier), can't wait to try it out!

Posted by patata at 09:46 AM | Comments (1)

November 21, 2005

Three (was Two) new little videos

A bit camera-happy today...whatchugonnado.

Hanging Out on the bouncy chair on a Monday morning.

Waking up at 5 weeks, again with a "surprise" ending (no big surprise at this point).

NEW: Too Happy For The Bottle?

Posted by patata at 03:04 PM

November 19, 2005

Pacifier Video

Here's a new little video of our little one: Guido vs. Pacifier

Now before half of you post horrified comments about how pacifiers are the root of all evil, let me give you our perspective:

- first of all, chill out
- nipple confusion: the little one has been exclusively sucking on M.'s boobs for the first month of his life, and loving it. He knows what it's like and is in no danger of forgetting it at this point.
- pacifier addiction: I fully understand that babies don't cry because they are trying to tell you "I want a pacifier!"...it's usually some other reason. So giving them a pacifier doesn't fix the cause of their crying... So our strategy is to give him a pacifier only when he's hungry (while the boob gets ready or the stored breastmilk gets warmed up to room temperature) OR when he's cranky because he's tired, needs pacifying and he can't find his hand.
- because of how spoiled our baby is with Mariah's nipples, he won't take the bottle easily yet. But he'll suck on the pacifier. So when I want him to suck on the bottle I give him the pacifier, let him suck until he spits it out or it falls out, and quickly replace it with the bottle. His mouth is already in 'sucking mode' and he'll suck on the bottle happily (ok, maybe for just a few minutes, then I have to do the same trick again).
- again, chill out, it's fine. Better to pacify on a piece of silicone than on mom's boobs, right moms? ;)

Posted by patata at 11:06 AM | Comments (3)

November 12, 2005

Mariah Meets The Maker

Since this blog was getting a little too edjumecational with all the book reviews 'n stuff, I feel like it's time to share another little video of our life as first-time parents. This one I call Mariah Meets The Maker. Enjoy! :)

Oh, and I added a few more pics on guidojack.com.

Posted by patata at 03:03 PM

November 04, 2005

1:35am post - If my baby had a blog...

...I don't know what the blog would be called, but I'm pretty sure the subtitle / tag line would be: "there's nothing like pooping in a fresh diaper!"

Back to changing him...AGAIN!

Posted by patata at 01:35 AM | Comments (2)

November 02, 2005

Back to Blogging

Ok, as you might have noticed, we have been obsessed with our son since he came out. We think he's the coolest thing since sliced bread and we are afraid that the media is going to find out about the cutest boy that ever lived and surround our house with their trucks, cameras, lights and "chief cuteness correspondents"...just like you see in the movies. So please, do NOT tip off CNN, BBC America and definitely not FOX, The Guids would like to fly below the radar for a while... ;)

That said, the fog that has enveloped my brain is slowly starting to clear (thanks Bean There for your double lattes!), and I feel like I have a lot to blog about. The last months of pregnancy and first weeks of parenting are FULL of surprises and lessons to be learned, and I am excited to share with you what I can remember (like I said, things have been a bit foggy lately).

Soooo, thank you very much for all the comments about the pictures and the videos (obviously there will be more, so keep checking guidojack.com if you're interested), and for enduring the weeks of highly personal posts.

Back to the original mission of this blog, stay tuned for posts in the next few days.

Posted by patata at 07:22 AM

October 24, 2005

7 (was 3 then 5 then 6) new little videos

The Virtual Granma - connected live from Italy
Who hates tummy-time? - yes, our baby cries sometimes
Waking up is funny - our personal favorite, with a "surprise" ending... ;)
New Movie Night - so this is what "movie night" is going to be like from now on? By the way, this was shot at 6:00pm...
Proto-Laughter? - is he smiling, laughing, or just enjoying his hiccups? Oh well, he's cute to us!
NEW 10/29: A Much Better Tummy Time
NEW 10/29: Good Mano! - killing time while 'the boob' gets ready


Oh and I added more pics to GuidoJack.com

Posted by patata at 03:35 PM | Comments (4)

October 22, 2005

More pics and videos

We've been getting a couple of visitors a day (great pace, I recommend it), who bring us dinner and hold our baby while we shower. I have uploaded a bunch of pictures on guidojack.com.

I also took another couple of short videos:
Smelly feet or crazy mom?
Saturday Morning Breakfast

It looks like the weather is opening up, so we might go on our second walk ever later today. I'm sure I won't resist taking some more pics then...ah the age of the digital camera... ;)

Posted by patata at 11:21 AM | Comments (2)

October 21, 2005

Slowing down...

Just a quick post to say that everything is great -- no, awesome -- and we are just taking the time and enjoying each other.

I'll go back to blogging and uploading pictures in a few days...for now, enjoy a new short video: Burping a Jaguar

Thanks for all the nice emails and blog commenta, we really love them. This is one lucky baby with such a big fan club.

Peace out,
P.

Posted by patata at 04:42 PM

October 20, 2005

Post-Partum Euphoria

These last ones have been the most amazing 5 days of my life. The Guids is doing GREAT, eating well, sleeping like a champ, charming everyone he sees.

We're still a bit dazed and confused, and we love him more every day.

I can't seem to be able to stop taking pictures of him, so keep checking guidojack.com for updates.

I also made a few little videos, here are the links:
Peaceful Sleeper
Pooping in his sleep
Waking Up
Sweet Mom
Ooops!

Back to my family!

P.S.pregnancy sucks, but it's SO worth it yo!

Posted by patata at 05:00 PM | Comments (1)

October 18, 2005

Testing Video

Testing a little video-post from our camera. This is from a few days ago...now he's TWICE as old as he was in the video... (4 days, not 2) ;) GJ Falling Asleep

Posted by patata at 06:17 PM | Comments (5)

Night one is over - added a few pictures

What I have learned about him last night:
- he loves the boob, but will eat formula if hungry
- if he's fussy, it's probably gas
- he likes to sleep! Cross your fingers that it stays that way.

I added some pictures to the gallery here.

Oh, and we still haven't listened to the 16 messages in the answering machine, or really checked email properly. It will be a few days...

Happy Papa'

Posted by patata at 10:27 AM | Comments (1)

October 17, 2005

Angels, Boobs, Domains, Pictures

First, our boy is a little angel.

Second, quit it with the boobs jokes, you guys ever heard of "skin-to-skin"? ;)

Third, the baby has his own domain and gmail account, and no he's not on friendster yet: guidojack.com. That's where all his pictures will live for now (until he wants to do something else with his domain)

Fourth: click here for a new gallery of pictures from his first 3 days of life (2 and 1/2 to be precise).

Fifth: our house is full of love, and the phone ringer is OFF (bliss!)


So...what did YOU guys do this week-end? ;) It's crazy to think that we left home on Friday afternoon and came home on Monday afternoon WITH A BABY. Now that's what I call a (re)productive week-end! :)

Posted by patata at 08:55 PM | Comments (7)

We're home!

And we are incredibly excited about it. The Guids slept the whole car-ride home, and is now nursing like a champ. The three of us are madly in love with each other.

I'll post a lot of pictures later.

Posted by patata at 05:01 PM | Comments (1)

October 15, 2005

Here's Guido Jack!

The baby is still in the NICU because Mariah had a high fever during delivery and they want to give him antibiotics just in case (hence all the stuff attached to him), but he's doing GREAT. We had a chance to bond and do some practice breastfeeding. We'll be back there every two hours. He's warm and peaceful, we LOVE him.

guidojack004.jpg

guidojack005.jpg

guidojack006.jpg

guidojack007.jpg

guidojack010.jpg

guidojack013.jpg

guidojack015.jpg

Posted by patata at 10:55 AM | Comments (13)

Quick Update

before I finally go to sleep (it's 6:45am now).

Guido Jack was born vaginally, after what? 4 days of labour ;) but just one hour of pushing at 3:40am this morning (10/15/05) and weighing 7lb 9oz (3430g), and mommy and baby are doing ok and resting.

More soon, thanks for all the nice comments.

Posted by patata at 06:48 AM | Comments (4)

October 14, 2005

Look at that, they have wireless at CPMC!

Finally some good news: we're at the hospital, Mommy is sleeping, 5cm dilated and loving her epidural / pitocin combo. Baby is very healthy, and will be coming out to meet us in a few hours. Daddy wants to sleep too before the pushing begins but, evidently, he can't.

The next post (tomorrow, when there is time and if there is still wireless available) will contain pictures of a person none of us has ever seen before. Wicked.

Posted by patata at 09:29 PM | Comments (5)

A shot in the ass

Surprise! We're STILL at home. We went to the hospital last night after a set of painful contractions, and they told us that our now 3-day long labor is called "prodronal labor", a.k.a. labor that doesn't progress quickly. No shit, really?

They gave Mariah a shot of morphine in the ass to let her sleep and sent us home. We slept great and now M. is contracting every 10 minutes.

The plan for today (suggested by the nice nurse last night): see if actual labor starts this morning by itself. And if it doesn't go to our doctor this afternoon to have her plead our case to the hospital to get us induced today.

Oh, and I got a $40 parking ticket this morning! Yay!

Posted by patata at 10:19 AM

October 13, 2005

Labor Day Update

It's 6:30pm and Mariah has been in labor (on and off, mostly ON) for 17 hours now.

Contractions are stronger (pain is now a 6, on a 1-10 scale) and longer (usually longer than a minute), but still not frequent enough for us to go to the hospital (now at 12 minutes, needs to be 5).

The baby is doing fine, he moves around now and then.

The bags are ready again and we're really hoping to go to the hospital in a matter of hours...epidural here we come! ;)

I don't know when I'll be able to write the next update. I know a lot of you family and friends are reading, and we appreciate the messages. This baby is a lucky one, coming out to the world to such a loving posse.

I have a few people to call when we're about to go to the hospital (you know who you are). For everyone else, Wendy will be our "phone tree", so if you know her you can call her starting later today or tomorrow.

Wish us luck!

Posted by patata at 06:30 PM | Comments (3)

False labor really isn't fun

I really wish the pregnancy books had better info on false labor. Today Mariah had contractions from 1:30am to 9:30am, and we're talking strong, frequent, painful, up to 60 seconds long contractions. By 7:30 we were placing our hospital bags by the front door, positively certain we'd have a baby by noon...

...needless to say, the contractions have stopped, and Mariah is sleeping like a baby next to me. Now I'm all caffeinated and bored.

We still hope to meet The Guids later today, mostly because today it's also our friend Dan G.'s birthday, and we like him. :)

More later I guess...

Posted by patata at 10:57 AM

October 12, 2005

Just like starting a car in cold weather...

...it takes a few tries before you get the engine really going.

The same is happening for us. Mariah has now had 3 sets of contractions, each about two hours long. It's called false labor, something we didn't know about but are now experts in, just like many other pregnancy-related topics (whether we wanted it or not).

The good thing is that each contraction counts -- softening, effacing and dilating, which should make things easier when real labor comes (it's GOT to be soon now).

Posted by patata at 04:55 PM

October 11, 2005

Due-date picture

Tonight we wanted to take a picture while the baby was still inside

Isn't my wife gorgeous (and huge)? ;)

Posted by patata at 08:53 PM | Comments (2)

Roller-coaster Day

So Mariah woke me up this morning at 6:41 saying she was contracting, and that she had been dreaming about contractions...good sign! For the next couple of hours, she had contractions every 12-13 minutes or so, lasting abou 35-45 seconds. Again, good sign.

We were so excited, we made lists and everything. Then the contractions stopped.

We went to the doctor and she said "it happens, it means you're almost ready but not quite".

Bummer.

So far it's been a contraction here and there...we'll see as the day progresses.

On a good note, this morning's incident made me decide to start my SEVEN WEEKS paternity leave starting TOMORROW. Whoo-hooo! No work until Dec.1st! :)

More later I guess...

Posted by patata at 08:22 AM | Comments (1)

October 10, 2005

10/10 came and went

oh well...maybe tomorrow, which is the actual due date. I hear only 15% of all kids are born on their due date, we'll see.

After that, the next milestones to hit are these:
-10/12 - my step-mom's birthday
-10/13 - our friend Dan's birthday
-10/14 or 10/15 - 9 months exactly from conception ;)
-10/17 - induction night!

More tomorrow (we have a routine doc appt in the morning).

Posted by patata at 08:44 PM | Comments (2)

October 09, 2005

C'mooon...Guido!

Ok so no baby yet, but this is the moment we've been waiting for. Today is 10/9/05, or if you live in Europe, 9/10/05. We are about to go to bed, and tomorrow will be 10/10/05, or if you live in Europe, 10/10/05. Little one, wouldn't it be awesome if you were born tomorrow? I STILL mess up the order of month and day when I fill out paperwork. If you come out tomorrow, you'll never have to worry about it! :)

So...we're going to sleep now. Labor starting at 6:00 or 7:00 am tomorrow morning would be JUST PERFECT! :)

Stay tuned...and thanks for all the well wishes!

Posted by patata at 10:24 PM | Comments (2)

October 08, 2005

Nope!

Mariah and I are convinced that this baby is not coming out because we still haven't packed our bag to take to the hospital. So today we're doing that.

...your call is very important to us...please continue to hold...

;)

Posted by patata at 11:12 AM | Comments (1)

October 07, 2005

You guessed it...no baby yet

And to make this post a little more interesting, a quick thought: Mariah was terrified of the delivery up until maybe two weeks ago, when the discomfort and the back pain and the nausea and the stretchy belly muscle pain really kicked in. Now she'll do anything to be DONE with the pregnancy, so the thought of delivery is a lot less scary ("JUST GET IT OUT OF ME!"). Isn't Nature great? ;)

More tomorrow...

Posted by patata at 10:09 AM | Comments (2)

October 06, 2005

Daily update: no baby yet

As promised, here's the first of the daily updates: everything is fine, just no baby yet.

Posted by patata at 11:58 AM

October 05, 2005

No baby yet

We went to the doctor this morning, definitely progress but obviously no baby yet. We set an appointment for Oct 17th ("only" 12 days from now: Mariah, hang in there!) to get induced if Guido Jack doesn't arrive before then (please oh please do!).

The baby craze has definitely started though, we're getting multiple calls a day from friends and relatives asking "is he here yet?".

So, given how uncomfortable and cranky Mariah is (can't blame her, you try and shlop that huge belly around for a while...), I have decided to change our answering machine message to "no baby yet, go to patatamonkey.com for updates" or something like that. I hope our friends (and the many political activits that call us about the california november election) will understand.

Stay tuned and wait with us!
P.

Posted by patata at 03:24 PM | Comments (1)

October 01, 2005

An update and a massage

If you are wondering what's going on because we haven't replied to your emails or returned your phone calls...we're ok. No baby yet. Today is a good milestone though, you can now count on your hands the days until the due date.

We haven't replied to email or phone calls because, as any parent can tell you, the last few weeks of pregnancy pretty much suck for the mom-to-be. Back-ache, nausea, bad sleeping patterns, puffy feet and hands, innumerable trips to the bathroom, not to mention the humongous kicking lump she has to carry everywhere she goes...enough to make anyone cranky!

Lucky for me Mariah is still nice to me, though I can imagine it must take some considerable effort on her part... ;)

Anyways, today I got Mariah an in-house, 90-minute-long massage, the least I could do...which brings me to the real reason for this post: if you are looking for a good and very nice certified massage therapist in the San Francisco area that does Shiatsu, Acupressure and Pre & Postnatal Massage, we highly recommend her: her name is Anastasia, and I will give you her phone number if you email me (peldi at peldi dot com).

She charges a "sliding scale", whatever that means. For someone who comes to your house, I found her rate very reasonable.

Oh, and I get a free massage for each two referrals, so do yourself and me a favour and ask me for her phone number! ;)

Posted by patata at 07:55 PM

September 16, 2005

Baby Shower and Ninth Month Pictures


here

Posted by patata at 05:46 PM

August 14, 2005

Preggos + Babies DimSum a lot of fun

IMG_1874.jpg

We just had 4 pregnant ladies (as you can see) and 5 babies at our house for a little sunday get-together. It was a lot of fun, I loved getting to know some cool peeps and catching up with old friends. Here are some pictures.

Thanks for all who came, we should definitely make this a recurrent event...baby-club anyone? ;)

Posted by patata at 04:15 PM

August 10, 2005

Belly at 31 weeks

Only 8 more to go!

Guido Jack has been kicking so hard that Mariah sometimes jokes that he's trying to get her to fall off of her chair... ;)

IMG_1857.jpg

and another

Everything is going great and we can't wait to meet him.

This weekend we are hosting a little preggers and parents of babies dim-sum at our house, I'll post some pics next week (if people give me permission, of course).

Posted by patata at 05:52 PM | Comments (2)

July 30, 2005

28th week ultrasound: a foot and a face!

foot.jpg

head.jpg

Posted by patata at 05:33 PM | Comments (1)

July 25, 2005

Baby-Moon a success

We went to Hawaii for a week for our "last hurrah" vacation before the baby comes. I heard that there's a name for it: baby-moon. Um. Neat. I guess.

Anyways, we saw 26 spieces of fish, we swam with turtles, I got stung by a man-of-war (never in my live have I experienced pain like it, but it makes for a good story now), we took awesome naps on the beach...

I know it was a good vacation because when I got back to work I HAD FORGOTTEN MY WORK PASSWORD!. I remembered it on my second attempt, but still, it felt great.

Now that we're back, and Mariah's belly is getting bigger by the minute, we have totally stepped up the efforts to get ready for the baby. See the next entries for details.

Posted by patata at 10:39 AM

June 12, 2005

Personal: 3rd ultrasound

We went for an ultrasound the other day, and I filmed it.

It's about 8 minutes long, the first 30 seconds are at home with Mariah drinking a lot of water in preparation for it. It turned out that she didn't need to drink any water for this one...CURSES!!! ;)

They just needed to take some more pictures of the heart and the bladder because they were blurry at the last ultrasound, the baby was moving too much...so much that the doctor at the end of the visit told us "good luck, it's yours". ;)

Anyways, everything looks ok, which is always good. The video is here: http://macromedia.breezecentral.com/ultrasound3/.

Posted by patata at 07:41 PM

Intro and what's this about?

Hello. My name is Peldi and I will be posting to this blog together with my wife Mariah. I have another blog, but it's mostly computer programming stuff (really, don't even bother clicking...).

Mariah is a volounteer for the conservation department at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and is now 5 months pregnant with our first child (it's a boy!)

Mariah is 31 and I'm about to turn 30. She's an adoptive South Carolinian from Vietnam. I'm Italian and have lived in San Francisco since 2001. We hope to move to Italy some day (maybe in 3 years? or 5? or 10? we'll see...).

We decided to start a parenting blog for a number of reasons: obviously, we wanted some sort of diary of the development of our baby, and have it be easily accessible by our parents and relatives. The most important reason though is that we feel that there's not that much info out there for people like us. Sure, there are tons of pregnancy books and sites, but somehow we haven't found a website of people like us.

I realize that looking for "people like you" is incredibly hard on the Internet, there's a whole industry of websites dedicated to the task. Still, it's normal for people not to share too much about their life on the web, you know the Internet is a dark and scary place sometimes...regardless, we decided that if we want to find other expecting couples with similar philosophy on life and tastes, we need to start sharing a bit about ourselves, so that these people can Google us better. ;)

This explains the things we like, parenting things we like and sites like this one sections on the right column of this blog, which we will try to update as we continue blogging.

Once we find people like us, or they find us, we hope that this site will become a good resource for dealing with having a child in this country at this time in history.

Being parents is no joke!
Peldi and Mariah

Posted by patata at 06:48 PM