Paternity Leave

I just want to say that paternity leave is awesome! Dave has this week and parts of the next two weeks off, and we’re really enjoying it!

My husband is turning out to be a really great father, not that I ever doubted he would be. He’s busy coming up with games to play during tummy time, figuring out the best way to burp him, and reading to him. Sam looks very into that book, doesn’t he?

Treading Water

What amazes me is how truly and completely I feel like I’m just barely treading water. This little guy who depends on us so completely represents an entirely different skill set than anything I have ever done before. How is it possible that I got into this with so little preparation? How have people done it all in the past?

He has only been home 4 days now. I’m sure it’ll get easier.

A breath of relief

Well, it appears that we have a GER baby. Reading around, I’m surprised we hadn’t heard more about it. Our experiment last night was a complete success. Sam is back to being the cheerful, easy to please kid that we fell in love with in the hospital. He looks around wide-eyed, he smiles at mommy, and he SLEEPS. Now we have to start backing out the changes that we made, looking for the right combination to continue this happy affair. Happily (and thanks to input from friends) we tried putting Sam into his swing this morning,¬†and he does well in there also – we now have two sleeping places for the kiddo to drop off!

A word to the wise, though – don’t stand too close to the swing and fixate on it. You’ll get carsick.

Who said life should be fair?

It’s almost 1:00am. Sam has been home almost two days now. Hours of sleep thus far? 3.

Yes, I know, I have a newborn baby – I shouldn’t expect sleep.

Well, who asked you? As it turns out, our newly released child has a nasty case of GER (gastroesophical reflux). Last night we didn’t know that – we just thought he was being fussy ALL NIGHT LONG. Tonight we figured out our poor baby boy wasn’t being contrary or demanding – he simply had the reasonable expectation that, once he swallowed his milk, it would stay down. Not too much to ask, but apparently his body isn’t on the same page.

So we’re trying an experiment tonight. We changed back all of the things we’ve done since we got home (since he didn’t have this problem in the ISCU). We’ve put him back in pampers disposable, we’re making his formula from the premixed liquid, and he only gets 30ml of food at each feeding. He’s also sleeping partially upright.

That last one was the hardest to sort out how to do but a little judicious research online found that many reflux sufferers sleep best in their car seat so I decided to try that out as well.

The result? He has been sleeping out of our arms for 1 1/2 hours without a single regurgitation event. It may not sound impressive, but he hasn’t been able to spend more than 10 minutes out of our arms since 4 this afternoon (when we figured all of this out).

I may just get to sleep tonight after all.

Caringbridge Update

We’ve said it before – the right nurse can make all the difference.

Last week Sue worked on Sam for the first time. She seemed nice, one of the more pleasant nurses that have been on him. Yesterday, she was back on him. She talked a lot about how he had grown so much and was way more alert and interactive than the just 3 days earlier. She made such a big deal about Sam and showed a sincere level of interest and affection for him that it warmed our hearts and we decided she was a nurse to cultivate. As it turns out, she felt the same way about us (read: Sam) and she was the one to conspire with his primary to schedule themselves on him to the exclusion of the other nurses in the department. Since then, we have found Sue to be a conscientious caregiver with almost as much interest in having a good relationship with us as in Sam’s care.

Today we were talking with Sue about how it might be nice to try a trial run with him and put him on on-demand feeding. We think that Sam has shown a pattern where, when we wake him up ourselves, that he never fully wakes and has poor feeds. Contrast that with times when he wakes up himself and he’s a bottle-feeding rockstar who should tour the country and give concerts of feeding performances for poor feeders everywhere. So we started feeding him today and the next thing we knew, Sue had gone and gotten the nurse practitioner, explained what we were thinking, and convinced her to go for it. She then disappeared again and when she returned, she let us know that she had just made sure that the order for his feeding had been changed so that the night nurse would know to feed him whenever he woke up and looked like he wanted to be fed. Sue’s a nurse who gets things done.

Now…lest you all get too excited – Emily and I have discussed it and we’re not expecting the world. To be honest, I would be floored if the next 24 hours were an unqualified success, but I think that it is going to give us good insight into his remaining issues and where we can best support him as he works on his feeding.

Kitty’s New Bling


If we have one area of dissatisfaction with our cat, it would be that we were never able to train Darwin to not sharpen her claws on the furniture. As a kitten, she would attack any piece of furniture while studiously ignoring all of the many alternatives that we provided.

Finally Emily and I decided that we would cede a wicker basket and Emily’s old chair to the cat and we would enthusiastically defend the new couches and ottoman with a spray bottle. Darwin was happy to destroy the proffered gifts but chose to consider the spray bottle as a new and exciting game – watching us as she mangled the furniture until we reached for the spray bottle, at which point she would sprint off, with her tail held high giggling all the way. (I just know she was giggling, okay?)

With our upcoming move to a new apartment, Emily and I are considering adding to our furniture collection. The problem that we found was that nothing we liked (leather, loose weave fabrics) would stand up to the cat for very long. Our hearts were heavy as we considered having to leave her in a park (OH COME ON! You actually believe that???). We didn’t know what to do.

I had heard of softpaws in the past but they seemed so dumb, like just another ridiculous excuse for ridiculous people to accessorize their pets. Finally in a fit of desperation (after finding the perfect sofa), I decided to bite the bullet and order a pack. They came in yesterday. Essentially, they’re simply a pack of vinyl plastic booties for her claws and a bottle of super glue. The theory is that we glue them to the cat’s claws and she eventually gives up trying to rip them off, makes her peace with being essentially de-clawed, and we all live happily ever after.

Applying the softpaws was surprisingly easy. I was understandably eager to try them out when I got home, but past nail-clipping experience told me to bide my time with the cat and wait until she had calmed down (we have this whole kitty-loving routine when I get home that she has to complete before she settles down for the night). Finally I couldn’t stand it any longer and tore open the pack, prepped a couple of the bits of plastic and grabbed the cat. Surprisingly she didn’t object that much with just a little bit of squirming; I had the 4 front claws of one paw done and had just slipped the 5th over her thumb-claw before she truly objected. I held her down, held the bit of plastic in place until the glue took hold and then let her go. She wandered around a bit (5-ish minutes) and would occasionally try to lick at her paws – of course I stopped her until the glue dried. After a 1/2 hour, though, she seemed to have forgotten all about them and was happily relaxing on the couch. Rinse and repeat the second paw (this time with Emily’s help). Once again, she wandered around, irritated, for 5 minutes and then settled down.

All that is to say that, thus far, the softpaws experiment is a success. Attempts to destroy the furniture have been met with the same motions but lacking the damage. I’d have to that Emily and I are sold.

Darwin still hasn’t made up her mind.

The Verdict

Seattle Snopocalypse 2008 – Day 4

So the snow stopped Thursday around 3:00pm and I thought that I had seen the last of the snow for this round of storms. Locals report that snow like this is very unusual.

I was wrong.

It just started snowing again about an hour ago. The weathermen are warning us to expect 8 inches and 60-80 mph winds. Apparently this new weather front is one to be prepared for (which, of course, we didn’t).

The point of all this is: if you’re expecting to see us in Phoenix next week, you might want to start making your peace with our absence – we’re gonna try to make it, but there’s a good chance that we’ll be snowed in.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

As I type, I’m sitting in our dining nook at the table, staring at the beauty that snow always lends to the most mundane of sights.

As you might have read, Seattle received 4-5 inches (my estimate) of snow yesterday. Before we received the brunt of this winter storm, I thought Satellites were ridiculous. Wednesday, the weather men were predicting 2-3 inches of snow. Every school district in the sound canceled classes (except Seattle U, of course). We didn’t receive a single flake of snow. The collective paranoia of Seattle worked to give kids a free day off school, in spite of any compelling reason to do so. Then yesterday happened.

Between 3:00am and 3:00pm we received that 4-5 inches that I mentioned earlier. The roads instantly iced over. What I hadn’t quite understood is that Seattle has absolutely no salt trucks or anything else to help them manage icy conditions. Not a single one. For a hilly city like Seattle, that can be crippling. All buses went into a snow-route mode where they avoided any and all hills. Fortunately, it seems that most Seattleites know to avoid the roads (at least, I didn’t witness any accidents, though I’ve heard of quite a few and you don’t have to wait *too* long before seeing a car drive by with some sort of damage). Unfortunately, the adjusted bus routes and general…crappiness…of the bus’s web site conspired to strand most commuters. (If you’re reading this and work for the county, I’d be interested in consulting to fix your piece of junk web site, please contact me – I’d be willing to offer generous rates.)

In spite of the widespread chaos, Seattle U remained open. Well…it remained open long enough for me to walk the 4 miles in to the office, get situated, and start focusing on my daily tasks. With uncanny timing, it was at that point that Father Steve threw in the towel and acquiesced to the inevitable, closing campus. So I spent another 1 1/2 hours, making my way home, just to start back into my daily workload. That’s right, my friends, even though the university shut down; even though, untold marvels of beauty laid not a yard from my nose, out the window, I had to continue to work. Ah, the tragedy! Not only that, but when the university announced that they would shut down today as well, my director tacked on a note, that we were to make progress on our projects!

All was not pain and suffering, though. At least I had natural sunlight to work by and a loving wife to prepare my coffee…

Oh…and if you’re in the mood, check out this little video put together by my pastor relating to the Seattle Snopocalypse of 2008.