Wednesday, November 2, 2011

snapshot: Henry at three months

[Seeing as Henry is almost four months old, I thought I'd post the update I wrote back when he turned three months.]

My sweet little three-month-old. Henry, you just keep getting sweeter and more fun! Here's what your life is like right now:

You moved up to size 2 diapers and promptly pooped out the side of one while I was burping you one night. Poop in my belly button—a first for me.

Another first for me: You pooped as I was wiping you the other day. Since I was already staring intently at your behind, I had a front-row seat for this rare glory.

You're getting better at grabbing things and bringing them to your mouth. Right now, your favorite things to grab: your hands, our fingers, the yellow phone rattle (Daddy's when he was a baby), the cage ball with a rattling ball inside, my hair, and burp cloths.

Speaking of mouthing things, for the past few weeks you have been seriously chomping down on things (as opposed to just sucking). You even bruised your little knuckle! That made me sad, so whenever I see you biting your hand too vigorously, I try to substitute my finger or a toy.

You are escaping regularly from even our best swaddles. This makes me want to wean you off the swaddle, but the other day I tried swaddling just one arm (leaving your right arm, your favorite, for you to suck on) and it kept you from ever falling asleep. I guess for now you still need to be swaddled, so I take this as a personal challenge from you to step up our swaddle game. I'm thinking duct tape or ace bandage.

You seem to appreciate our sleep time routine more, and you're much easier to put to sleep. No crying—just sometimes a minute or two of fussing/fidgeting/grunting in my arms before getting droopy eyelids. At night, you're consistently sleeping about seven hours, waking in the wee hours for a meal, and then sleeping two to three more hours before your first meal of the day. You are a sleeping champ! That week or so of nine- to ten-hour nights (right around two months) was a tease, but this is still super great, and I'm very thankful that you're sleeping so well.

One of your most precious new developments is stroking my shirt with the palm of your hand while you nurse. Back and forth, back and forth. So precious. And then, as if I needed another reason to absolutely adore you, once you're not super hungry anymore you look up at me until I notice you, and then give me the biggest, sweetest, happiest smile—and then go back to nursing. Usually we're not in a hurry, so I confess to letting this go on for quite a while. After a bit of a rough start with breastfeeding, I consider it our special reward for all that hard work and perseverance.

You can curl yourself onto your side, but you're not going from back to tummy just yet. You clearly want to move yourself, though—if you're tired of lying on your back or sitting in the bouncer, you'll grunt and strain, lifting up your head and straightening your arms and legs. Daddy and I like to imagine you're saying to yourself, “One, two, three, getmeoutofhere!” or “one, two, three, somewhereelsenow!” And then we laugh (sorry).

This isn't something new, but I love how you shrug your shoulders up when you talk. It is seriously so cute, and I've been trying to capture it on video.

You grab your feet, suck your thumb, control your head really well, follow us around the room with your eyes, and smile at the baby in the mirror.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Amy's Lists: Things that have made me cry this week

  1. This documentary on circumcision
  2. Not knowing how to help Henry get to sleep now that he abruptly weaned himself off the swaddle (turns out he does best when laid down in bed, calm but alert--he plays and fusses for 15-20 minutes before falling peacefully asleep)
  3. These photographs of a couple meeting and taking home their little boy they adopted from Korea
  4. Chopping onions

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Amy's Lists: Things I've said to ants

  1. Time to die.
  2. You know who's going to drown? You are.
  3. If you come by the sink, you will go down the drain.
  4. Die, motherfucker!

Monday, September 12, 2011

when Henry gets to choose

So, our boy loooves to stare at the walls and the ceiling, and the other day Chris called me into the bedroom where I found them chilling, Henry-style:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

snapshot: Henry at two months

Henry, you're two months old! Here's a rundown of your life right now, since you won't remember any of it.

For the past two weeks, you and I have been alone together during the day. For better or for worse, you now have a real, live stay-at-home mom. I was nervous in the beginning, but you're pretty fun and I've loosened up quite a bit, and now I'm sure we're going to be all right.
Discovering that you're content to watch me blow dry my hair has been a total game-changer in the morning. :-) 

When you received your six-week shots, you weighed in at 10 pounds 11 ounces. Your next doctor visit is two weeks away, so I don't know how much you weigh now, but I'm guessing over 12 pounds. You feel so heavy in my arms!

We haven't found a bigger apartment yet, so for now you sleep in the co-sleeper in our room. A sound machine signals to you that it's bedtime.

You need your arms swaddled tightly by your sides in order to sleep. You also usually need one arm pinned underneath you when you nurse or you'll push yourself away (which makes you very angry). If you're really worked up before a meal, you need your other hand pinned down too or it'll get in the way as you try to latch. Those pesky arms!

Speaking of arms, you have discovered them (although you don't realize they're attached to you), and if you catch sight of them you try to grab one hand with the other. You also sometimes point your finger, which is just really cute.

Your favorite words are “goo” and “ghee," accompanied by the sweetest smile on the planet. And sometimes spit-up. You've also recently added an occasional "beh" and some adorable squeals.

I sing to you a lot, and often you'll sing along with me. It's pretty fun. We sing Annie songs, Elton John songs, plenty of Disney musicals, some Regina Spektor, Joshua Radin, the Mister Rogers "Good Feeling" song, and the hymns and worship songs my mom sang to me when I was little. I sing "Let Mercy Lead" by Rich Mullins--he wrote it for his song Aiden, and I substitute your name and use it as a prayer for you. I've also decided to start working in some classic CCM (Michael W. Smith, Petra, White Heart, etc.) in honor of my dad, your namesake (Daniel).

You seem to have resigned yourself to the constant kisses and no longer put up a fight. When I kiss you on the mouth, you leave your mouth open, and it's the most adorable thing ever.

We spend quite a bit of time laughing at you. It's kind of convenient, because you provide the comic relief for your own difficult behavior. You're a full-service baby.

You love the Ergo, and if all else fails, we know we can put you in it and you'll sleep like the baby you are. So far, you're not particularly impressed with the stroller, so you're in the Ergo almost anytime we go out.

You've taken countless bus trips by now.

Pooping still upsets you and, much to my dismay, sometimes wakes you up when you've been sleeping peacefully.

These days, when we swaddle you, give you a pacifier, and lay you down in the co-sleeper, you'll fall asleep on your own eventually. Until very recently, though, I would hold you and rock you to sleep. I still do that sometimes. And I have to say, I (usually) don't mind a bit. I've decided you're going to be small for such a short time, so I'm just going to enjoy the feel of your tiny, warm body resting in my arms, your cute little feet dangling by my side, your sweet smiles as you drift off to sleep, the way it takes forever for your eyes to close completely, and how different your face looks when you're sleeping.

You love your Daddy time every morning. After you have your morning meal, he burps you and changes you and plays with you until he leaves for work. Of course, you also get lots of fun Daddy time on the weekends. It's the best. He also feeds you one bottle each night, which you gobble up (at least, that's what I hear—I don't know, I'm busy sleeping). In the past few days you've dropped both of your night feedings, though, so he may not be doing that anymore! We'll see.

Baths happen in our kitchen sink, and you love them. I love that you love bath time, and it's become one of my favorite things to do with you. I try to give you a bath every day because it's such a nice experience for both of us, but sadly I don't always get the dishes done in time.

You also love being on your changing table (a changing pad on the dresser) and having your diaper changed. That's my boy! Cleanliness is next to godliness!

You bring so much joy to our lives, Henry, and I love being your mommy. It's so much harder and more wonderful than I imagined. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

my Henry boy

In choosing a name for our son, one of the deal-breakers was that it be a name not likely to be shortened by others. We wanted it to stand on its own. We wanted people to call him exactly what we named him.

We also routinely mocked people who engaged in "baby talk," claiming that we would never stoop to that. We would speak to our child like the adults that we are.

Of course, no sooner had Henry made his entry into this world than the silliest terms of endearment started flowing from my mouth with unstoppable force. I'm serious--I cannot stop myself. I sound a lot like this all day long (except without the element of comedic genius, unfortunately).

So without further ado, here's a list of the things I call Henry on a daily basis:

Henry boy*
Bubby boy*
Pumpkin noodle*
Pumpkin boy*

Sweet pea*
Sweetie pea*
Snorty Henry

My sweet
My love 
My sweet love
My sweet boy
My sweetie boy

Froggy boy*
My son
My lovely
My little one
Tasmanian devil

*Can be prefaced with "my little"

I'm out of control over here, people, with the names. But I don't care. Just look at this sweet little bubby boy! How could I NOT call him exactly what he is--my precious little sweetie pea, my lovie?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

39 weeks

Sometime in the next three weeks, we will go from "Chris and Amy Millward: Childless Couple Who (Mostly) Sleep through the Night and Generally Do What We Want" to "Chris and Amy Millward: Inexperienced Parents and Sole People Responsible for Keeping Our Particular Baby Alive."

So yeah, I'm starting to kind of freak out. But just as frequently as I freak out, I yearn to see and hold and kiss and feed and rock our baby boy. I long to call him by his real name instead of Blaybley, our silly name for him right now.

Every time he moves, I try really hard to picture him. I imagine giving birth to him and the first time I get to touch him and hold him. I picture Chris and me just staring at him--hopefully with those special parent glasses that make weird-looking newborns look like beautiful, miraculous specimens--and examining his perfectly formed body.

I've been feeling emotional and teary for the past week or so. I think I'm feeling the gravity of what I'm about to do and wondering if I can really do it. This morning at my appointment, my midwife said something like, "I have every faith in you that you can do this. I think it's going to be a normal, boring birth." And I felt like sobbing, because that's exactly what I've been wanting to hear from her.

Toward the beginning of the pregnancy, I worried a lot that because this is my first birth, and I'm small, and I don't have a reputation for having a particularly high pain tolerance, that secretly she was thinking, "Sure, you can try to have a natural birth--but I'm basically waiting for you to fail."

Of course, I realized that was ridiculous, and as time went on, I let go of that fear and felt confident in myself and my body's ability to do this. But now--now that I'm staring down the reality that at any moment my labor could start--those fears are resurfacing. I know I should have just said to her, "I know this is crazy, but I'm worried that you don't believe I can do this." But it's hard to say those words, and I just never did. So it was such a gift that she said those words to me this morning.

One more thing, since this is already an emotional, rambling post. If you pray, I have a prayer request. There's this song that I listened to a few weeks ago, and ever since then, this little part of it has been stuck in my head: "And all of my labor seems to be in vain..." Of course, the song isn't talking about childbirth, but it's really starting to bother me that I keep finding myself singing that line, because it feeds into my fear that my labor won't progress normally. Would you pray that those lyrics (and really that entire song) would leave my mind, and that a song full of peace and reassurance and confidence would take its place? Thank you, friends. You're the best.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Q&A with Amy

In preparation for a baby shower game, my friend Erika asked me to answer some questions about pregnancy and parenting. They never ended up being used in the game, but I'm so glad she had me do it because now I have them, both for posterity and to share with you. 

Maybe if you're lucky, this handsome fellow will let me post his answers, too.

It's a considerably shorter and less serious read.

What was your first reaction when you found out you were expecting?

Shock, disbelief, and giddy happiness--somehow all at once.

What excites you about becoming a parent?

Right now, I'm excited about little things--kissing our son's cheeks, watching him discover new things, taking him to the park, giving him a bath...those are the things that occupy my thoughts these days. But when I think a little more "big picture," one thing I'm looking forward to is just kind of standing back and watching him grow up and experience the world with his own unique perspective. I'm looking forward to figuring out how to talk to him about God without oversimplifying things to the point of watering it down. 

I'm also really looking forward to this new chapter in my relationship with Chris. So far, each chapter has been better than the last, and I'm excited to keep growing together and learning from each other.

What scares you?

Pretty much all the same things that excite me. :-) It's scary thinking about how much our life is going to change, and I know that having a child is going to bring new challenges to our marriage. There's something very scary about so many unknowns being ahead of us.

What was your reaction when you found out the baby's gender?

At first, disappointment--I had wanted a girl and had really convinced myself it WAS a girl. Also, I had been harboring quite a bit of pride at the idea of presenting the Millward clan with their first girl in two generations. 

But later that day, I caught a glimpse of my pregnant belly in the mirror and my first thought was, "I love you, little boy." I was surprised and overwhelmed by how fiercely I loved him, and how almost protective I felt of his boyness. I know this isn't always the case, but for me, learning his gender caused me to bond with him immediately, and from that point on I honestly never wished for a girl. I couldn't imagine it any other way.

What's one of your biggest goals for yourself as a parent?

Wow, I have no idea. I'm not sure I even know what my goals are as a person. I guess one of my biggest goals overall is to love people well--to be an example of how God loves us. And that sounds like a good parenting goal, too. Clearly I need to think about this more.

What's something you hope to instill in your child?

Some things I'd like to instill in our son are confidence and the belief that failure isn't a bad thing. I'd really like for him not to be ruled by a fear of failure.

What has impressed you most about your spouse during the pregnancy?

From past experience, I already knew Chris would be great at taking care of me, and he has been. But one thing I'm really impressed with is how positive he's been about the whole thing, even though he had wanted to wait a little longer before getting pregnant. 

I thought he would struggle with that more, but he got used to the idea super quickly and has instead graciously helped ME cope with all the changes, both to my body and to our lives. He's really made this whole, crazy experience so much more fun and positive. One of my favorite parts of the day is joking with him about the baby and pregnancy stuff.

What about pregnancy has surprised you?

I always thought I would love being pregnant--it looked pretty easy to me, and I thought I'd look cute with a belly. I would inwardly roll my eyes at pregnant women who complained of feeling fat. I also didn't understand what the big deal was about feeling nauseated. I remember thinking to myself, I've felt nauseated before; it's not that bad. 

Surprise, Amy! Being pregnant is actually not easy (at least not for me). It's been an emotional rollercoaster accompanied by almost constant nausea (which is WAY different from occasional nausea), and a lot of the time I feel a little bit fat and not remotely cute. What a fool I was.

What's the biggest disagreement you've had about pregnancy/parenthood?

Ooh, good question...I'm not sure what our biggest disagreement has been, but the first one was pretty big. As soon as we found out I was pregnant, we resumed a long-standing argument: when to make a public announcement. I couldn't imagine keeping such a huge secret from family and close friends and wanted to tell everyone right away, and Chris wanted us to have some special time "just us" before the baby craze and wanted to wait until the start of the second trimester to tell anyone. 

Thankfully, due to a variety of circumstances, it eventually made sense to tell a few close friends during the first trimester, and wait to announce it to our families and everyone else until Christmas time (just before the second trimester). So we sort of both got our way. :-)

How many kids do you want to have all together, and why do you think that's the ideal number?

I want to have four children. I've always liked the idea of having a big family, and as the eldest of four, I think four is a nice, even number.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

30 weeks

Behold, not one, but two photos of me and my giant belly!

Before leaving the house Friday night for a friend's birthday party at Poquito, a yummy Ecuadorian restaurant we will definitely be returning to.

Out and about in our neighborhood Saturday afternoon.

And now I will tell you some of what we did on Saturday, just because I feel like it. 

We started out by realizing we were hungry and it was lunchtime, so we got lunch at Nopa, probably our favorite restaurant within walking distance of our house (although it's really hard to choose). 

Waiting for our lunch at Nopa.

I had a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice and their custard french toast. It's the best french toast I've ever had (and I've had a lot of french toast). Chris had smoked rainbow trout, farmer's cheese, and radishes on a bagel, and it too was quite delicious. 

We're on the hunt for a dresser for the baby, so we stopped at The Other Shop and Mickey's Monkey, two vintage shops near our house, but didn't find anything.

After that, we hit up a corner produce market and scored some amazing-looking local strawberries (we ate them last night, and they were pretty darn good), huge navel oranges, lemons, and beets. 

The whole time we were out the baby was doing his usual alien rotations. He's not so much into the rapid kicking anymore--now he mostly goes for slow, big rolls and flops, and he's hard at work on them all day long. Once, a knuckle-sized bump appeared on the side of my belly and, alarmed, I pushed it gently back in. It's like he's trying to freak me out. A lot of the time these days, my stomach doesn't look completely symmetrical, because he's situated himself on one side or the other. I say that like I know what he's doing; I have no idea what he's doing, or what part of his body is trying to escape through my belly button at any given moment. I really wish for X-ray vision at a time like this.

Here are two other photos, just because you've made it this far in my ramblings and probably feel you deserve some kind of reward for that.

26 weeks

29 weeks
Somehow I lost the side view photo. Crazy how well this top disguised my belly from the front, though.

Monday, February 14, 2011

running through the mall

One time, all four of us kids were at the mall with Daddy, and Becky started to get fussy, so we needed to leave. I guess in an attempt to distract Becky and make the journey faster and a little less unpleasant, he announced that we were going to run through the mall to the car and reassured us it would be fun.

Jesse and I were old enough to be mortified at this idea. We started doing the "no Daddy, no" thing, pleading with him quietly (and while glancing around to see who was watching) not to do it. Dana, however, was easily sold on the joys of running through the mall, so Daddy held Becky in one arm and took Dana's hand with the other and off they went, laughing and running. Jesse and I didn't have to discuss our plan--we pretended we didn't know them and walked slowly back to the car, thoroughly humiliated and mad at Daddy for tainting our mall reputations with such uncoolness.

I love that memory. Doing what's right, being a good parent, and having fun were always more important to Daddy than being cool. I think part of what made him a fun dad was that he didn't really care what people thought. And now I see that it's much more important that your child respect and admire you when they're a mature adult than that they think you're cool when they're a silly, insecure adolescent.

Anyway, happy birthday, Daddy. I wish so much that I could call you today and wish you a happy birthday. I miss you every day.