Saturday, June 28, 2003

Sawyer and Sydney met each other this afternoon for the first time. Sawyer spent the visit filling Sydney in on all the neat stuff she's learned so far during her eight weeks on the planet.

Have two babies ever looked less alike?

Sawyer had her two-month appointment at the pediatrician on Thursday. (No, she won't actually be two months old until July 4, but who stands on ceremony for these things?) She weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs., 5 oz. -- moving her all the way up to 23rd percentile! Frankly, she can stay at 23% for as long as she likes -- tiny mommies are perfectly comfortable with 23rd percentile offspring. Her height is up to 21 1/2" (30th percentile), and her head circumference is 38 cm (40th percentile!). This, of course, gives me visions of Chandler Bing being tortured by the little voice in his mind saying "big head, big head, big head." So we officially no longer have any concerns about Sawyer's size. We actually haven't been troubled for some time, as she always looks appropriately healthy, pink, and cuddly.

Of course, the two-month appointment also included Sawyer's first batch of -- gulp -- shots! Paul held her arms and I cuddled her head as mean nasty Dr. Kerpsack gave her three needles in the thighs. She howwwwwwwwled or maybe three or four minutes accompanied by the howling of her mommy and daddy, and then cheered up nicely. She spent the next day or two alternating between fussy and sleepy, but on the whole, she behaved magnificently. She was even feeling good enough to give me this grin 24 hours after the shots.


Well, we will be as soon as I'm able to get my new invention approved by the FDA and into production. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Baby Spatula! As those of you with these little bundles of joy have undoubtedly noticed, sleeping cats have NOTHING on sleeping babies. Trying to move a somnolent Sawyer from arm-to-arm, chest-to-arm, arm-to-bed, or bouncy seat-to-bed is like trying to drink coffee with a fork. She literally oozes Shmoo-like right through our hands. So I'm thinking that the world could use a tool to effortlessly scoop up a baby and pour her into a new position. Nice broad, flat lifting surface with a high-quality Oxo Good Grips rubber handle -- perfect for lifting babies or making giant pancakes.
You'd buy this, right?

(Sawyer in a typically floppy pose.)

Thursday, June 26, 2003

So the nanny interviewing process has begun. At some point I will post what I'm sure will be a long discussion of the process, but for the time being, it should suffice to say that we're slated to see at least one candidate a day for about the next two weeks. Of course, if anyone has a wonderful person for us, by all means let us know. In the meantime, a new photo:

Monday, June 23, 2003

Today I'm actually talking about a different baby! (With Sawyer's permission, of course.)

In November of 1945, my grandparents, Esther and George Horowitz, moved to the 6000 North block of 12th Street in Philadelphia, where they met their neighbors Stanley and Harriet Basche. Both families had daughters the following year: Carole Horowitz and Joanne Basche were born two months apart (Joanne in March, Carole in May). They have been close friends throughout their lives -- they went all through school together, settled down a ten minute drive from each other in Huntingdon Valley after getting married, and now take bridge lessons together. In 1971, they had daughters six weeks apart: Joanne (now Wills)'s daughter, Wendy, was born in March, and Carole (now Ziev)'s daughter, Kimberly (um, that's me) was born in May.

Wendy and I have been close friends all our lives -- I've often joked that we've been friends since 25 years before we were born. We went from nursery school to elementary school to high school together (I appear on a *lot* of videotapes of Wendy's birthday parties), we both went to college in Boston, and we both settled in Manhattan. In 2001, Wendy married Eric Leon, who she'd met on a date set up by a friend and co-worker of Eric's: me. Wendy and Eric lived two blocks away from Paul and me up until a couple of months ago, when they moved a whopping ten blocks away.

As you all know, our daughter Sawyer was born on May 4, 2003. (We have a lot of May birthdays in this family.) And seven weeks later, this past Saturday, June 21, at 7 am, Sydney Reese Leon was born, marking the beginning of the third generation of friendship between girls-born-two-months-apart from our two families.

At least, we assume it will be a friendship. I guess they could hate each other, but Sydney and Sawyer clearly have a genetic predisposition toward friendship. I've spent the last few weeks keeping my fingers crossed that Wendy would have a daughter -- because you don't mess with a winning streak.

A big congratulations to Wendy and Eric, and welcome to Sawyer's new friend, Sydney!

Friday, June 20, 2003

Sawyer seems to have gotten the whole "social smile" thing under her belt. It's pretty darned cute. There you are, changing a diaper, smiling and cooing at the little baby butt lying on the changing table, and all of a sudden -- whammo! -- she flashes a big smile at you! Extremely cute. Not to mention gratifying, after six weeks of blank stares directed somewhere over my shoulder and squinched up howly faces!

Also, I'm about 90% sure that Sawyer has figured out the "kick and play" function of her kick and play bouncy seat. Yesterday, I was sitting at the computer answering email, I noticed that the bouncy seat was playing snippets of song more frequently than it usually does. For those of you without bouncy seat expertise: there are areas of the seat where, if a baby kicks them, lights light up and music or sound effects start playing. Prior to yesterday, Sawyer would accidentally bonk one of the sound activators with a foot every five minutes or so, thereby eliciting a little music or a whoopy noise or something. But yesterday, she actually raised a foot, plunked it down soundly, and smiled (rather proudly, I thought) as the bouncy seat lit up and played its little tune. When it stopped, she raised her foot again and then plunked it back down again! And so on, maybe 10 times in a row.

I will note that she was in a particularly alert zone when she performed this feat. When I tried to get her to duplicate it for Paul last night, she did so once or twice mixed in with some random footbonking, which was less impressive than the afternoon's display.

Finally, I'm sorry to report that Sawyer will not be getting a whole lot of developmental attention from her mommy this weekend, unless my reading chapters of the new Harry Potter book aloud to her counts. If our plans work out properly, Sawyer will spend the weekend being amused by her Bubbie while I read. Bring back Sirius Black! Enough with the House Elves!

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

We're back from the wedding -- it was quite lovely. We got back Monday evening, and are still recovering from the combination of the vast amount of time spent in the car, the unbelievable amount of stuff we were lugging around, and the number of people who wanted to hold, snuggle, and/or discuss our darling daughter. I may recover later in the week. Or maybe sometime next week.

Unsurprisingly, Sawyer was a big hit with her extended Niehaus family. We're very happy that everyone got to meet her, particularly Paul's grandparents, brother Jeffrey, and sister-in-law Jayne. Particular highlights of the weekend from a Sawyer perspective (this is, after all, Sawyer's World) include Paul and Jeffrey tag-team diapering Sawyer in the men's room of the church right after the wedding ceremony,

not to mention Jeffrey and Jayne's immediate infatuation with their new niece (I'd put the over/under on Sawyer getting a new cousin at about 22 months),

and my own personal new favorite photo of Mademoiselle Sawyer:

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

So we are currently preparing to drive to Richmond for Paul's cousin Jennie's wedding on Saturday. I just finishing making the list of everything we need to bring along for Sawyer for the 4 days we'll be gone. Apparently, the secret to packing for travel with a baby is to bring every single thing the baby owns.

What if she gets a sniffle? Better bring along the saline spray and de-snotting gizmo! What if she gets bad gas? Better pack the mylicon drops. We have a special folding swing especially for occasions like this, but Sawyer prefers her bouncy seat (which does not fold up), so better bring the bouncy seat! Who knows what kind of cribs the hotel supplies, so better bring the pack-n-play! And her own little towels and washcloths, so that her delicate little behind won't get the ouchies from hotel linens. (And besides, if we didn't bring her own towels, how else would we get pictures like this?)

And we obviously need both the stroller and the Baby Bjorn, because sometimes our little princess rejects one or the other for no apparent reason. And the video camera and the digital camera and the chargers for both. And a ton of diapers and wipes. And every glamorous little outfit she owns, because I'm sure she'll spit up on half of them before we even make it to the wedding. And so on.

I sent a draft packing list to Paul to see if I'd forgotten anything. I received a one word reply: "Valium."

I don't know how anyone flies anywhere with a baby, unless they send a steamer trunk ahead several days in advance with all of the baby's stuff. We're renting a full-size car for the drive to Richmond, and I'm not sure there will be enough room in the car!

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

I believe I promised a pout picture once I had one. This isn't the perfect Sawyer pout, but it's not bad:

Friday, June 06, 2003

Today has been a day of firsts here in Sawyer's world.

This morning, for the first time, she found and sucked on one of her fingers.

Later in the morning, she had her first through-the-nose spit-up. It was exceedingly glamorous.

Then this afternoon, she had her first baby massage -- that's right, Grandma Marlo's infant massage training put to excellent use!

And finally, later in the afternoon, she had her first experience with a pacifier. We've been concerned about introducing a pacifier for any number of reasons. The one that's yammered about in all the baby books is that you're not supposed to give a baby a pacifier until breastfeeding is 100% firmly established, in order to prevent confusion. But who makes the determination that a baby has mastered the art of nursing? It's not like someone certifies Sawyer with a black belt or something.

There are also a bunch of fuzzier concerns with pacifiers. There's the waving-of-the-white-flag aspect of it: sort of a "We give up on all of the excellent parenting techniques we're supposed to be employing. Here's a pacifier, kid. Shut up." kind of thing. Not to mention the perceived stigma to giving a baby a pacifier -- "Oh. You're that kind of parent." I also have a kind of vague worry that a pacifier will so deeply bliss a baby out that she'll forget that she's supposed to eat. Don't forget that while my daughter is a moosey peanut, a peanut she remains.

So anyway, we gave the pacifier a shot today during a particularly random fussy period to see how she'd react. Her response: Suck? Suck. Suck. Sucksucksucksuck SUCKSUCKSUCKSUCK suck suck. We had ourselves one blissful little Sawyer. And to her credit, when she got hungry, she spat the darned thing out and shot me a baleful look that plainly said "Mommy, there is no milk whatsoever coming out of this thing. Bring on the good stuff!" Thus endeth the eating disorder concern.

In other news, Grandma Marlo goes home to St. Louis tomorrow. Major bummer. For those of you who know Grandma Marlo, it will surprise you not at all to hear that in her five days here, she has cooked and frozen enough meals to last us a month, stayed up all night every night with Sawyer, changed every diaper she could get her hands on, kept the apartment neat, babysat while Paul and I went out for a lovely anniversary dinner, taught infant massage to Sawyer's parents, gone out for multiple walks with Kimberly and Sawyer every day, and taken several rolls of pictures, including the only flattering photographs of Kimberly taken since Sawyer was born. Her presence will be deeply missed!

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Sawyer was one month old yesterday! We can't believe it.

Here she is telling us how old she is:

And here she is with Daddy and her birthday cupcake:

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

When Sawyer cries, we run through all of the obvious possible causes. Is she hungry? In need of a diaper change? In readily identifiable pain? In need of a hug? In need of some quiet time sans hugs from parents and other loving relatives? If the answer to all of these questions is no, then she's fair game for baby howling photography.

She's got a really hilarious pout, and last night we tried to capture it. The photographic challenge is that the pout only comes out just past the halfway point of a big howling session, so all picture-taking must be properly timed. Last night we didn't succeed, but we did get these -- the mid-howl shot and the deeply reproachful "Mommy and Daddy, how could you stand there laughing and snapping pictures while I'm howling??" shot.

We'll keep trying for the pout. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

I'm starting to find it really bizarre that every day, Sawyer looks different. One day we discovered the double chin. Another day her mouth had widened across her face by what seemed like an inch. This morning her ears and cheeks look huge. I wonder if every night the synapses in her brain that dictate growth have a little conference and decide, "Okay, tonight we all work on growing the ears! Ears, everyone, ears! 5 millimeters by morning! Let's move!"

Grandma Marlo arrived yesterday for a week-long Sawyer adoration session. Sawyer responded by sleeping from 11:40 last night until 5:40 this morning. I have no explanation. She's now slept more or less "through the night" on two consecutive nights. I should note that I have been the primary caregiver on zero of those two nights. Paul did it two nights ago, and Marlo did it last night. The only explanation I can come up with (other than the one that says that Sawyer is going through a "rebel against Mommy" stage) is that with me, she smells FOOD and thus stays awake in the hope of partaking. With Paul and Marlo, there's no such problem.

Marlo analogized it to having a chocolate cake in the house: if you didn't have the cake in the house, you'd sleep perfectly soundly and not crave chocolate cake. But once it's there, you have to eat it because, well, it's there.

I will now proceed to enjoy this sleep-through-the-night thing for as long as it lasts. Because Paul is now back at work, and after Marlo leaves, there will be no one to help Sawyer sleep at night except for Mommy the Chocolate Cake.

Monday, June 02, 2003

What does she know?

Clearly this child knows something that we don't. I'll let you know what it is as soon as I find out myself.