Thursday, July 31, 2003

I TAKE TWO STEPS FORWARD, I TAKE TWO STEPS BACK: I referred in my last post to a couple of new developments: hands and bottles. Let's start with hands.

It's pretty amazing how quickly Sawyer picks up new interests. All of a sudden, one day, she just couldn't get enough of looking at her hands. "Wow! Mommy! Look at these! Who knew??" She looks at them reallyreallyclose to her face, too, so she spends much of the day looking somewhat cross-eyed as she peers down her nose at her hands. She also likes to gnaw on them.

Yesterday, about a day after she noticed her hands, she started whacking at things with them. It's not really consistent yet, but she did two things for the first time: she hit some of the little animals hanging from her gymini, and she batted at the toys on her swing. Interestingly, she never enjoyed the swing before -- she was always more of a bouncy seat kind of gal. But now she's not really into the bouncy seat anymore -- "Yeah, yeah, Mommy, I know how to do this nonsense with the feet. Give me something new to work on!" -- so I plopped her into the swing, where she happily chomped on her hands and smacked around the little plastic dog and cat hanging from the top of the swing. Presumably she'll get bored of the swing right around the time she's ready for the Exersaucer. I can see why childrearing is expensive.

(By the way, while I'm on the subject of expense: for those of you who would like a good giggle, it's worth pointing out that Paul was convinced that we'd actually save money by having a kid, since we wouldn't be eating out, going to the theatre, etc. as often. He's right that we go out less, but come out ahead overall? Ha.)

Moving on to bottles. All this nursing strike stuff I've been writing about for the last couple of weeks seems to have been a smokescreen for the real issue: Sawyer doesn't want to nurse anymore. The fundamental problem has nothing to do with the milk itself -- she's perfectly happy to guzzle that stuff till the cows come home. No, no, my daughter is simply lazy. It is a statement of fact that eating from a bottle is easier than eating from a mommy, even when one uses those "babies can't tell the difference!" bottles. Sawyer wants the milk to be poured down her throat. None of this "working at it" business. And she's not only lazy, but she's stubborn, too: she'd rather go without than actually sit there and suck until she gets the milk. (I have no idea where she could possibly have inherited her stubbornness from. Nope, no idea at all.)

So we had a standoff. I figured that she'd eventually get hungry enough to eat from the one available source. She figured that if she refused to eat and screamed bloody murder, I'd give her a darned bottle already. I caved. We're pumping and bottling from now on. Frankly, we're both a lot happier. I was getting pretty sick of having a fight every time she needed to eat, and I'm sure she wasn't exactly thrilled with the situation either. I hope to continue offering Sawyer exactly one menu item -- mommymilk and nothing but mommymilk -- for at least the next three months, and maybe longer if I can manage it.

All this being said, I continue to heartily advocate nursing for the gonna-be-a-new-mom-someday crowd, who seem to make up a disproportionately large share of my readership. Even setting aside the whole medical benefits of mommymilk thing (although the Nursing Nazi literature makes one wonder how the human race didn't wither away and die with the advent of formula), I don't regret one minute of it, and would continue for as long as possible but for my loss in the Great Nursing Standoff of 2003. There's no reason in the world not to give it a try for at least a month -- the worst that can happen is that you either become a pump-and-bottler or you switch to formula. (Why a month? I think it takes that long for both mommies and babies to figure out what the heck they're doing.)

Meanwhile, here's a new picture: Sawyer's first bubblebath!

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Sawyer has been named! Everything went as well as we could possibly have hoped. Many thanks to everyone who was able to make it! Paul and I had a great time, and Sawyer seems to have made it through the experience without too much anxiety. (Plus it was a lot of fun to have some of our friends meet some of our other friends -- given that most of our friends don't know each other.) A lot of you also mentioned to me that they've been enjoying reading Sawyer's World, which was rather gratifying to hear.

I don't have a good picture yet of Sawyer all dolled up in her naming outfit, but suffice to say for the time being that she was a vision in pink and lace! She was quite well behaved, all things considered -- spent most of the ceremony sleeping over my shoulder, and most of the party sleeping over one or the other of her grandmothers' shoulders.

Through the transitive property of blessing, Sawyer received good wishes from her parents and grandparents:

Earlier in the weekend, she met the one great-grandparent she hadn't met yet -- Paul's grandfather, Poco Irv:

So now, everything is pretty much back to normal -- we have returned to our customary routine, complete with Sawyer's ongoing infatuation with her mobile, recent realization that she might actually have hands, and ongoing nursing crises. Let's face it -- the kid likes mommymilk, but all things considered, would rather have it served to her in a bottle.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Sorry that blogging has been so light this week, but we've been preparing for Sawyer's naming celebration this weekend. (To give you a sense of the general level of activity, we have not yet repaired or replaced the soundless TV!) I'll post more next week, but in the meantime, here's a little Sawyer du Jour:

Monday, July 21, 2003

Paul has pointed out that I have neglected to use this blog to sing the praises of TiVo: Savior of the New Mother's Sanity.

It should be clear to all of our readers by now that I spend a lot of time feeding Sawyer. Not a lot that one can do to amuse oneself while nursing a baby. Reading is challenging (although I pulled it off while reading the new Harry Potter because the book was heavy enough to hold itself open while perched on a pillow next to me). Talking on the phone is okay, except that there's a fairly small population of people around for me to talk to at 2 pm on a Tuesday or at 4 am on any night. Plus I need to put whoever I'm talking to on hold whenever Sawyer requires my attention. Checking my email, while it has enabled me to keep in touch with all sorts of people during this sequestered time in my life, clearly doesn't work so well -- although I will confess that I have managed to do a little surfing once or twice while Sawyer has been dining. (Don't ask me how I pulled that off.)

But there's nothing like TiVo. Non-TiVo television has all sorts of problems:

1. There is very, very little on TV at 4 in the morning. Most of our umpteen digital cable channels are nothing but infomercials from 1 am until 7 am. Even stations that are perfect for late night viewing -- Animal Planet, E!, etc. -- go off the air.
2. There is very, very little on TV from 11 am until 4 in the afternoon, unless you want to watch one of the 20-odd knockoffs of Trading Spaces, or a Wedding/Makeover/Baby Story, or Days of Our Lives, or reruns of Press Your Luck (no whammies, no whammies, no whammies -- stop!).
3. Most importantly, I rarely have an uninterrupted half hour, much less an hour, to sit and watch TV.

TiVo has changed my life. I can pause live TV, so I don't miss a moment of Amazing Race while Sawyer decides that she wants something other than milk for dinner. I can pick entire series (serieses?) that I've never watched before and watch every single episode, even though I have no idea when the shows are actually on TV (Gilmore Girls, Without a Trace, Coupling). I can tape every talk show that has an interview with Jennifer Garner (even though I don't have time to figure out which ones she's appearing on that week), watch just the interview and delete the rest. I can watch the fifteen relevant minutes of Paradise Hotel and For Love or Money 2 and skip the 45 minutes of filler. And all this without having to figure out which videotape each show is recorded on, or how far I need to fast forward to skip two Law and Orders and find the Mad About You where Paul and Jamie met for the first time. (It also keeps me from falling asleep while feeding Sawyer, then waking up 45 minutes later with no idea whether she ate for 5 minutes or the whole 45, which is pretty cool in and of itself!)

Actually, this is something of a TiVo eulogy, as the sound on our living room TV died yesterday. So until we get it fixed or (more likely) Paul races out and buys an HDTV-ready TV, I have two choices: watch TiVo with closed captioning or watch infomercials in Sawyer's room at 4 am.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Well, the rolling over incident hasn't been repeated yet -- but it looked so deliberate! -- but Sawyer is definitely making progress on the "things I can do on my tummy" front. Because putting her on her tummy is something that we do only with close supervision, I've really been able to watch her progress. She's gone from (a) immediately falling asleep to (b) staying awake and staring off into space with her head in whatever position it started out to (c) wiggling her head around a bit to see everything on one side to (d) turning her head from one side to another to (e) raising her head a bit to see what's going on in front of her to (f) what we have now, involving serious neck strength and some arm involvement as well:

Pretty impressive, no? (And I just noticed that Sawyer looks a lot like Paul in this picture. Hm.)

And then some more from the "this baby is going to get us for this one somewhere along the line" files:

When I was still pregnant and Paul and I were referring to Sawyer as the Rabbit (but not "Rabbit" as a proper name, which drove me nuts . . . ), we would joke around that this baby was going to be born and be extremely confused as to why she didn't have big floppy ears, given that she was a rabbit. So now she's got her ears.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

I feel like we're entering the part of our lives where Sawyer's going to do something new every day.

Yesterday she rolled over for the first time. On a totally level surface, from her tummy to her back. She just kinda lifted her head off the floor, leaned to her left, and slowly rolled over onto her back. I was in shock. She was rather fussy the rest of the day, so I haven't tried to get her to do it again yet. As my mother put it, we're not sure whether the roll was intentional or accidental. But it was pretty cool regardless.

She also now has sufficient control over her neck muscles that she can ride in the Baby Bjorn facing forwards! She really seems to love it, and gazes all over the place watching the world go by. This little Manhattan baby can now watch Manhattan going on around her!

Her vocabulary is increasing as well. It now includes all kinds of little coos and squeaks and various other monosyllabic utterances. One of them sounds exactly like the word "hi." So every once in a while she says "hi!" -- which, understandably, surprises the heck out of Paul and me.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Sawyer went to her first big Ziev family event today -- Kimberly's Aunt Libbie and Uncle Abe's 50th anniversary party. (I should be clear -- in my parents' household, the "Ziev family" refers to my dad's relatives, while my mom's family is the Horowitz family. But in Sawyer's world, the Zievs are everyone who isn't related by blood to her daddy, who from this point forward are all Niehauses rather than Niehauses and Stiefermans. And how dopey is it that it's Niehauses and Stiefermans rather than Niehomes and Stiefermen?? But I digress.) She met all sorts of new (to her, anyway) cousins, which was a lot of fun. We also had our first family-of-three portrait taken since the ones taken while we were all still in the hospital:

Friday, July 11, 2003

A couple of days ago, I put her into her "coming home from the hospital" outfit, which she had been positively swimming in at the time she came home. I was amazed to see that it now fits her perfectly.

(Followup: July 16, 2003, 11:17 am -- I currently have this picture as the wallpaper on our computer -- I just love the sweet little smile.)

Sometimes Sawyer is all smiles, all the time.

(Clearly the Ziev eyes come into play during these great big smiles! Equally clear is the fact that this particular wave of joy was brought on by the wearing of her brand new "I Love Mommy" bib.)

And sometimes she's more of a small serious girl.

We're currently dealing with -- and, knock on wood, overcoming -- Sawyer's first nursing strike. Yeah, that's been fun. Dr. Sears suggests trying to figure out what's bothering the baby. Thanks for the help, pal. So, Sawyer, what seems to be the problem here? Is our menu not to your liking today? Is your seat uncomfortable? Are you developing a sense of ennui regarding this whole dining process?

When she first started being difficult about eating a day or two ago, it was very, very traumatic. One really doesn't want one's baby to decide to wean herself at the ripe old age of two months. I have to say, though, that once one of my mommy friends showed me the section referring to "nursing strikes" in the Sears book, non-helpful though the advice was, the mere fact that the situation was common enough to warrant its own nickname made me feel infinitely better. Just call me Mommy the Union Buster.

Monday, July 07, 2003

We have discovered that hiring a nanny in New York is remarkably similar to finding an apartment in New York: they're both arduous processes of extremely brief duration. Ten days after beginning the process, we have ourselves a nanny! (That is, unless the family she currently works for manages to talk her out of leaving, which would surprise me greatly, given that her reason for leaving is that they live in a fifth floor walk-up and their daughter continues to get bigger and less portable up and down five flights of stairs.) With all the requisite knocking on wood that such a statement requires, we're very excited about her and think she's really wonderful. And I am thrilled to be done striking up conversations with a neverending sea of potential candidates!

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Note the new "Sawyer's Growth Chart" feature on the left-hand side of the page just above the archives. This will be updated monthly!