Archive | December, 2010

Babies Have Eyes in the Back of their Heads

29 Dec

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, my mom always knew when I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing.  No matter that I was in a completely different room.  She always knew.  I’d ask her how, and she’s just say, “I’m a mom.  I have eyes in the back of my head.”

I may not have developed those same eyes yet (though I’m sure I’ll need them soon), but I think my daughter has them.  It’s really amazing.  She always knows just the moment when there is a plate of food in front of me and I’m about to take my first bite.  Nevermind that I’m in a completely different room.  She just knows.  I don’t think I’ve eaten a meal while it was still hot in, oh, about 3 months.  She thinks that she must be eating when we eat.  Maybe she’s trying to help me get rid of that remaining baby-weight or something.  Yeah, that must be it…

I can’t believe she’s 3 months old already.  She’s doing so great – growing like crazy and sleeping through the night (I always knock on wood when I say this).  Clara is about the happiest baby I’ve ever seen, and she’s starting to laugh, which is maybe the most fun thing E.V.E.R.  The first laugh was December 17 (for my reference and the baby book later).  Now I can be seen walking through the grocery store, picking out produce and laughing at my baby girl in hopes of getting a tiny little giggle back.  I’m sure that I’ve gotten a lot of looks, scoffs, and ridicule from the hipsters.  But it’s all worth it for that little laugh.

Coming up soon… Christmas celebrations!  And another try at a photo of Clara with the ginormous stuffed bear.

Merry Christmas Y’all!

24 Dec

I’m taking a few days off to spend with family and enjoy the holidays, and I hope you can do the same!  I’ll be back next week with pictures and stories from our family Christmas celebrations, how babies always know when you’re about to eat, and every Swedish word we can think of.

In the meantime, I hope you have a very merry Christmas!  And so does Clara!

On Flying with an Infant

18 Dec

Monday morning was Joel’s last law school exam.  Torts.  And no, it’s not nearly as fun as the cake kind.

We had tickets to fly out that afternoon, but were a little anxious about the weather, since we were going through Detroit and there was a blizzard there on the weekend.  We thought maybe we’d be able to switch to a flight on Tuesday morning, but that didn’t work out, so as soon as Joel got home, we busted our tails getting our stuff together and packed and walked out the door less than an hour after he got home.

This was a feat in itself.

Flying with an infant scared me.  We’ve all been there.  You’re sitting at the gate and then THAT family walks up.  The one with a new baby or 15 kids.  The family that you look at and think, “Oh please don’t let them be on my flight.”

We are now that family.

I didn’t want to be the one with the baby who cried the whole flight, who got dirty looks as we entered or exited the plane from the passengers who just couldn’t take any more screaming.  So I brought as much food as my purse could hold, along with everything else required by a baby, hoping that if she was well-fed and could keep her ears from hurting on take off and landing, she’d be ok.

I should probably preface this story with the fact that Joel hates flying.  Hates it.  If there is even the slightest bump, he white-knuckles the armrest for the remainder of the flight.  I think it’s a control thing – he can’t control the flight, the winds, the take off or the landing, and that makes him a little crazy.  He really turns into a different person when we fly, and the real Joel doesn’t return until we have landed for the last time at our final destination.  We’ve traveled together a lot, so I knew this was coming, but it did nothing to ease my mind about flying with a baby.  Because when we entered this situation, I basically had 2 kids instead of just 1.

So off we went to the airport.  We boarded our flight to Detroit right on time.  Joel always sits in the aisle seat (so he can get up and run if something happens?), so I was stuck in the middle seat with Clara.  In the window seat was a Spanish college student.  Let me tell you, trying to hold an infant in the middle seat is not the most fun thing in the world.

We taxied out to the runway, and then we heard the engines power down. Great.  And then, the dreaded announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, from the flight deck, uhh we’re going to be sitting here for just a few minutes.  We’re on a ground hold due to some weather in Detroit.  They are having a bit of a snowstorm.  We’ll be sitting out here for at least 30 minutes.  So, uhh, if you need to make a phone call or use the lavatory, that’d be ok.  Thanks for your patience.”

Hahaha.  That’s a funny joke, flight deck.  Now let’s get going.  But no, they weren’t kidding.

While we were sitting there, Clara decided that it was time for a full diaper, and I told Joel that since he was in the aisle seat, he had to go change her.  Heehee.  He wanted me to go with him to help, but have you ever seen those airplane bathrooms???  So off he went, and while he was in the bathroom with her, the pilot came over the intercom again, “Alright everyone, from the flight deck again, Detroit has given us a hard-time for takeoff, so we’re going to need to make sure everyone is in their seats with everything stowed so we can go in just a couple minutes.”

I look back toward the bathroom and see Joel coming out with our daughter, halfway dressed, wrapped up in the changing pad, panicked look on his face.  I found out later that he left the full, dirty, stinky diaper on the counter of the bathroom in his panic to get back to his seat.  Sorry other passengers.

So I finished getting Clara dressed and then we did actually take off.

On a side note, do the pilots think that “from the flight deck” sounds really cool or something?  Maybe I could understand if the cockpit was on a different level from the passenger cabin, then “flight deck” might make sense, but they do realize that it’s only separated by a door, right?

Our flight had free wi-fi, which the geek in me really wanted to take advantage of, but my hands were kinda full.  Our friend in the window seat was skyping wit her parents in Spain and chatting with friends on Facebook.  Clara has decided that when there is a lot going on, she really needs to be able to see it all.  So she wanted to stand on my lap or sit facing outwards rather than falling asleep or even facing me.  So she was squirmy, but thankfully very quiet.

She was such a champ that on the walk from the A terminal over to terminal C, several of the passengers mentioned how good she was.  One man even told me that he cringed a bit when he saw us walk on the plane, but couldn’t believe how good and quiet she was.  Thank you, thank you very much.  Even though I had nothing to do with it.

So we got to our next gate and we all needed to eat.  Joel went off to find us some food.  And then they changed our gate.  So we moved to the new one, and then oh yeah, they changed it again.  Awesome.

Detroit’s temperature was something like 11 degrees.  Detroit Airport’s temperature was something like 35 degrees.  Indoors.  And since my daughter always manages to kick off her socks, I brought a blanket.  But not a thick enough blanket for 35 degrees.  Clara was not happy about this.  I had her bundled up as much as I could, but she was still mad.

And then an angel appeared.  Yes, this man appeared and asked if we wanted another blanket for her.  He said he had been stuck in the airport the night before (because of that blizzard), and that the airline had given him a blanket.  I took it, said thank you more times than I can count, and wrapped Clara up in it.

And that thin airline blanket from my airport angel did the trick.  Once she was warm again, Clara fell asleep.

Thank you, Jesus.

We boarded the plane, and then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Finally, here it came, one more time….

“Ladies and gentlemen, from the flight deck, uhh we’re sorry for the delay.  We’re just waiting for the ground crew to bring over a tug to push us back from the gate.  As soon as we get one, we’ll be right on our way.”

30 minutes pass.

“Ladies and gentlemen, once again from the flight deck, uhh, we’ve been in contact with the gate agent working this flight.  They’ve been working on finding us a tug, but it seems that they can’t locate one.”

I’m sorry… they can’t FIND one?  Isn’t this an airport?  Don’t all planes require a tug to push them back from the gate?

We see a tug pull around to the front of the plane, feel it hook up, and then nothing.  20 more minutes pass.

“From the flight deck once again, uh, well, our gate agent is running around really trying to get us out of here.  They found a tug, and hooked it up and then the winch broke, so they had to get that off and now they’re looking for another one.  It seems that they are all either broken or the batteries are dead.  We understand your frustration, it’s frustrating for us up here as well.  We’re working to get us up in the air as soon as we can.”

And this brings us to a segment we like to call “Really?!?!? with Seth and Amy”

Delta, really?  All the people that fly in and out of Detroit and you can’t manage to maintain your equipment?  Really?

So eventually and finally we pushed back from the gate and got up in the air.  I will say, these two flights were some of the smoothest I’ve been on in quite a while.  But the delays and the malfunctioning equipment, along with it being the first time flying with Clara made it quite the stressful experience.

She did wonderfully though.  She really was an angel – no screaming, no crying.  Just the occasional coo.

We made it to Des Moines safe and sound, albeit a few hours late, and headed off to Ames with Joel’s parents.

It’s been a fun week.  We finished our Christmas shopping on Tuesday and I wrapped everything last night so we’re all ready for the Schlieman family Christmas celebration here tomorrow night.

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is wrapping all the gifts in pretty paper and ribbons and bows.  I love the way they look piled under the tree.  And I love even more the looks on the faces of the little kiddos when they see the pile under the tree and rip all that pretty paper off the boxes and see what’s inside.  It’ll be even more fun when Clara can do that.  I have a feeling that having kids will make Christmas all that much more fun…


2 Months and the First Law School Finals Week

8 Dec

That’s right, my munchkin is 2 months old.  Actually, she’s 2.5 months now, but who’s counting?

Pediatricians like to see kids when they are 2 months old, apparently.  Along with a lot of other month-mile-markers.  It’s kinda fun.  You get a chance to see how your baby is growing.  In Clara’s case, at 10lbs 5 oz, and 22.25″ long, she’s growing well.  She has a big head – in the 85th percentile – which you don’t really notice until you look at how tiny her bottom half is or put her beside a kid with a normal sized head.  It’s kind of hilarious actually.

The other thing that happens at these appointments is vaccinations.  She had her 2nd dose of Hep B at her one month appointment, and it didn’t seem to bother her too much.  She was just extra snuggly.

I didn’t mind that a bit.

So I was completely unprepared for what happened when we went in for her 2 month appointment.  She got 2 shots and the oral rotavirus immunization.

And her face turned every shade of red you can imagine.

And she didn’t breathe for 20 seconds.

Because that is how angry she was.  Ohhhh she was not happy.  Not ONE little bit.

So we took her to Target.  Because Target makes everything better, right?  Well, I guess she hasn’t learned that lesson yet.  Our visit to Target and a ride in the shopping cart worked temporarily, and she slept for about 2 hours, and then she woke up A.N.G.R.Y.  That’s when we started the Tylenol.  You know, Tylenol takes entirely too long to kick in.  They should really work on that.

My sweet, mild-mannered, happy baby became a very unhappy, sad baby who didn’t know what had happened.  You could hear it in her cry – what happened to my world, and whyyyyy?

The timing of this appointment was extremely poor planning on my part, because it fell right smack in the middle of Joel’s final exams.  His first semester’s final exams.  Law exams.

I’m not sure I quite understood what exam time would mean for our little family.  As it turns out, it means that Joel disappears for 2 weeks to study – holed up in the office or the bedroom with books, flash cards, and notes – and Clara and I hang out.  That could be fun actually, for a little while.  But not knowing this, I scheduled photo shoots and other things to happen this week.  Things for which I needed to have Joel watch Clara.

Thank goodness that Pam came in on Wednesday and was able to stay and help me with Clara while Joel studied.  And even more because Clara was just miserable for about 3 days.

I have to say, I am a believer in vaccines.  I know there are other opinions out there, and I suppose you’re entitled to your opinion as well.  But I think that if it is possible to remove the threat of diseases that kill people, then it’s worth a few days of sad baby.  It breaks my heart to see her in pain, but it would be even worse to lose her to something that could be prevented.

So, lessons learned here?
1. Do not, under any circumstances, schedule Clara’s shots during exams.
2. When she does have them, clear my schedule for 3-4 days, knowing that I will need to focus on her.
3. When Joel has exams, plan for his mom or my mom or someone to come and help me with Clara.  Or go on a trip somewhere.

As far as exams go, I think Joel is doing pretty well.  He has been working so hard, and I couldn’t be more proud of the effort he’s putting into it.  We’ve learned some lessons about being prepared for any circumstance.  You should always take your computer in case the professor forgets to leave bluebooks, and take pens and pencils both.  You know, just to be prepared.  Also, he should be doing more during the semester to outline his notes, create flash cards, and just generally be studying more in addition to completing assignments so that the end of the semester isn’t quite as stressful.

But you live and learn, right?

Law school and parenthood are definitely learning experiences.  We try something, find it doesn’t work as well as we wanted it to, and try something else.  Or we luck out and find something that works well the first time, only to find it doesn’t work the next time.  It seems like life is that way sometimes.

My Clara is back to being her normal, beautiful, happy, mild-mannered self, and I’m so glad!  And we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of exams as well.  His 4th one is this morning – Contracts – and then there are only 2 more left.  We’re going to celebrate when they’re done!


In other news, how is it that Folgers always has the ability to make holiday commercials that make me cry.  Dangit.

Soaking in Every Moment

2 Dec

Every smile.  Every coo.  Every snuggle.

It is really amazing.  People always tell you that they grow up too fast.  Boy, are they ever right.  I can’t even believe it, that at 9 weeks old, already the little baby parts of Clara are starting to fade away.  She does not look like a newborn anymore.  She is not content just sitting in her chair anymore.  She wants to be sitting in her bumbo chair (yes, can you believe it??), pulling herself up when I hold onto her hands, looking around, taking it all in, jabbering up a storm.  She is getting her first tooth.  She’s starting to outgrow some of her 0-3 month clothes.  Not the width of them – she’s still a little skinny minny – but she is super long, and has reached the end of some of those clothes.

PS, moms out there – if you know which brands of clothes are the longer ones vs the wider ones, let me know please!!

It’s like second nature getting out of the house with her now, and I laugh a little bit when I read back on that post where I was so paralyzed about getting us all together.  Thanks for all of you who told me that it would get better.  Turns out, you were right.  And it actually gets better very quickly.  That part of it at least.

It’s hard at the beginning.  There is so much change, and so much to adjust to.  It’s hard to enjoy every minute like everyone tells you to.  As I nodded my head at the people telling me to enjoy it, sometimes all I could think was, “How in the WORLD am I supposed to enjoy THIS moment… THIS moment when she is screaming her head off?  THIS moment when I haven’t slept in 6 days?  THIS moment when all I want to do is scream?”  And those are valid feelings.  But when I look back at it, even as close to it as I am still, what sticks out is not the screams, the explosions, the lack of sleep.  It’s the beautiful, tiny, perfect infant that curled up on my chest and fell asleep.  It’s the moments of completely overwhelming feelings of love and adoration that I didn’t know you could feel for a creature who is so new in your life.  It’s amazing how quickly this little thing can worm its way into your heart.  I really didn’t know it was possible.  How can I love this little person so much? I didn’t even know her.  But somehow I did.

I’m not gonna lie.  There are still those days when all I want to do is scream.  When I haven’t slept.  When she is screaming (currently because of teething). When I just need a break.  But I’m doing my best to remember that these aren’t the things that will stick out in my memory later.  Sure there will be funny stories about them.  As there should be.  But the moments I’ll remember are the snuggles, the coos, the firsts, the laughs, the long baby stares.  Those are the moments I’m trying to soak in.