Saturday Night Fever

Maddie had her first little fever. (It was actually on Friday night, but that wouldn’t make a funny headline.)

She had her second set of baby shots on Thursday afternoon. We gave her some Tylenol and she seemed fine. When I got home from work on Friday she was being held by Auntie Tracy who had just arrived for a weekend visit. Our nanny mentioned that she’d been very clingy all day — she didn’t nap much and wasn’t very playful. She just wanted to be held all day. I took her to feed her and noticed — and even commented — that she felt warm. But I thought it was just because Tracy was wearing a heavy sweater and the apartment was warm.

It wasn’t until later, when Preston went to change her into her nightgown that he said “Hey, Tami, she seems really warm. I think she has a fever.” We used a pacifier thermometer and sure enough her temp was 101.5. Boy did I feel dumb!

We called the doctor and he assured us that she’d be fine. I gave her some Tylenol. But we had a really hard time getting her to sleep. She would eat, cry for awhile, finally fall asleep — only to wake crying and start the cycle again. We got her down around 10ish, but then she was crying again at 11 as I was getting ready for bed. I changed her and checked her temp again. It was down (97.9), but she just didn’t seem to be herself. I made an executive decision and brought her into bed with me. The rest of the night she nursed and slept off and on. It wasn’t the best sleeping night for me, but I think it was as good as I could hope for. It was certainly easier than getting up every hour or two to go to her room.

Happily she was right as rain on Saturday. And Saturday night she ate around 8 p.m. and went right into her crib — awake, no less! — and fell off to sleep. She woke at about 4 for a little snack, but that is normal. She went right back to bed and slept until we woke her up at 8:15 on Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, here’s a new picture … Preston took this after her bath on Sunday night. He was amused by her crazy hair. She’s also recently discovered her tongue and so she loves sticking it out.

crazy-hair-day.jpg

Don’t worry, we’ve already saved up for therapy

So, way back when we were still just pregnant, our friends Rick and Wen-Fei Uva told us about a DVD called The Baby Human. It was a compilation of programs that ran on the Discovery Channel and included footage of infants being experimented on to figure out how they learn to talk, walk and interact with the world around them.

It was completely fascinating. And, of course, Preston and I were both intensely curious about two things. First, who knew there were all these people doing experiments on babies? Second, where do they get the babies to experiment on?

You see where this is going, right? A few weeks back Preston and I got a letter in the mail from St. John’s University. They were conducting an experiment involving infants. Would we like to participate?

Would we! After sending back the form we got a call from St. John’s. The experiment was simple. They wanted to put a mobile over her crib and then tie a ribbon to her foot. When she kicks her foot, the mobile moves. They do this over three days, then come back in a week to see if she learned the connection between the kicking and the mobile moving.

It was all very fascinating. Today was the final session, so I made a video. Check it out:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLd8MlJW3jI&rel=0&color1=0xcc2550&color2=0xe87a9f&border=1&hl=en]

She did learn the trick. Actually, it was funny. When we put her in the crib and she saw the colored bumpers being put up around her she started to smile and get excited. She clearly remembered the game.

Of course Preston and I are prepared for the conversation when she is fifteen. “You did what??”

It was worth it.

My Worst Enemy

The problem with baby gear is the sheer volume of it. I’m not talking about the amount of stuff you “need” because, let’s face it, you really don’t need any of this stuff. But some of this stuff is cool and you want it and it makes your life easier (sometimes) or more fun (again, sometimes). No, I’m talking about the volume of choices for each and every category of stuff. For example, I was so overwhelmed by the stroller choices that I decided to punt and stick with the car seat and the stroller frame that it can snap onto. It’s worked out pretty well.

On stuff that I had to make a decision on it was tough. Take, for example, diaper pails. Looking at the reviews on Babies R Us, they are all a mixed bag. Depending on the reviewer the Diaper Genie is either the best invention ever or the scourge of the earth that will make your whole house smell like ca-ca. We went with the Diaper Dekor which had a similar mix of reviews (“I never smelled a thing!” or “Stank to high heavens!”).  It’s working out great so far, but then Maddie is still little and exclusively breast fed.  Ask me how I feel about it when she is eating big girl food.

I made a less good choice with the nursing pillow.  After reading some online reviews I chose My Breast Friend.  The goofy name almost deterred me, but reviewers praised it as much better than the Boppy.  So I registered for it and got it.  And I hated it.  At first I thought the problem was me — we were having some feeding issues anyway and I was convinced I was just incompetent.  As it happens, the place where we took our childbirth class also runs breastfeeding support groups.  I started going to one and I tried out a Boppy.  I loved it!  The funniest part was the lactation consultant running the group said, “Nine out of ten mothers love the MBF and hate the Boppy.  You are the tenth mother.”

Then, in a truly happy turn, my friend Nomi said, “Hey, I got a Boppy and I like the MBF much better.  Want to trade?”  And trade we did.  (With thanks to Nomi for giving me the title to this post.)

So here’s my advice for soon-to-be mommies.  Try as much stuff as you can.  Reviews are great and advice from friends even better, but what works for others won’t necessarily work for you.  If you can’t try stuff out, then ask your friends for specifics of what they like about a certain piece of gear.  This information will at least help you figure out if you will like it.

And if all else fails, find a friend and swap!

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off to Work I Go

Today was my first day back at work.  It was tough leaving the house, but the whole thing wasn’t nearly as traumatic as I feared it would be.  At the risk of ending up with the Worst Mother Ever award, it was frankly nice to be able to go to the bathroom when I needed to and to not be drooled on.

I’m actually very, very lucky because I work for the best company in the entire world.  Return Path really focuses on creating an environment that offers the flexible schedules that make work/life balance more than a pretty little catchphrase.  In my case, I’ll be working two days in the office and three days from home.  This will allow me to feed Maddie on the days I’m home, so I don’t have to pump as much.  This is a huge advantage since it’s hard to pump enough to meet her needs and, more to the point, I loathe pumping.  Since it takes roughly the same amount of time to pump as to feed her there’s no loss to my overall productivity.  We hired a nanny full-time, so the other babycare duties (changing, playing and so on) will be done by her while I work.  I also save on the commuting time on those days when I’m home.

For her part Maddie seems to know something is a little different in her world, but she seems mostly unfazed.  She was fussy tonight and wanted to be held.  I could tell myself that she “missed” me, but really she’s usually fussy and wants to be held at night.

I think this week will be a bit challenging, as we all find our rhythm and get back into the swing.  But once it becomes normal for everyone I think we’ll all be fine.