I USED to love LA...
One of the great things about living in Georgia is that there's a quietness and a slower pace then there ever was when I lived in Los Angeles. My daughter Deanna is living there with her father, while Ken and Jack and I live here in Atlanta. Yes, I miss her a lot and wish that she'd live here with me, but her friends and her school and her life are in LA, and I'm not one to interfere in the life of a teenager just for the sake of my own selfishness, so Deanna remains in LA with my ex-husband, where she's happy.
Jack will be raised in the South no matter what. I refuse to move back to Los Angeles, but will visit my family and friends when the need arises, but the schools are much better here, not at all over-crowded, the teachers still paddle kids for doing something extreme, although they no longer pray in class, but they don't say the Pledge of Allegiance anymore either, and there's no such thing as this "year-round" school crap! School in Atlanta starts the middle of August and let's out the last weekend in May just before Memorial Day. We do have "snow days" when the weather get's below 20 degrees or something like that, but we also have school pride, whole families going to the local high school football games, LOADS of student car washes to raise money for athletics, as well as bake sales, and PTA attendance in Atlanta is EXTREMELY high with out a doubt. Parents care here about their kids educations. In LA I remember stuffing my daughter into a classroom that had twice as many kids in it then they do here, or as when I was a kid in school; they build schools on rotted land and then don't open them, (refer to Belmont High School which is still not open from what I understand!) and ESL means "English/Spanish listening" instead of "English as a second language", which is crap in California in general considering the NATIONAL language of the US is English, but not in LA. I think it's referred to as "Spanglish" now, and I was actually fluent in it when I was back in LA. I personally think that the educational system in California sucks, but this is JUST my opinion is all, so no offense to you child-rearing folks in LA.
I have a friend back home whom I went to high school with as well as junior high school , and we re-connected while I was pregnant with Jack. I was thrilled to hear from him as we were really good friends in school, and have become good friends again. Hamburg (which is how I like to refer to him) has been married to a terrific woman for about nine years and now has two adorable little girls (talk about justice!) of his own, and I often give him a handful of shit for raising his girls back in LA. It's my way of getting back at him for his teasing me for living in the South now. He thinks that Georgia is back-water. Maybe it was twenty years ago, but this isn't my granddaddy's Georgia anymore, and we don't sleep with our cousins or brothers and sisters here. He's thinking Alabama or West Virginia...Atlanta is as metropolitan as LA, but he hasn't been here to experience it, so I think I'm one up on him on that account, plus my car doesn't get broken into the way his has twice in a two-month period, (Note to self; tell Hamburg to GET A FRICKING ALARM ALREADY!!!) and he lives in a pretty nice section of the San Fernando Valley!
Ken and I have a beautiful home here in Atlanta, we both drive nice cars, we both have good jobs, and we both love to experience the four seasons. In LA, Ken was miserable, and I was starting to hate my home state with a passion. I was burnt-out on all of the garbage going on in LA., but most of all I was tired of the phoniness of it's denizens. Here in Atlanta people are genuine, even if it means they're genuine assholes and bible-thumpers, but all in all I find the Bubba's of Atlanta to be pleasant, and am even more thrilled to be raising my son here! Maybe Deanna will want to go to UGA or Georgia Tech if I'm lucky, or even to a college in Florida or North Carolina. At least we'll all be together again. I used to love LA, but now I'm happy to call Atlanta home.
"The Lifesaver" and other small details...
Yesterday Jack took his first road trip into South Carolina, where we stopped at Jack in the Box in Anderson of course, and then drove on to Chesnee to meet up with his paternal grandparents so that we could bring Grandma home to Atlanta with us for a few weeks of quality baby-time! Praise the Lord and pass the potatoes...
Grandma has been the life vest we desperately needed, and she came none too soon. For those of you who've been following along, she's here to help us turn Jack around as far as his sleeping habits go. He's become a "vampire" of sorts who drifts off to sleep from his night time adventures around 8:30 am, and proceeds to sleep ALL DAY LONG!!! This is going to change so that he'll sleep at night instead of during the day, although naps are always a welcome thing!!! As I post this, Grandma is sleeping soundly, as is Jack. Yes, she was up all night with him and she was happy to do it as it gives her the bonding time with her Grandson that she wanted , and it gave me the 8 hours of sleep that I really needed. I am one happy and finally well-rested mommy!!!
Now for the plan: We hope to keep Jack up during the day as much as possible. I know that you can't force a child to stay awake if he really wants to sleep, but you can wake him up after a good enough nap, which we fully intend to do. After the day's play with Grandma, he'll have a bath, a little bit of rice cereal and a good bottle, and then hopefully Jack will fall asleep around 10 or 11 pm and sleep until around 2 am or so, to wake up to a nappy change and another bottle, and then with any luck he'll crash back out until 7 am or so only to wake up to a new day of more of the same schedule. While we don't expect him to take to this new plan from the get-go, we do hope that while Grandma's here we can at least set the pattern in place and go from there! It's all baby steps, but it's worth a try.
We're happy to have Ken's mom here for a while. Jack is her first and only grandchild so he's being spoiled of course, and while Ken's mother is more mature in age then my own (she's 73 where my mother is 57) she's taken to caring for Jack as though she's been raising infants forever. We put her through a small refresher course, and while I fully expected a knock on my bedroom door at 3:00am, we never heard a peep from her or the baby, which goes to show that even a first-time grandma can jump right back into the swing of things in no time! Lydia is the consumate mommy-figure, and very much in her element when it comes to her grandson, something she's been waiting for for what seems like forever to her. She actually thought she was going to leave this world without a grandchild in her life, so she's thrilled to have Jackson, and I'm happy to have been able to bring him into the world to be a part of her life.
Sadly enough Jack will probably be her only biological grandchild as I had my tubes tied during his delivery and I don't see Ken's brother David contributing to the gene pool of the family any time soon unless he marries and has a child fast! (He's 44 now and not really looking to get married or have children.) I've had my two children, one of each, so I don't feel the need to keep populating the world unnecessarily, and I'd like to be able to enjoy my later years without having to worry about babysitters and daycare. Eventually I'd like to be a grandparent myself instead of Guiness's oldest living new mommy...
The "One Month" Check-up...
Even though Jack is now six weeks old, he had his one month check-up at the doctor's office today. (Incidentally, my own six week check-up is on Monday...thank God it's almost here!) We see one of the busiest Pediatricians in Norcross, so we got squeezed in a week and a half after his one month birthday, but at least he saw his doctor. The next appointment is in four weeks, and he'll be getting his first series of immunizations...what fun that should be!
The news today was that Jack is progressing nicely. He's where he should be for a baby his age, which is a good thing. He's gained almost four pounds in six weeks, bringing his weight to a whopping 11 pounds 6 ounces. Looks like that Enfamil is infant Miracle-Gro if you ask me. My mother now refers to him as the "little hunk-a-chunk". He's grown two-and-a-quarter inches making him 22 1/4 inches long now. To be perfectly honest with you, he looks about three months old, and I've now started buying baby clothes for three to six month olds. You can bet he'll be in nine months stuff by New Year's at the rate he's going! His doctor said he was doing great, and that he was healthy and looked happy.
We asked about the "sleep issues" we've been having, and of course Dr. Stetler laughed and said to keep him up more during the day using any means necessary, and that once he goes down at night and we've determined that he's dry and has finished his bottle, if he starts crying to just let him cry himself to sleep. It WILL happen eventually that he'll crash out. Now remember that Jack's Grandma Lydia is going to be here Sunday, and between the three of us I think we'll be able to keep him awake during the day enough to where he'll sack out at night, probably waking up maybe once to feed if anything, but he should go back to sleep after that. Are we going to be lucky enough to tackle this issue before he's 18 and ready to move out for college? Who knows...
I do know that I look forward to the next month's changes before his next check-up. It's amazing how much he's grown and changed, and continues to just keep growing and growing. Okay, so that's a baby for you, but to me he'll always be my little munchkin no matter how big he gets. Even though we're being presented with some challenges by our son, I do know one thing; when these days are gone and he's older and more independent, I'm going to miss that infant that completely depends upon me for everything in his world. These are the days I cherish the most, and when they're gone they are really gone, but the memories of this time with Jack will definitely remain for a long time to come, just as they did with the now-14 year old Deanna, a young woman, but also still my baby girl. Now if only film processing were just a little bit cheaper...damn those Kodak moments of which there are many. I can hardly keep up with all of the film I'm going to need to capture it all for prosterity. It's all good though; we're preparing for those blackmail moments in our child's life...you know, the cheesecake shots, the tub shots, etc...Move over Anne Geddes, here comes "The Mominator", and she's loaded and ready to shoot...pictures that is! "Jack could you please take out the trash before your girlfriend comes over?" Beware a mother with baby pictures!
Sleep is over-rated...really.
After ANOTHER f--king sleepless night with Jack I've come to realize that sleep is highly over-rated. After spending my days in a virtual zombie-like state because I can't sleep during the day and then going to work at night and coming home to "His Majesty" and all of his crying and carrying on, I've learned to exist on almost no sleep at all. I'm lucky if I get three hours in a day or night, and that adds up to approximately 21 hours per week. A normal person gets an average of 56-60 hours of sleep per week...lucky them.
Don't get me wrong, Ken does get up with his son, but he works days so I try and bear the brunt of Jack's night time ravings in the attempt that Ken can get at least 6 hours of sleep per night so that he can be fresh for the daily ass-chewing he receives from disgruntled retail customers wondering about their computer systems. He has one of those easy-going, low maintenance retail jobs...NOT! If anything, he does get up with the baby on Sundays and spends the whole day doing daddy-detail so that I can sleep, and that's when I get the bulk of my 21 hours, and eat up a perfectly good joint day off from work that could be spent not only with Jack, but with my husband as well! Now why the hell would I want to spend my day off with Ken when I could be sleeping off the effects of my adoring son's nightly bull shit you ask?!
I remember sleeping anywhere from 6 to 8 to sometimes even 10 hours a night before Jack was born. Those were good times, and I was a much different person back then, and it was only six weeks ago! When Deanna was a baby I still managed to get a minimum of 6 hours easily per night, but not with Little Lord Fussimuss, oh no. There is no sleep for the weary in this household, and I'd doubt that our neighbor gets any sleep either sometimes. He must really hate our guts by now, and he's a football player for the Atlanta Falcons of all things! Does he need his sleep? Probably not...sorry Bruce.
Sleep-deprivation is a bit like being awake in a coma...everything moves along at a slower pace, you feel slightly punchy all the time, you snap at people when you don't really mean to, and you're wondering what time the baby will finally fall asleep so you too can get in a cat nap. Let me re-phrase this: being sleep-deprived is like being a junkie, just without the needle tracks to show for it. Sleep is only something that the human body NEEDS in order for the mind to function properly, but having a baby at 37 obviously goes to show one thing; I've obviously lost my mind, or I'm just a glutton for punishment. Who knows, maybe it's a little of both...
Over the River and through the hills to Grandmother's house we go!
I just spoke to my mother-in-law and we'll be picking her up for a two-week visit this coming Sunday! Amen is all I can say to that! Grandma Lydia lives in North Carolina, approximately 6 hours away by car, and 3 hours away from the Anderson, South Carolina Jack In The Box that I made Ken stop at when we went to pick up my in-laws for Jack's impending birth. For those of you who live on the West Coast, we don't have Jack In The Box here in Georgia. I never thought I'd miss those nasty 2-for-99 cent tacos that they have, or even the Jumbo Jack, but I do!
I'm really excited that Jack's grandma is coming. She was robbed of some serious bonding time when he was first born because my brother-in-law sold his house and Lydia wound up packing him up and getting him moved a day before escrow closed, and then off they went back up to North Carolina again. This time it'll be a lot different because she'll be staying with us here in Georgia, and she can totally fixate on Jack all she wants! Jackson is her first and only grand child: you do the math!
I get along really well with my mother-in-law, and welcome the fact that she wants to come and help out with the baby. Okay, so I suffer from OCD right now, but I think it'll all work out while she's here because we all have Jack's best interests at heart. I'll try and put the OCD aside while she's here. I can see it now, she'll have Jack speaking German before she leaves!
As I stated in a previous post, Jack doesn't sleep at night. Grandma is going to be bunking down in the baby's room, which is quite spacious, so she'll have plenty of room to pace with him on her shoulder, and he has a terrific glider in his room that I'm sure she'll be more than comfortable rocking her baby to sleep in.
Good luck Grandma, is all I can say! She's in for it and good! Something tells me that she's going to be the one to get him to sleep at night before she goes home, and wouldn't that be just our dumb luck with all the things we've tried, but isn't that what grandma's are really all about? As I said before, Thank God Grandma is coming to stay a while...maybe we'll all get some sleep for a change!
Jackson's been colicky for a few weeks and out of concern for his feeding habits Ken mentioned that maybe we should try switching his formula to a Lactose-free one from the regular milk-based formula he'd been drinking. Now keep in mind that when he first became gassy we switched him over to a soy-based formula...he was NOT having any of THAT! It seems that Ken's been reading the Enfamil literature that came with the sample packs we got when he was born. Smart Daddy...
We've been on the lactose-free stuff for two days now, and he's ALOT less gassy and spits up about half as much as he used to, which just goes to show that he was a bit lactose-sensitive but this doesn't mean he's lactose-intolerant. At $25.00 a can this stuff is terrific, but it should be for this price! Hell, I'm even ready to jump in on this action since it's costing me about the same amount as my monthly grocery bill when all is said and done!
Jack's six weeks old now, so in an attempt to get him to sleep better at night, or rather to sleep at night period, I've decided to start spoon-feeding him a little bit of rice cereal. I called my mom about this one, not wanting to incur the rath of my pediatrician, and she said to go for it if he was willing to take it off of a spoon. When Deanna was a baby I didn't have these concerns. She was a really easy baby and slept through the night at two weeks of age. I guess it's not fair to have two children that were easy-going as infants, not that Jack's bad, he's just different than his sister is all. I guess it's the difference between boys and girls, etc...In any case this seems to appeal to the boy because he grubbed it up quite nicely, even if he did make a face or two which of course Daddy had to get on film. These are definitely Kodak moments when your child is wearing a face full of food that looks like construction paper paste, you know the kind that we used as kids in elementary school. Ken got a huge laugh out of the experience and I was thrilled with the nine spoonfuls of goo that Jack ingested...oh Happy Days!
Hopefully this will work, between the spoon feedings and the new formula. On a more serious note: I'd like to give a warm shout out to the Maxwell House people for getting me through the rough times so far. My only hope is that eventually they'll come up with the PMS blend at some point, then we'll all be happy, especially Ken, but I can only hope. For now the Hazelnut coffee will have to do, and we'll all get through this intact...
The first "official" illness...
It's official, Jackson has a cold. Since my last posting I've bought a cool mist humidifier, Vick's vapo-steam, Tiny Noses Saline nasal drops, Baby Tylenol and Baby Motrin, and tonight's purchases will include Johnson's Soothing Vapor Bath. Now here's the good news: When I turned that humidifier on my boy slept for 7 hours straight, all through the night! Something about the white noise from the humidifier keeps him sleeping, which is all good by me! He's feeling a lot better and isn't as fussy as he's been the past few days!
My mother-in-law will be coming this weekend for a few weeks to help out with Jack so that Ken and I can get caught up on our sleep and on our money-making potential so that we can pay off our bills from my semi-maternity leave. I love Lydia; she's the type of woman that should have had at least ten children, I kid you not. She is Ken's leading infant authority where mine is my father, (hey he has six kids and was hands-on for all except me!) so out she comes, and not a moment too soon. Ken is ready to crack, but I'm still quite cool about everything, but it makes me nervous when I leave for work in the evenings and it's just Ken and Jackson, so having her here is going to be a God-send! I won't need to call home every hour on the hour to make sure the house is still standing or that Daddy hasn't taken a long walk off the deep end!
Now for the bad news: I won't be able to take Jack to Temple for the blowing of the Shofar, (shofar=ram's horn for all you non-Jews out there) or get a babysitter for a few weeks until this blows over, and now we have Hurricane Ivan's residual to deal with as well being here in Georgia, all this on top of the fact that I too am trying to ward off getting a cold of my own! When it rains it really pours for us! Just think, this is only the beginning of things to come!
The trick here is not to panick for all you new moms and dads. Baby is going to get sick, he's going to be cranky and have yellow or even green snot coming out of his little nose, he's going to sound like a enphyzema patient at times from all the crap in his chest, but it all goes away I promise. You just have to give a little extra love and attention to the entire household, and remember that this is what you signed up for when you chose to have a baby!
Combating "the rattle"...
Jackson has a rattle in his chest from excessive mucus, probably brought on by all of the formula he's been chowing down. First it was colic, now we have "the rattle". Nope, no fever comes with this rattle and his nose is clear, but he sounds like he's trying to hock up a humungous loogy and it's a bit bothersome. I asked a friend of mine if he had any advice, and his response was to call the pediatrician...such a gem of an answer when your newborn is a patient at the most popular pediatrics group in Atlanta! Okay, so I place a call to Holcomb Bridge Pediatrics and speak to Nurse Cindy (hi Cindy!) who tells me to whip out the cool mist humidifier and let it fly. For some reason I always associate humidifiers with croup and colds, but she's right and it should break up the crap in his chest within a few days or so, so he'll sound more human again instead of like a dying animal with fluid-filled lungs gurgling on it's own blood. Nice, huh?
For you first-time Daddys: DO NOT force-feed your baby when he cries excessively. If the diaper's not wet, and he's had his four ounces for the three-hour period put him in his bouncer, or his swing, or under his play gym and let him fuss. Eventually he'll get tired and crash out, or he won't, and in that case you should put on "The Lion King" or as Ken likes to watch, "Behind Enemy Lines" or "Saving Private Ryan", and watch it with him for a little while. Babies do get fussy, and if you can't get them to settle down via baby massage with Johnson and Johnson's soothing nightime lotion, then run for the bottle of Jim Beam and throw back a shot or two, and then PATIENTLY give your baby a little affection and some attention...worst case scenario: he screams until 8:00am and then falls asleep while your cooking french toast and waiting for the coffee to stop brewing. It's all trial in error I realize, but your wife won't get any sleep and she'll be pissed at you...DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!
Yes, this has all happened to Ken and I, in fact we're living it now as I post this! As I exist on less than 3 hours of sleep a night AND am back at work finally, I'm trying to keep it real and stay patient with my husband, a first-timer in the parenting game. It's all "baby steps", and eventually we'll win the war, even if we keep losing the battles. It can't get any worse...at least not right now.
FSU Baby...Go Noles!
I'm a UCLA girl and my husband went to Appalachian State, but my brother-in-law is a Nole, as in FSU Seminoles. Here in the South college football is religion, so when I moved here last summer just as football season was starting I got to see how serious this all is! I became a Nole by default, having gone to a game or two and seeing Bobby Bowden become the winningest coach in NCAA history, live and in person. It was pretty awesome actually to be at Doak Campbell Stadium when that happened!
It's a new season and I now have a new baby...my brother-in-law Dave keeps inquiring as to whether or not we've got Jack trained to do the Seminole chop yet, and I recently went on-line to the Garnet and Gold website, and low and behold they have baby gear for days! Looks like we'll be doing some shopping to deck our little man out as a Nole! This should please his uncle greatly.
Tonight is the first game of the season for FSU, against their rivals the Miami Hurricanes. Jocks and Jills is a great sports pub/restaurant that is a MAJOR FSU supporter for some reason, so we've decided to take in all our FSU games there with Jack in tow! Ken still thinks they need to put Koala changing tables in the men's room as well so if I'm not with the boys, he won't have to come home to change Jack's diaper during the game!
We've decided that Jack should go to FSU when he goes to college. Yes, it did make the list of top ten party schools, but he can play baseball on scholarship, or else Uncle Dave can foot the bill as a fellow alum.(???) Let's keep the Nole tradition going, right? How's that for planning ahead for your children?
Life with Jackson
So Jackson is almost 4 weeks old now. The youngest of my two children, Jack is a strapping lad, growing with each day, making new strides, focusing on actually seeing further than my face past feeding time! Infants are the funniest creatures, even at 4:00 am, when your praying to God it's all a dream and you really don't have to get out of bed for another bottle or diaper change! I wouldn't trade it for anything actually. Deanna, my 14-year old daughter, was a terrfic baby, but I was soooo much younger. Parenthood doesn't get any easier just because I'm in my late 30's suddenly, it just makes me appreciate a nap!
Jackson is a pretty social baby so far. Both Ken and I have taken him to our respective places of employement, at which he slept like the dead regardless of all of the noise. He's been to a few restaurants, met a few cute girls and has even watched his first UCLA football game, which of course they lost...FSU plays this week some time! Go Noles! He'll be at Jock's and Jill's every Saturday for NCAA College Ball since he's our son! He'll have his first babysitter experience on the 13th of September, when Ken and I will actually get to go out for a "grown-up" night. It's our wedding anniversary...Two years and running!
Jackson's a pretty easy-going boy, except when he wants to be fed..."Move it Lackey...why am I waiting?" That's what Ken says he's thinking when we're moving on auto-pilot...hey, it's early in the morning! He's a little over-bearing at times, but for the most part he's a good kid.
It could be worse, Jackson could be a twin, like my sister just had about ten days before Jack came along! And I feel sleep-deprived??? Poor Melany, at least she has her youth! Life with Jackson is pretty delightful all in all...and we're pretty darn lucky he feels that way too!