Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sophie's First Day at the Beach!

This morning we took Sophie to the beach for the first time. We hung out in a tent on the beach to keep everyone out of the sun, and we briefly dipped Sophie's feet and legs into the ocean. We also took a nice walk up and down the beach. Sophie seemed to enjoy the water more than I thought she would. The car ride maybe not so much....but we'll keep working on that. When we got home, she had completely worn herself out and took a three-hour nap. Here is a photo of Sophie and her Dad on the beach:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Cats and the Baby

A lot of people ask us how the cats have reacted to having a new member of the family. They have done great! The first day that we brought Sophie home from the hospital, I sat with her on the couch, and Pepper approached to sniff her head. He sniffed her little hairy melon very, very intently and then his tail bushed out and he jumped off the couch in a hurry. Who knows what he thought! Since then, both cats have tentatively approached Sophie to sniff her many times, but they have not really interacted with her much. She doesn't seem to pay much attention to them, and they, though wary of her flailing limbs during play time, don't pay much attention to her.

Sophie's paraphernalia, however, is a different story. Both cats have thoroughly explored many of Sophie's toys and blankets, and they love to sleep in the drawer underneath her crib. Unfortunately, this means that most of the "clean" blankets and bedding I keep there will need to be washed before I use them because they are covered in cat hair. But our pampered felines love sleeping in the little cave formed by the bed skirt, and it's harmless enough. Keegan likes to joke that Sophie will grow up with real monsters under her bed. Monsters that are always hungry!

Of course, the cats suffered a bit at first from the disruption of their usual routine and especially because they are necessarily getting less attention now. They are very clingy at night, when we leave our door open so that we can hear the baby. And sometimes we want to kill them because they yowl at us for attention while we are trying to rock the baby to sleep. Chili has overcome her wariness of Keegan and begs him shamelessly for all-over body rubs whenever she has the chance. Both cats have developed the annoying habit of leaping onto the back of our office chair while I am sitting in it and nursing, and they make me feel like the chair is going to tip over (it isn't). But overall, I think everyone is adjusting quite well. To sum up, here's a video of Pepper enjoying a perk of living with a new baby:

Monday, September 6, 2010

Through the Early Parenthood Wringer - But Still Alive!

Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted anything on the blog! Most of the time I spend in front of the computer these days is while I'm nursing Sophie, so I only have one hand to type with. Now she's taking a nap, so I have a few minutes to type with two hands and let you all know how things are going!

Another reason it's been hard for me to update the blog is because I haven't been sure what to say. I want to be able to post about how rosy and beautiful it is to have become a parent, but I also want to be honest about our experience. There have been rosy and beautiful moments, yes, but for the first two months a lot more dark, scary, or just plain frustrating moments. The combination of my type-A personality, crazy hormonal changes, a "high-need" baby, and the myriad inconveniences of being a foreigner in Korea have made the past two months or so a very, very difficult time for Keegan and I. I hope it's been a comfortable and happy time for Sophie, though!

When I think about how Sophie has changed in the past two months, I keep thinking that the biggest changes have been not in our little one but in us. We've had to learn that we are not in control of our days anymore! While I sit and nurse Sophie, I think about my plans for the next stretch of time between feedings. I think things like "Well, she looks sleepy. I'll put her down for a nap and then clean the kitchen." And then she finishes eating, pops her eyes open, and grins at me mischievously, and I know that I'll be carrying her or playing with her or going for a walk rather than doing any housework. I had lots of ideas about how to calm a baby or how she should sleep that just don't work for our child. It drives me crazy that she doesn't like to be worn in the sling around the house and that she doesn't sleep well in her bassinet, but it's not up to me. I have had to learn that she sleeps well in her swing and that she likes to sit in a seat and watch me rather than be worn around the house. There are times when she refuses to breastfeed because we have waited to long to get situated, and there is nothing I can do until I've calmed her down, even though I know that she'd feel much better if she'd just close her screaming mouth and start drinking. I guess this is all part of learning that our child, while dependent on us for everything she needs, has a mind of her own and can't be forced into our preconceived ideas of what babies want and need.

Anyway, things are slowly but surely getting easier. It's easier to tell when Sophie is tired and wants to sleep for a bit and easier to tell when she is hungry. She cries a lot less and "talks" and smiles a lot more. When she is hungry, she has a funny, insistent sing-songy screech. It's the warning that we need to start getting things in place for the feeding. When she is tired, she will scream and refuse to eat until she is swaddled and comfortable. Now that she is less likely to have a screaming fit, I am getting more confident about taking her out in public. I am even thinking about meeting some friends for lunch at a restaurant this Wednesday - wish us luck!

Here's a short video from a recent bedtime bath: