I am Mama, hear me roar 

People warned me that I wouldn’t quite be myself once I had a baby. As with most things pregnancy/baby related, I didn’t think they were lying but I also didn’t really believe them. 
Then I had a baby and totally see their point.
I’m not really a baby person. You know, there are people who just looooooove babies. They walk up to a baby they don’t know, coo at them, try to smell them, and ask if they can pet said baby as one would ask to pet a golden retriever. 
Which is probably why most people are surprised I had a baby at all. Of course, my end game has never been to have a baby per say, but to have a family. It’s a subtle distinction that most people don’t recognize. 
But then… I had a baby. And I love this baby. Love him. I have taken to calling him “MY baby” when I’m talking with Mr. O. Yes, this is funny because Chick is technically our baby. It comes out at times when I’m trying to impress upon Mr. O how important something is to me in regards to Chick. For example, I don’t want to cut Chick’s hair, but Mr. O thinks it is getting shaggy. I reply “You don’t understand. MY baby isn’t getting his hair cut until he is at least three.” 
It’s weird and a little territorial. But then again, that might just sum up parenthood in its entirety. 
The odd thing is how frequently I seem to have to remind other people that Chick is, in fact, my baby. I’m speaking specifically of Mr. O’s family. They are mostly lovely people. Mostly. But they are also a little bit… how to put it… clannish. No, no, not in a white sheets and cross burning sort of way. More like tribal, cliquey. And Chick is the latest member.
Mr. O’s mom is particularly tricky. She has been dying for us to have a baby for YEARS. Like before we got married. She wouldn’t stop pleading for grandbabies, even after Mr. O asked her to because we were having difficulties conceiving. She will, on occasion, make comments about “Why did it take you so long? I was waiting for-EVER!” Perhaps she doesn’t remember we are infertile. Perhaps she is idiot. I don’t know.
Anywooo… When Mr. O’s mom held Chick for the first time, she cried. Which sounds sort of sweet until she kept on crying, then it quickly devolved into just awkward. It gets weirder. Later, she told Mr. O that she and Chick have some kind of psychic bond, and that the moment they locked eyes, he knew her. Really? At this point, Chick likes lamps almost as much as he likes me– and let us remember that I am his primary food source.
This weekend, we invited her over to spend time with Chick. It had been awhile (about a month) since we’d seen her, because well… we have LIVES. We also invited Mr. O’s sister and her three kids. (I’m still not sure who decided this was a good idea, but whatever… clearly I wasn’t in charge of this play date.)
That morning, Mr. O and I went to our local farmers market to pick up some stuff for the week, and food for the hoard about to descend upon us. On our walk back home, we got into what our respective parents want to be called.
MR. O: My mom wants to be called “Ma’am-AW”…
ME: Yeah, she mentioned that already.

MR. O: But it’s weird how she spells it.

ME: I would think it would be M-A-M-A-W.

MR. O: Me too, but she is spelling it M-A-M-A.

Mama? Say what what? This is about the time my brain exploded. I’m mama. I AM MAMA. As in, I am literally this child’s mother, but also because I am calling myself “mama.” I picked this in part because it is the same in English and Spanish, I’ve never really liked “mommy”, but whatever… I shouldn’t have to justify this because, I AM MAMA. (Obviously, you end up being called whatever your kid wants to call you, but at least I’m starting out with my preference. And my preference includes not having my mother-in-law confusing the crap out of every one with esoteric spellings of her unusual name choice.)
Later that day, the brood arrives. It’s fine, particularly since Chick is sleeping for the first few hours. Secretly, I loved this. I wanted him manhandled as little as possible. As we waited for his royal highness, Mr. O’s Mom dropped all these hints about how her sister is babysitting her grandchildren all the time, and oh, isn’t that so nice for everyone? More hints about her babysitting included a refusal to change Chick’s diaper because “I only change diapers if I’m babysitting.” 
Once Chick was awake, there was no putting off the inevitable. When Mr. O’s Mom got to hold him, she never let go. She rocked. She sang. She insisted that no one else could calm him like she could. At one point, she even implied that Chick likes her more than me and Mr. O. I closed my eyes, and went to my happy place.
While I was changing Chick’s diaper (because she doesn’t “do” diapers unless she is babysitting …), I overheard Mr. O’s Mom talking to one of my nieces– “Just like you are one of my babies, Chick is now my baby.”
I tell you right now my head almost spun around exorcist-style. 
For unrelated reasons, I had to take a phone call just about when this happened, which likely prevented a visit from the local PD. As she was leaving, Mr. O’s Mom said that she can’t go another month without seeing Chick. Mr. O said “Um… we’ll see!” and quickly ushered her out the door.
After they all left, Mr. O and I talked about this whole Mamaw as Mama dynamic. Thankfully, he and I are on the same page here. In fact, I think this annoys him more than it does me.
I do find myself wondering if this is compounded by our infertility. We worked SO. HARD. for this kid, and thanks to science and a wee bit of luck, we are finally parents. Of all the obstacles and challenges, I have no interest in vying for the lead Mama role in my kid’s life.


The Prince

When I was taking him home from the NICU, I was told that although Chick’s chronological age was 3 weeks, he really hadn’t been born yet. The weeks after he first got home, he wouldn’t quite be like a “regular baby”– he’d sleep a lot, we’d need to feed him extra calories, wake him up if he needed to eat or be changed. As he got closer to term, he’d be more himself. That’s when we’d know who we’d actually brought home.

I have brought home a little prince. And I don’t mean that in the cute “Le Petite” sort of way. I mean it in the “Machiavellian” sort of way.
Ladies and gentlemen, my baby has woken up and is very clear about what he doesn’t like. At times, it feels as if he doesn’t like anything. Or actually, he is very clear about what he does like, and everything else is CRAP.

He doesn’t like wet or poopy diapers. If he is wet or stinky, he will express his anger through much yelling.

He doesn’t like to be hungry. Should he be hungry, expect more yelling.

He doesn’t like to he held to your chest after eating. If you try, there will be yelling. And some flailing of limbs.
He doesn’t like tummy time. He also does not like lying on his back to play either. More yelling.

He doesn’t like getting into or out of his car seat. Thar be yelling!

He doesn’t like baths. This feels like a gross understatement. He hates baths so much, he once poop himself. For serious.

He does not like sleeping. He will fight it with every fiber of his tiny being. (Though once asleep, he performs beautifully. Seriously, I’ve been getting 5-6 hours at night. For this I am grateful.)

Lest you think my child is simply contrarian, I can also tell you what he does like.
He likes me an awful lot. In truth, I think he just likes me as a food source, but I’ll take it.

He likes his pacifier. He also likes to spit it out, then freak out once it is no longer in his face.

He likes hanging out on the changing table after his diaper has been changed.

He likes going for walks in his moby wrap.

He likes lights. Yes, my child loves lamp.

He likes to be held at a 45 degree angle so that he can see your face, while you bounce him around the room shooshing to the tune of “Alice the Camel.” 

It is worth noting that 5 minutes later he will not like any of this at all.

 There are times when I think I have given birth to a tiny Kim Jong Un, Supreme Leader of Ostrich-Landia.

Long time, no see

Sweet bejezus… It has been a while since my last update. Like many bloggers with babies, I find myself composing posts in my head all the time– but have little spare time to actually write them down. This will be a mixed bag. But that about sums up where I’m at these days.

A few weeks ago, we went in for Chick’s check post dairy elimination. Though he had a bloody diaper or two, it was so very much better.

Rather than the nitwit NP we saw last time, we met with Chick’s pediatrician. I like her tons. (Aside: I’m slightly embarrassed to say that we picked her because she went to my alma mater. At a certain point, choices become a bit arbitrary I suppose. And this seemed like as good a criteria as any.)

Any way, she weighed Chick and he came in at 8.7 pounds. That means he gained about 1.5 oz a day since his last check up. This is good for a term baby, let alone a premie.

With this news, the doctor allowed us to go off the fortifier. So now we’re breastfeeding at every feeding. I only pump two times a day, I suppose to make sure these boobies of mine get emptied. This is a VAST improvement over where we were before. Though I realize Chick will never be exclusively breastfed, I’ve made my peace with that. He gets the nutrition he needs, I get a smidge of my sanity back, and we both get to spend that quality time together. Everybody wins.

Things were going along swimmingly until about two weeks ago when Chick had another bloody diaper. Then another. Then another one that looks vague mucousy. Everyone tells you to be on the look out for “currant jelly stool” and I was convinced I’d found it. This was, obviously, on a Sunday. Obviously. So we schlep Chick into the doctor’s office AGAIN.

To make a long story short, Chick is apparently also allergic to soy. Wouldn’t you know it? I had three things the day before that had soy hidden in them, and something that had sneaky cow milk product in it as well. Now I have to make ev-er-y thing I eat from scratch. It’s a pain in the ass– The doctor we saw said that she admired me– according to her, most moms she knows quit breastfeeding if their kid gets the diary/soy elimination diet prescribed. Fundamentally, I believe that people do what is best for them and their family, so I’m not in a position to judge. I will say that this elimination thing isn’t terrible as much as it is annoying that I have to prepare all my food. There are no hunger quick fixes for me, but this hardly seems like a good enough reason. For me, anyway.

Let’s seeee… what else has happened… My early intervention resource coordinator has been assigned, and I really like her. She also loves Chick, but I can imagine he is easy to love compared to some of the tougher cases she must get. She comes by every week, and does some stealthy tests to see how he is progressing. It’s kind of wild to see Chick through her eyes. I see his development little by little, so the changes he is going through don’t seem too dramatic to me. Since she sees him once a week, she can really note where he is developing. This week, for example, he is just starting to learn that he can suck on his hand to soothe himself. He is learning, and I get a front row seat.

I’ve also officially decided to use all my vacation and sick time in order to stay home with Chick longer. To be honest, this is largely triggered by financial concerns. I had lined up daycare based on his August due date, so I have about a month long gap to fill.

Also… how to put this… Chick is just starting to get interesting. Let’s be honest, newborns are pretty freaking boring. They sleep, crying, eat, pee and poop. Because I basically brought home a Negative 3 week old, Chick has had a longer dormant phase, or what I call the “Meatloaf” phase. He is just starting to smile, show interest in anything other than food, and snuggle. I’d like a little more time with that baby if I could.

Today, Chick went in for his 2 month check up and had his shots. As you can imagine, this wasn’t his favorite. He cried until his tiny little face turned red. Mr. O was there and did the physical restraining. Though I don’t think of myself as a softie by any stretch, I don’t think I could have held his arms down while he cried like that. Very thankful that Mr. O was on the scene. So far he has been a little fussy and not eating as much, but nothing terribly alarming.

Since we’ve gone off the fortified formula regime, Chick has gained some weight, but not as much as he did before. (Not sure how this would have been a surprise really…) Anyway, we’re continuing with our plan of breastfeeding followed by bottle, only to encourage him to take a little more each day. We have a weight check at 3 months, then we’ll re-evaluate.

Okay then. It’s sleep time for me. Thanks for hanging in there with this laundry list of a post. You are real troopers…