Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bleedin' Heart

I made my first home visit today as a mother. I cannot convey with words how much more saddened I felt after a visit now that I have a child of my own. I became aware again of the many, many things we take for granted and become greedy about, and I immediately felt ashamed of my own selfishness as I stumbled up the snowy pathway to my clients' apartment. I came bearing Christmas gifts for the kids from my company, and a very nice young man who had nothing to do with the family I am working with  helped me from my car to the apartment with all the gifts, telling me " you probably shouldn't leave your trunk open like that."
Just because you are in a very impoverished and crime ridden neighboorhood doesn't mean that every person you meet is out to destroy you.

I spoke with the mother who was very articulate and attuned to her children's needs. I will not go into specific details, but I will say this: If you or your child/children have beds, have food, have heat... if you can open the cupboard and find something to eat, a blanket to warm you-- then you are far luckier than so many people. I ask that you think of this during the holiday season and donate either your time or money to help those who so truly need the bare necessities.

Putting Arlo to bed this evening, I was so much more aware of how much he has. Even though our home is heated, we still have a space heater in his room to make sure he is warm. He wears a onesie underneath his  PJ's. He has about a gillion toys and will be getting more when Christmas rolls around. So many kids have so much less than my son does.

Again, this winter I encourage everyone to donate time, money, or things to a charity-- there are so many kiddos and families that are in need of something.  Thank you for listening to my rant, and I hope that everyone has a very Merry Christmas.:)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This one goes to eleven

So there has been quite the hiatus-- and I feel bad for that, because writing about Arlo really has been helpful and therapeutic. But my little man EXPLODED once 10 months came around, and it's been difficult for me to find time to type/think/eat/[insert action here] since. A good friend prodded me along the other day, so here goes nothing. Here are the major things that have happened since I blogged last:

1. We went on a family vacation to Florida. I know, we're lucky... my parents graciously provided room and board in Seagrove Beach, FL for all of us... a place I know well and used to frequent when I was a child. We want to make it a yearly trip now-- but here's hoping over the years the car ride gets better. Actually, it was fine up until the last hour to FL, and the last hour back to OH.... the little man was a trooper and had a blast. Wonderful memories that we want to repeat. Well, all except the jackass at the Arby's in Birmingham who berated me for changing Arlo's clothes in public, even though we were in a corner( there wasn't a changing station in the bathroom). Dude screamed:( and imagine very southern accent) " WELL now I've seen it all!  A baby bein' changed in a rest-u-raaaaaantt". He then tried to get the entire dining room involved in his cause to make me feel like shit while geoff( unknowingly, thank GOD) was still ordering our food. I just told him " Sir, where would YOU have me change my child? You don't have to look, you know!" Stupid old pervert.

2. Arlo has now gone mobile. I was pretty concerned at first... by 9.5 months he was still doing what I affectionately call the "suzy scoot"( i would play suzy greenburg and he would scoot his little butt off)... but once we got home from Florida, it was on. The kid has not slowed down since. In fact, he pulled up to stand a couple of days after he learned to truly crawl.  Now all he wants to do is have you hold his hands so he can walk around the house. My back has never hurt more. But my heart, well.... :)

3. Arlo is now very curious and somewhat defiant. He understands that when I say "no", that I do not want him to do something, i.e play with the electrical sockets( we're trying very hard to not baby proof the house too much and get him to understand what he can and can't do. hippies) but turns and smiles at me and goes on to do exactly what I have told him not to do. He likes to rifle through mommy's purse. He enjoys attempting to get as close to the television as possible, even if it is off. He likes playing with Sadie's feet. Our house is his oyster at this point.  He has made his way into the kitchen and turned sadie's food bowls over several times, much to her dismay.

4. My child is verbal. We have been attempting to integrate some sign language, but I honestly don't think we need it. Before I had a child i was always anti sign language as I felt it would hinder the spoken word. Now I see the benefits but I really think he doesn't need it. The kid is a parrot. He repeats ( as well as he can) words you say.

5. Sleep still sucks. Your kid goes through phases.... one week they sleep through the night, the next the don't, the next they do and so on. That's just how it is. Arlo isn't a sleeper ( unless he's at grandma and grandpa's). We have accepted this.:)

6. My support group is still my savior. My husband, parents, in-laws, friends.... man, I am one lucky momma. I think that's all that needs to be said on that one.

7. Hyland's Teething Tablets and generic tylenol. Arlo's got 4 teeth and cutting 2 new ones as we speak. Maybe 3. It would be easier if he would let me look in his mouth. As it is, he doth protest too much.

8. Dwindling "only child" syndrome. As I see Arlo grow and mature... the more I think I could have just one more. But I think that about potato chips as well, so we'll see where that one goes.:)

9. My House is a Wreck. My friend put it to me this way: " Why not have your house as a kid's house? It's their place too. Once they learn to pick it up, then they can. Until then, who cares what it looks like."

10. Walking. Arlo wants to walk. All day long. His balance is off, he curls his toes, but if you hold his hands up, he cries if you try and sit him down. Hopefully he will walk on his own soon.

11. Me. I am still a frazzled momma, don't get me wrong--but I'm in a much better place. For all my friends who told me " it gets better"... it does.... and it doesn't.... but mostly it does.  Because watching the person that was in your tummy for 9 months grow into this being who says " DADADA" and " dog" and "okay" and crawls around the house with a goofy-ass grin...  it most certainly DOES get better.  Life with my son is a joy, even at 5AM. I happen to love Handy Manny.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pediatrician= Rock Star( Hooray for awesome doctors everywhere)

Arlo turned 9 months last week, and as with every three month incriment until they are a year, he had his 9 month check up today. I have to say that Arlo's pediatrician deserves a nod in the form of a blog because he, for lack of a better term, rocks.

If you know me at ALL, even a little bit, you know that I can be somewhat anxious. You could even say neurotic if you wanted to, although I might get defensive but deep down agree with you anyway. This is fine, it is part of who I am, and no doubt this nervousness has been amplified since having a child.

At any rate, our doctor, Dr. Drasnin( he deserves real name credit here) is wonderful. He talks to us .He looks at Geoff and I when he's in the room, while at the same time glancing over at Arlo and making funny faces.  He listens to us. He doesn't just come in, check Arlo's lungs, private parts and speed out of the room... he endures my list of questions and gives us honest answers. He referenced what he did/does with is OWN children. This, my friends, is a big deal to me. Because some docs won't do to themselves or their own family what they encourage YOU to do.  If my doctor does it with his own kids, I feel comfortable doing the same with Arlo ( within medical guidelines, mind you:).

Dr. Drasnin also has a sense of humor and knows how to gauge each parental unit... and I think he realizes the type of folks Geoff and I are.

So this blog goes out to Dr. Drasnin... you are fabulous!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you.:)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bedtime for Bonzo

Well, Arlo had a cold.

 Then we went out of town. When we came back, he had another cold. You get the gist here. We knew we had to sleep train him.... but this summer we have been so LUCKY to have folks watch him( and mommy totally at home all day every day since he has been born) that we really did not give it a second thought.

Well...  now he has some super seperation axiety.... and we are trying to deal with it accordingly. I wish his naps revolved around Days Of Our Lives and the "dramatic" turns the characters on the show endure.... because then I could totally graph his naps. I need him to be able to be graphed in exel. Sammi brady almost ALWAYS has issues at the beginning and end of the show . But he doesn't seem to care about Sammi. He pays attention ONLY to the Desmaris family which usually last the entirty of the show. Starts at one, ends at two... thinking this is a good nap time but he doesn't alway sleep. Makes me realize he is probably ME at heart. No schedule, no one telling him when to do what.  

I can deal with that.

This does not fix anything, other than babies are hard...

and we have the world's BEST support system. We are taking Arlo to Florida in October with my folks and I can't wait for him to hit the sand. Yeeehaw for the Hippie Davin baby to suck up some ocean enviornment.

Friday, August 20, 2010


After a visit to our pediatrician's office, it was recommended to us that we start the "cry it out" method with Arlo because of his age and his lack of "good" sleep.  Being a first time parent is rough, because you really have no clue how to initiate anything. Arlo still does not nap on a consistent basis( probably part of our problem) and will only do so if you nap with him. At any rate, it seems this is the method we will take( as long as we can take it). I know I said earlier that reading advice sucked... and it still does, because I get SO confused. So many contradictions out there. But my pal Tori( thanks again, my dear) sent me an article about other folks who had to go the cry it out method-- and one mother's mantra made me realize that maybe I really WAS hurting Arlo more by soothing him than by teaching him how to self soothe. It went something like " my baby is crying because he loves me so much. And because I love him, I want him to be rested and happy and learn how to sleep on his own." My father went on to say  something similar in nature-- " Laura, he's a baby in a crib with a roof over his head, well-fed, well-loved, that just needs some help to sleep."  And then again I am reminded of infantile amnesia...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood_amnesia and that developmentally, unless I drop an anvil on Arlo's head every night, he won't remember having to cry it out or have any emotional scarring because of it. Similarly, my fear of reactive attatchment disorders are unfounded as well- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactive_attachment_disorder because my kid obviously has awesome attachments to many folks right now. And duh... I worked with kids with attachment disorders for years.  It's just different when it's YOUR kid you're worried about.

And yet, even knowing all of this... it's still hard hearing your kid cry. Here's hoping what I'm doing is "right".

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Stuff I've Learned

I want to make a list of the stuff I have learned to do since I have had Arlo. To me, it's an interesting list:

1. Type one-handed. I figure this is a generation thing-- most of my communication these days  is through the computer. I have mastered the art of holding Arlo and typing with one hand. If you have received any type of email, text, etc. from me in the past seven and a half months, you've no doubt put up with many typos and " what the hell did she just say?" thoughts.

2. Multi-Task.  Some folks are born with this skill-- but I had to learn. And thanks to Arlo, I have. At the same time, I can talk on the phone, fix a bottle, hold my son, let the dog out to pee, and think about what kind of food Arlo will eat at dinnertime.

3. Patience.  I didn't have it before Arlo. In fact, I still struggle with it. But I've gotten better with it--- day to day. You'd think ( as did I) that I would have an abundance of it because of my work history, and I did. Kids could throw TVs at me, curse me out, threaten to blow up my car, punch my face...  and I might get a little rattled. But it's totally different when it's your own kid. Never understood that until Arlo came along.

4. Unconditional Love.  I love my parents unconditionally. I always have and always will. But now that I have a child, i realize that there is a different type of unconditional love out there... one that requires you to question your own morals and thoughts... and at the end of it all, you begin to understand that no matter what, your kid comes first.

5. Time Away.  Not everyone gets this-- but Geoff and I are lucky because we do-- and it truly helps us to be better parents and to be better to each other.

6. What Distracts My Kid.  As someone in the mental health/developmental biz, distraction is important if done properly. And the biggest thing that distracts my child from unruly tantrums???? Books. He loves to be read to.

 I'm sure this list will go on, and I will add to it as I see fit.


My lapse in blogging has been in great part due to Arlo's seperation anxiety. Oh my goodness. When we're at home, if I leave the room, he screams. If I put him down for 2 seconds to go to the bathroom, he screams until I pick him up again. It's ridiculous. I know some might say " awww, that means he loves you" but seriously, folks... couldn't he show it in some other way? It's nice to be needed but GEEZ. I'm trying really hard to keep telling myself that it's just a phase( and I hope that it is) but it is SO HARD to ever have a moment to myself sometimes. Geoff just took him to the grocery so I could breathe. Sometimes being a mom is the best thing in the world-- and other times like right now I'm just so exhausted. I could go to bed right now. I still have to hold him for naps( although he did nap by himself the other day, so I'm counting that as progress) and that gets to be draining, because that's the time in which I need to use to clean and do other stuff around the house. He's closing in on 8 months now and I'm thinking I'm just going to have to let him cry it out. I hate it. I hate seeing those little tears streaming down his face and knowing it's MY fault that they're there in the first place. I just don't know, and I am just trying to remind myself that everyday is a new day and that we WILL get through this, just like we got through the past 7 months. I want to reiterate how much I love him and I can't imagine my life without him.... but right now I'm really, really tired. And that's just me being honest.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sans Arlo

I know I vent a lot about the struggles of motherhood and what not, but lately I've been taken aback at how listless and strange I feel when the little boy is not around. Geoff and I are truly blessed to have grandparents who live only 5 minutes away and who do not hesitate( and very often ask) to watch little A for us. Just last week we were in NC for a mini-vacation without the dude-- and while it was very freeing not to have to worry about diapers, feeding times, general fussiness and the like, the void( and I'm going to get really cheesy and cliched here for a second, so if you can't handle it i suggest you stop reading this entry) I felt and feel when he's not around is incredibly large( insert you're "that's what she said" jokes here). It's like a piece of me is gone-- and why shouldn't it feel like that? I carried the boy in my tummy for 9 months, so anytime apart feels odd and makes me somewhat forlorn. If you've never read Shel Silverstein's " A Missing Piece", I suggest you do, because it makes what I'm trying so very hard to say make a little more sense. I was away Saturday in Louisville for an annual gathering of friends from college-- or " The Summit" as we call it( my dad had a "summit" with his college friends so we borrowed the name) and I absolutely love getting together just to act silly and be generally goofy. I got to see a couple of older friends from high school as well which made the trip even more special. But even though I love having time to myself, I am always anxious to get back to Geoff and Arlo as quickly as possible. Not that I worry that they aren't okay or being taken care of... but because I love them more than I ever thought possible to love anyone besides my parents.  It is good to get away-- especially by yourself for a bit--- because you gain a tremendous amount of perspective on your "new" life. For me, it confirms the fact that my heart, love and soul are truly linked with my son's and my husband's.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I can't believe Arlo will be seven months on Friday. I remember(kind of) those percocet filled sleep-deprived first weeks that felt to me like YEARS. I remember thinking " this kid will NEVER GET OLDER"-- but my how time has flown. I stopped reading about baby junk-- development and what not-- around 3 months because everything I read was different, telling me different things, etc.. and for shits and giggles I picked up the book my friend Tori continuously asks me NOT to pick up just to see where Arlo is on the timeline( the book is the " What to expect within the first year" ( sorry, Tori) this evening. Apparently, my kid should be sitting without support-- which he can for about a minute or two until he topples over like a drunk chick after too many jello shots at a frat party. He should also be able to, and I quote, " feed self cracker". What in the HELL does this mean? He's not a parrot. I had no idea I was supposed to even be feeding him crackers let alone teaching him how to feed himself. He doesn't even have teeth, for goodness sakes. Feed self cracker. You go feed yourself a cracker you idiotic book. He should also be making a " wet razzing sound".  He does make noise, but does not say " RAZZ RAZZ" while spitting all over creation, so I'm not sure where we're at on this one. Then it goes on to talk about how to raise a gifted baby. HE IS SEVEN MONTHS OLD. Mensa won't be knocking down our doors anytime soon.
So the moral to this story is.... STOP READING. ( I never thought I'd hear myself say that)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fun With Webcam

super weird, but we were havin' fun.:) If Arlo were prime minister, he'd take big ben and eat it(him).

The Fall

So we had our first "fall" experience here at the Davin household... or should I say I had the first fall experience... cause it was my fault completely. I swear the boy was on the couch for .02 seconds... I looked over at a pair of shorts, debating on whether he needed them for his outing, and BAM before I knew it, the kid was on our 1982 pink carpet.  OH. MY. GOD.  This was the WORST feeling I have ever felt in my entire life. Usually when he is on the couch my gigantic ass is blocking him from rolling off, but for some reason it didn't work this time. Next thing I knew, I looked over and he was on the ground. I began to panic... I picked him up although I was hyperventilating... then I began to curse loudly( this entire time my husband was in the shower, go figure) and then came the sobbing. The loud, wailing sobbing(from me, of course). Geoff jumped out of the shower and asked what was wrong. I told him, and he looked at me like I was nuts. " Honey, babies fall all the time. It's okay." Then Arlo began to cry--- he hadn't before I started to lose it. Geoff kissed me on the forehead and swiftly took Arlo out of the room. " Mommy needs a minute" he told him. I swear I cried so hard my entire pillow was soaked... but I eventually pulled myself together. Minutes later my parents came over( they were in the nati for the weekend) and I told my mom what had transpired. " Laura", she said in her southern twang, " do you know how many times YOU fell off the bed??"
She then went on to say " It's obvious he is okay. Look at him!" ( and at this time he was smiling and goofing off in his johnny jump-up)  My in-laws came over shortly thereafter and my mother in law softly touched my arm. " Laura", she said, " I had two boys. Guess how many times they fell?!?"  I immediately felt better. Both my own mother and my mother in law comforted me in a way that no one else could. I am so incredibly lucky to have both of them here to offer advice and to be here for me. I don't think I would have recovered so quickly had it not been for them( and my husband). 

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Plug

If you've seen pictures of Arlo or even seen him up close and personal, then you'll have noticed the little red strawberry looking dot that protrudes from his head.  It's scientific name and description can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemangioma

Basically, it's a cluster of blood vessels. Nobody really knows how they form, but our dude has one, and since he has been born, not a day had gone by that somebody hasn't commented on it. Kids do it all the time. They'll point, stare-- ask what happened to him-- and this I can handle and understand. Kids are curious and don't have an edit button. What I am commonly finding troubling, though, is that many adults are doing the same... and it makes me want to scream. One woman asked me the other day what was "wrong" with him. Her tone was very " ewww, what a weirdo" and she looked at him like he might explode at any minute.  Maybe I'm overreacting a bit( what, me?) but I kept my choice words for her in my head and just responded with " it's a birthmark". So in order to help me NOT be carted away by the police or mobile crisis next time this happens, I have prepared a list of answers that I would like to respond with that will make me laugh rather than foam at the mouth.Hopefully, one day, Arlo will laugh at how his dear old Mom decided to handle the situation. Imagine the " What's wrong with him" question, and here are some responses I've crafted to reply with:

1. That's a fake gem. I bedazzled his head. I wanted to add a "wow" factor to my child.
2. (This one is Geoff's. He actually used it, but it was with a kid so it doesn't count) It's his plug. He plug him up in the morning and unplug him at night.
3. What's wrong with him? What's wrong with YOU????( okay, that one might get me in trouble)
4. My husband let a woodpecker peck his head.
5. Voldemort left his mark on my kid, too. ( Harry Potter reference)
6. It's a small communist country. If you stare too long, you'll be magically whisked away to it.

Ah. I feel better now.:)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Little Clarity.

Over the past few days I have encountered some wonderful moments with Arlo. And not just me watching him and laughing, or him watching me and crying... but doing things both of us enjoy. In my mind I'm screaming " FINALLY! FINALLY!" A connection is brewing... one that isn't just raised arms to be held, or a cry when I leave the room... we're actually sharing fun times together, and it is, for lack of a better term, glorious.

Our first moment was during a music class at a bookstore here in Cincinnati called the Blue Manatee. Fearing another gymboree incident, I was pretty anxious. I soon found out I had nothing to worry about. He loved it. He laughed, he cried, he hurled( okay, spit up excitedly) and enjoyed just lounging around in the store while I read books to him. Geoff and I went out of town for a night soon thereafter, and being away from him is always bittersweet to me. I miss him like crazy, but at the same time enjoy the time away... but it never fails that the morning we are scheduled to come back I'm in a complete frantic/panic mode to get back as soon as possible.

Our second moment was today. Arlo had been crying all morning and refusing to nap(what's new?) so I decided to put our gold passes to King's Island to use. I packed us up, headed out, and we spent the afternoon exploring his first pool experience. He loved it. He laughed, splashed... I couldn't have been happier or prouder of my little man. Next up-- the other side of the park. I want one of those jokers to guess his weight.

Even though we still have our frustrations... life is good.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Mall-- Refuge for the Weary, Downtrodden and Desperate

When I was a kid, my dad used to hate the notion that I wanted to go to the mall with my friends. He would tell me, " I don't want you becoming a mall yuppie."( I remember this line distinctly because I angrily wrote it down in my diary after I had been sent to my room for being "histrionic". Yes, my parents used the term "histrionic" to describe my pre-teen tantrums. Gee, I wonder what line of work they're in.) I had no idea what that meant other than the fact that I was rarely allowed to accompany my friends sans my parents as they perused and snickered at things they didn't quite understand yet at Spencer's, bought fake gold best friend necklaces at Claire's, looked for boys at the arcade and ate at the DQ in the food court.  But now that I am a grown-up with a baby, things are quite different. Not only am I ALLOWED to go to the mall, but it is my safe-haven on those days when I can't quite keep it together enough to do anything else. It's simple, really: next time you go to the mall, look around and count how many frazzled looking moms( and dads) you see mindlessly wheeling their infant around in a stroller/Bjorn. You will find them in abundance, day or night. Since Arlo was born in early December, let's just say that he is well acquainted with the Kenwood mall. If he cries-- who cares? It's not like anyone can really hear him, and believe me there are always like 6 other babies screaming louder than he is at the same time. Hungry? No problem. Nice restroom for breastfeeding or formula feeding-- always littered with moms and babies. Tired? Easy. Arlo falls asleep with the stroller motion, and eventually I can sit down somewhere and just watch people go by until he wakes up. So be kind to your mall warrior friends with babies. Refrain from staring if their kid is throwing a major tantrum. Don't give them the evil eye if they aren't as quick on the draw as you would like them to be when trying to quiet their child. They're just trying to survive, trust me. The mall has saved me many a day-- and I promise, dad-- I'm still not the "mall yuppie" you feared I would become.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Arlo say RELAX

It's amazing the things I learn from my son. I can't get over how much I underestimate how much Arlo really understands about his world and the people who surround him already, namely me. Take today, for example. It started off with a small, ridiculous argument with my husband, which always ( at least in my case) seems to make the rest of the day a semi-hell until he gets home from work. Then factor in fussy baby and my frustration level is tripled. All before 10 AM.  Stupidly, I immediately went into retail-therapy mode, loaded up the stroller and off we went to Old Navy. Arlo was cool in the store, but once we got back to the dressing rooms, my day started to resemble a really bad episode of Full House-- you know, the ones where every character has a pseudo-issue... Uncle Jesse gets herpes, DJ gets her period, Stephanie discovers the wonders of meth... at any rate, Arlo continued his dissertation on how much he hates staying still and we had to leave quickly before we were escorted out(no doubt it would have been by one of those mannequins in the commercials). We went home and regrouped since we had a play date scheduled for the day.... but it ended up being a no-date because of my ridiculous sense of direction( although I have lived in this town for 7 years) and my inability to keep my emotions in check( why can't Cincinnati have CLEAR street signs?). Arlo sensed my frustration and before I knew it he had hit his car-ride limit and began his "Get Me Out of The Car>Scream>Get Me Out of The Car>What the Hell is Going On>Why Haven't You Gotten Me Out of The Car>Scream" jam. ( and just so we're clear, it all sounds pretty much the same but the screaming does occasionally fluctuate thereby letting me know he has transitioned into a different tune)
If you've ever had to deal with a screaming baby in a car by yourself, then you know how ridiculously torturous it is. I couldn't stop because I was stuck in traffic on the lateral( and believe me, I wouldn't stop because all that happens is he gets excited that I'm talking to him and once I get back in the driver's seat, it all begins again. Learned my lesson on that one coming home from Columbus.)and couldn't reach his seat to find the pacifier. So I just had to deal, as did he. Sensing my mounting emotional fall-out, he began to wail, and did so all the way to our driveway. Eventually I joined in. Half sobbing/deliriously laughing, I walked around to the backseat and took a deep breath. I counted to ten, opened the door... and there he was, covered in drool..... smiling. And although I was still a little shaken, that smile- that no-tooth-inflamed-gum grin-- let me know that HE knew I had started to relax. He is wise beyond his... well... months.:)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Poker( The Illusionist)

I've come to the conclusion that my son is going to be an excellent poker player. At almost six months, he's already as good of an illusionist as Phil Ivey,  is as hard to read as Doyle Brunson, and has the temper of the "poker brat" himself, Phil Helmuth.  I will now illiustrate his gambling prowess by likening his naptime antics to one hand of Texas Hold Em', heads up style-- Mommy vs. Arlo.  Just imagine Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patton commentating.

Mike: Well Vince, we're down to the last two standing, Mommy Davin and Arlo Stewart. Should be interesting.
Vince: Yes, Mike, they've both been playing a pretty solid game, although the dealer has had to change decks several times due to Arlo's excessive drool problem. Isn't that a violation of some kind?
Mike: Well, Vince, that's why he's a pro. 

[dealer deals cards(mommy sits down with Arlo and bottle)]

Mike: Mommy D's checking out her cards(beginning to give Arlo a bottle and seeing signs of sleepiness). I'm seeing a pair of Aces, Vince. Looking good already for her. She raises to 20,000.
Vince: Let's see what Arlo has to work with. Wow, Mike. A pair of nines. Not looking good for the Drool King. But... he calls. Bold move. (Arlo opens eyes up very wide and begins to play with bottle)
Mike: Let's see the flop-- and holy cow, would you look at that? Two nines and an ace . This doesn't look good for Mommy D.( Arlo is almost finished with bottle and is still awake but drowsy) She's staring him down, Vince, but he's showing no signs of excitement( Arlo lays still). Mommy D. raises another 20,000.
Vince: And once again, Arlo calls. He knows he's got the best hand. ( Arlo "appears" asleep)
Mike: and on the turn is a deuce. No help to Mommy D. She checks.( puts pacifier in Arlo's mouth)
Vince: Arlo checks as well. He's slow playing her. ( Arlo sighs as if he is content and asleep)
Mike: and the river is... a queen. Arlo's got four of a kind-- let's watch and see how Mommy D plays this one.
Vince: She's going all in, Mike. She feels like she's got him beat( Mommy puts arlo in crib)
Mike: Here we go, Arlo calls.... ( opens eyes as soon as he is put in the crib and begins to giggle and laugh) and turns over his cards. Mommy D is NOT happy, Vince. Not happy at all.  Arlo is truly a master at this game.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Little Stinker

Up all night last night.... but seriously, how could you be mad at this face??

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Zombie Mommy(and Daddy)

The last week has been rough. Arlo hasn't been sleeping much at night and Geoff and I are having trouble pinpointing why. Maybe that's our problem, though. It's hard to "pinpoint" anything with a baby. There always seems to be more than one reason why they do or don't do something. I've come to the conclusion that he just isn't a super sleeper. My body adjusts(most of the time) accordingly. When I go in at whatever time it is in the middle of the night/early morning, I usually find him trying to crawl around in his crib or just rolling around, half giggling and half crying. I keep telling myself that this is just a phase... and we WILL get through it.

On the upswing, we took him to River Downs with my parents and my in-laws. He was a total angel. I honestly believe he loves constant noise and distraction. Keeps him occupied... but the over-stim doesn't help him sleep at night. Also took him to Taste of Cincinnati-- again, a total angel. Loved it. Smiled and looked around the whole time. Enjoyed listening to Cover Model(a friend's band)-- although some dude came up and told us that he shouldn't be around loud music. My first encounter with unsolicited advice from a stranger. Maybe he was right, maybe he was wrong... but I just had to remind myself he was being nice and looking out for my kid.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


My friend was kind enough to "stub us down" as it were so we could attend a free gymboree class to see how Arlo would fare. I had the highest of hopes... he's usually a pretty sociable child that enjoys constant distractions as well as sizing up other babies( he usually looks as though he wants to eat them). For some reason, however, he was in one of his rebellious moods. If he could talk, I'm quite sure he would have told the teacher ala "doug" from The State : " I'm outta heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere."

The class was great-- it was Arlo who just wasn't having it. We weren't really prepared, either. Neither of us had on socks, which is a requirement apparently, and we were supposed to bring a blanket and all I had on me was some old raggedy receiving blanket with tylenol stains on it that looked like blood. While the instructor talked, he either babbled or cried or tried to grab/smush/eat the other babies. I have to say, it was highly comical. Either Geoff or I would take turns walking him around the room so that the other babies could enjoy their class in peace. One part of the class had all the mommies/daddies " comfort " their child to a quiet song. Arlo took this opportunity to continue his vocal disruption as loud as possible. I haven't laughed so hard in days. Not sure anyone else thought it was as funny as Geoff and I did, though...

If they had a "breakfast club" for gymboree, Arlo would surely be required to attend.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


My husband stumbled upon the real foundation of our frustrations late one night after a particularly harrowing day. He looked at me and said, " You know what it is? We're being selfish." I thought about this for a moment, and then realized he was exactly right. All the things that you never thought would fall into the category of "being selfish"... stuff like sleeping, finishing your lunch, going to the grocery at a moment's notice... were now considered things that we had to either do without or plan way ahead of time to accommodate our child's unpredictability. I think the realization of this has helped me in times when I thought I would lose it completely(not to mention the old adage that "this too shall pass"). In order to provide a happy, healthy, life for my child, I'm the one that has to adapt to the change.

The Winter's Tale is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and within it( as with all Shakespeare works, in my humble opinion) is a poignant line that simply says " It is required that you do awake your faith." This line plays over and over and over again in my head and it gets me through the day. Whatever "faith" means to you-- to me it is a myriad of things-- it is truly how I have, of late, become more aware of my selfishness and embraced all the wonderful things that come with having a child.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Let's Be Honest.

Prompted by a comment a friend made, I thought about this statement and what it has meant to me in terms of raising a child. Plenty of my friends had already had kids by the time Arlo came around... and looking back, I now notice there seemed to be a little something missing in their advice to me for after his birth. Not that they weren't being honest, but let's face it- no one was totally, brutally forthcoming with detailed info.  Everyone was really vague... " oh, the first couple months are weird"  and " just remember to sleep when the baby sleeps" and  " just remember, what you say to your husband in the middle of the night doesn't count".  Little did I know that they were being vague on purpose... because how can you convey to someone(in the nicest, least scariest way possible) that those first months are pretty much going to drain you silly, turn your world inside out, and freak the hell out of you? I remember one morning at 2AM, having not showered or brushed my teeth in days, baby screaming, looking at my haggard husband and going " WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL US ABOUT THIS??? WHY DO THEY HATE US??" And now I know. They didn't say anything because they loved us and there was nothing anyone could do or say to prepare us for what was to come. The honesty then came in the form of an abundance of support once we realized what we were in for.. and that we still receive to this day.

I also remember thinking that everyone who said they "loved" having a newborn were total liars. Not that I didn't love Arlo, or wasn't totally and completely grateful for his presence in my life-- but who really LOVES getting up every hour to feed?( not to mention that breastfeeding was totally rough those first few weeks. I left the hospital not even being totally sure what the hell to do) Who ENJOYS being sleep deprived?  I fell down the basement stairs Christmas morning and really didn't find that to be a charming side effect to being up all night with my son. Then I thought-- you know, maybe some people do. But I wasn't and am not one of them. And this doesn't make me a bad mom or any less "maternal" than those that relish in those moments. That's awesome that some people do and I admire that. But I've come to realize that I'm a different kind of mom with different strengths and weaknesses and that's okay. There's no point in trying to force myself to like those things just because current society's definition of being a "mother" say that I should or that there's something wrong with me if I don't.

So if 'm being honest with myself... I adore my son. He's the greatest thing ever to come into my life. But I refuse to beat myself up anymore when I get frustrated with the various and sundry things one gets frustrated with when having a newborn.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ah, Separation...

Methinks we have some separation anxiety going on. It's about that time- it begins around 6-9 months. I'm thinking this because when I put him down to bed( drowsy, but not asleep) he screams like a banshee when I leave the room. The moment I go back in, he smiles and jumps around like he wants to play a game of racquetball or something, despite the fact that 10 minutes earlier he couldn't keep his eyes open. God, I hear so much advice on how to curb this and sometimes I think that I should just stop reading shit and do what I feel is best. Let them cry it out, don't... I don't know. Personally, I can't stand to hear him cry. I can let him "fuss" it out... or "talk" it out.... but crying--shrieking really-- I can't just let him go. And it's not because I'm afraid he'll get some kind of attachment disorder. I know better. I just hate hearing him get so worked up and upset. I end up feeling like a complete ass for just standing there and letting him wail.

I borrowed a book from a friend-- the Healthy sleep habits happy child one-- and there are "warnings" in the book that really alarm me. One says that if your child is a horrible sleeper now he'll be more likely to be addicted to sleeping pills as an adult. WHAT???? Another said that if your child was "colicky" and a difficult sleeper that they will be more likely to have mental health issues as an adolescent and will be more prone to have ADHD. I honestly stopped reading after I saw that. I just couldn't take it seriously anymore.

There has to be some other way to do this. I have tried creating a transitional object for him but that hasn't taken flight as of yet. I have a routine. I know his cues. Maybe it just takes time. For now, though, it's rough going in the sleep department.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


So I realize that my son is now 5.5 months old now... but I desperately need a space to detail my day-to-day musings-- successes, failures, complete, total screw-ups and the like. And to be completely honest, I really haven't found the quality time I've needed to sit down and write until now.

So to sum up-- On December 9, 2009 I had a bouncing baby boy. His name is Arlo Stewart Davin. "Arlo" because a) I am an Arlo Guthrie fan b) the name "arlo" wasn't even on the social security website for name popularity and c) I just liked the name; " Stewart" after my wonderful grandfather who passed away a couple of years ago. He was born via C-section( he was too big, I was too small) with not one but TWO spinals(much to the dismay of both myself and the anesthesiologist) and as the doctor pulled him out of my belly exclaimed " Laura, Arlo is going to WALK to the table... and he just peed on me." Not a bad way to enter the world, I guess.

The last 5 months have been a blur. The newborn phase has thrown both my husband and I way off kilter. Don't get me wrong: I LOVE MY SON MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD. I wouldn't do anything differently and I can't imagine my life without him. But this doesn't mean that things have been easy. And that is where this blog comes in. So I can look back and go " well shit, that wasn't so bad. we survived." I quit my job as a development consultant for an agency that serves the needs of kids with severe mental illnesses/behavioral issues and am staying at home with the boy. This is, by far, the hardest job I have ever/will ever have. Coming from someone who has worked in mental health for over 10 years-- that's saying a lot. I do miss working( I NEVER thought I would say that) and I'll get back to it eventually, but for now I love each day with my son-- screaming fits and all.

We are blessed with so much support from our family and friends. My parents live 3 hours away, but bless us constantly with phone calls, care packages, etc-- and make it up to see little Arlo every chance they get. My in-laws live right around the corner from us and are a godsend. Seriously. They give Geoff and I breaks frequently-- and in the beginning I admit was a little hesitant-- but now with very open arms I welcome any help we can get. It's nice to see that Arlo lights up instantly to others than just Geoff and myself. At times I still think to myself " am I a crap mom for letting my son spend the night away sometimes?" but then I realize that it makes me a much better mom for doing so. I honestly don't know how we would survive without the support that we receive on a daily basis.

And so now fast forward to the present. 5.5 months... wow has time flown by. Arlo is developing a strong personality and I love to watch him do something new everyday. He's a bluegrass fan(as my grandpa smiles from above) and likes books and putting everything in his mouth. He'd rather stand than sit, and I'm quite sure he'd rather walk than crawl.

And thus begins my blogging our life with him.