An entire October's worth of pictures. Except not really, because those 281 pictures are less than half of the total taken...



It's such a contrast - the screaming baby we see most evenings and the calm, laid-back baby we see the rest of the time.


Around the corner from us, there is a house that has a heavy cover of trees and bushes in the front and can't be easily seen from the street. Behind the bushes, there is a swing set. The man who lives in the house like to swing and sing out loud to whatever he's listening to on his headphones. The first time I saw it, I thought it was kind of funny. The second time I started to wonder. Now, I have seen him many times. He has been out there at least a couple times a week for the almost two years we have lived here.

I used to think he was weird, but now I'm kind of jealous. Swinging is fun. If I had a swing set in my yard, I think I would join him.



Patience has never been one of my strong suits, but I never realized just how lacking I was until now. Saul is a little bit colicky. He frequently spends a few hours each evening screaming. I don't mean crying. It starts as crying and then quickly moves to panicked, red-faced, all-out screaming. When he's like this, nothing can soothe him for more than a few minutes at a time. It's terrible to feel helpless to make him feel better, and to feel annoyed and angry at the same time because the sound of an infant screaming is possibly the most grating sound on the face of the earth. The first time he did this, I rocked him and sobbed myself for a good half hour before B came and rescued me. I'm a little better now, but B is the only one who can handle it effectively. He has this magical ability to stay calm when I have long since become upset to the point that my being in the room upsets the baby more.

Right now, Saul is peacefully sleeping in his car carrier on the table next to me. He throws his arms above his head and makes little sounds and sticks his tongue in and out. He's so beautiful that I want to cry when I look at him. Right now, it's hard to imagine his fits. But I dread this evening when he will get fussy again. I try to tell myself that I am dealing with post-partum hormone adjustments and a very serious lack of sleep, and that I would be able to be much more patient otherwise. But I'm secretly afraid that I don't have the qualities necessary to be a good mother. If I get this upset over a helpless, crying baby, how will I handle a cranky toddler? Or a sarcastic teenager?

B tells me that I just have to be the person I need to be. But how do you change overnight? How can you magically gain qualities that you have always lacked?



My mom says that Saul's hair sticks up every which way because it's going to be curly. I say it's because he's on his way to becoming a crazy mad scientist.



So remember last week how I thought I would have more time once all our visitors went home and things calmed down? Um, was I crazy? So now I am the sole caretaker of Saul all day long. And all night long, since B is lacking the equipment to feed him. I had no idea that taking care of a baby was so time consuming. I'm not sure how someone who sleeps about 15 hours a day (except when he's on a 48-hour screaming marathon) can need so much attention.

So I really haven't had time to blog. Or do laundry. Or wash dishes. Or shower.

Although I did find time to dress him up like a member of Devo. You gotta have priorities.


All nighter

Both of us have been pretty much up for more than 24 hours. One of us is handling it much better than the other.


Sinking in

So the last of the relatives and visitors has gone home now and B has gone back to work. The initial excitement and disruption has passed and it's time to start re-ordering our lives around this new person. I feel like I'm a little out at sea. My adult life, previously nice and quiet and orderly, is gone. All my routines and habits no longer apply. I'm starting from scratch.

Before Saul was born, I worried that I wouldn't love him enough. So much is made of parental love that I wasn't sure I would be capable of it. When he was born, I had a brief, intense moment where I recognized him and knew instinctively that he was mine. But as soon as the nurses took him off my chest, it was gone. I spent the next few days being fascinated by him, but not really feeling anything. I didn't tell anyone, but I thought my fears were confirmed and I was not capable of being a parent and loving a baby like I was supposed to. But gradually, this incredibly intense bond began to grow. It's an entirely different feeling than the love I have for B or my parents or anyone else. It's this fiercely primitive protectiveness that makes me want to devote my entire life to making sure that he is happy and safe.

And I guess it's also what makes me not mind that he just vomited all over my shirt. Again.



Lady killer

Laura and Laney came for a visit today. It's so great knowing someone with a baby the same age. We can compare notes. We were both relieved to discover that ear hair is a normal phenomenon among newborns and so is projectile poop.

The babies are a little young for a play date, but Saul was very interested in finding out whether milk could be extracted from Laney's head. Either that he was getting his mack on. Hard to tell.


Poetry Thursday

Some Days

Some days I put the people in their places at the table,
bend their legs at the knees,
if they come with that feature,
and fix them into the tiny wooden chairs.

All afternoon they face one another,
the man in the brown suit,
the woman in the blue dress,
perfectly motionless, perfectly behaved.

But other days, I am the one
who is lifted up by the ribs,
then lowered into the dining room of a dollhouse
to sit with the others at the long table.

Very funny,
but how would you like it
if you never knew from one day to the next
if you were going to spend it

striding around like a vivid god,
your shoulders in the clouds,
or sitting down there amidst the wallpaper,
staring straight ahead with your little plastic face?

-Billy Collins


My little deranged elf

The cuteness, it's killing me.



Flubdub is what my grandpa calls Saul. Somehow it fits.

I promised myself that I would start posting something more than baby pictures, but I've been so busy with Saul and visitors and trying to get back to some semblance of a normal life, that I haven't managed much. I think things will start to calm down next week, though. In the meantime, everyone will just have to ooh and ahh over more baby pictures. Because he is the most adorable baby ever. Right? I know.


Just for the record

I'm glad Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize. I thought An Inconvenient Truth was an excellent movie. In fact, I was expecting it to be high on rhetoric and low on data, but I was wrong. There was insightful information, presented in an extremely striking and understandable way. Also, someone finally taught Al Gore to not sound like a robot. I think the movie should be required viewing for everyone.

By the way, did I ever talk about how I dreamed that Al Gore had publicly stated that he would not wear pants in his next movie (this was right after An Inconvenient Truth came out)? And that the dream was so real that I believed this was true and mentioned it to several people when his name was brought up? And that I continued believing it until B ridiculed me enough that I went and Googled it? And that there are quite interesting results to a Google search for "Al Gore no pants"? Ok, never mind.


Tell us how you really feel

The bath, I don't think he liked it.

Poetry Thursday

I am loving the Billy Collins these days. My sister bought me Sailing Alone Around the Room for my birthday, and I've been reading it while nursing Saul. Funny thing about that - I thought I wouldn't have time for reading after he was born, but I didn't count on the incredible tedium of nursing a baby for 30-45 minutes at a time every 1-2 hours.

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius.

-Billy Collins



We lost Saul's umbilical cord stump today. And I don't just mean it fell off. I mean it fell off and we lost it. I went to change his diaper awhile ago and noticed that it wasn't there. I am totally freaked out now that there is a little, rotting piece of umbilical cord somewhere between the couch cushions, or under the bed, or even worse, in a dog's belly. Yuck.

On the brighter side, that means we are now cleared for tub baths. Look for wet baby pictures soon.


Aunt Becky

Saul is so adored by so many people. I don't think he's spent more than 10 minutes in his bassinet since we brought him home. Even when he's bawling, someone always wants to hold him.

Daily Saul? Weekly Saul?

I'm having trouble finding time to post...who would've guessed?

My grandparents are visiting right now. It is so amazing to watch them with their great grandson.


Daily Saul

The inevitable nekkid baby pictures. I don't care what anyone says, that's a real smile.


Daily Saul

No matter how many people are in the room, a yawn makes everyone stop and say "awww!"

Poetry Thursday

To A Child

The leaves talked in the twilight, dear;
Hearken the tale they told:
How in some far-off place and year,
Before the world grew old,

I was a dreaming forest tree,
You were a wild, sweet bird
Who sheltered at the heart of me
Because the north wind stirred;

How, when the chiding gale was still,
When peace fell soft on fear,
You stayed one golden hour to fill
My dream with singing, dear.

To-night the self-same songs are sung
The first green forest heard;
My heart and the gray world grow young—
To shelter you, my bird.

-Sophie Jewett

The saga of the cigarette

I quit smoking almost three years ago. I have had occasional cravings, but mostly I didn't think about it. When I first got pregnant, I started having daily cravings. I never acted on them, of course, but I joked with everyone that I was going to pack a single cigarette in my hospital bag to get it out of my system as soon as the baby was born.

A few weeks ago, a friend from work presented me with a large matchbox that contained one cigarette, a single match, and a Starbucks gift card (a vice box - she got Laura a big bottle of wine). She said that way I wouldn't have to buy an entire pack and be tempted to smoke more.

I saved the cigarette and finally decided to smoke it yesterday. I handed Saul over to B and went out on the porch. The friend had wrapped the cigarette in saran wrap so that it would stay fresh. I spent about 20 minutes trying to unwrap it. In tearing the last piece of plastic away, I also tore the cigarette in half. There was now only about an inch left on the filter.

Oh well, I thought, I probably wouldn't have smoked the whole thing anyway. I lit the match and as I brought it to the small piece of cigarette in my lips, it went out.

I don't own cigarette lighters anymore, and I don't keep matches around the house. I considered lighting it on the gas stove, but finally decided I shouldn't fight fate.

Maybe next time I have a baby I'll try it again.



Is this blog going to degenerate into nothing but baby pictures? Very possibly.

Where did it come from?

I know it will probably fall out, but right now I'm in love with his silky dark hair. J said that nothing smells as good as a baby's head, but she's wrong. The back of a baby's neck is an even better place to press your nose.

Living in Texas

We chose the name Saul for many reasons, but the fact that is was short and easy to spell and pronounce were among the top reasons. So we were not expecting so many people to read his name and call him Sah-oohl (like Raul).


Beautiful sunshine

Expect lots more gratuitous baby pictures in the near future...

Birth story

We were scheduled to be induced on Thursday morning. At about 1:30 that morning, I got up to use the bathroom and my water broke. I thought I would be panicky when something like that happened, but the first thing I thought was "I had better shave my legs." So I took a nice shower and got dressed and ready. I woke B up to tell him what happened and then told him to go back to sleep. He did. I don't think he even registered what I told him. I made some toast and apple juice and took it downstairs to surf the internet for awhile.

I was having a fine time when all of a sudden I had a contraction that hurt so bad it took my breath away. Then, 10 minutes later, I had another one. Then 6 minutes. Then five minutes. I had thought that the early part of labor would take hours and hours; I hadn't counted everything happening so quickly. By this time, it was about 3:00 am. I woke B, told him to get ready to go to the hospital, and then went to the bathroom. When I came out, B was calmly eating some cereal and reading a magazine. He thought I had just woken him up to get ready to go be induced!

I, not so calm now, explained that we needed to get to the hospital NOW. Luckily, there isn't much traffic at that hour of the morning, so it didn't take us very long. Remember how I didn't want an epidural? The first thing I said to the labor nurse was "can I have an epidural right now?" She said yes, but "right now" turned out to be a few hours later, after I had a bag of fluid pumped into me and some blood tests done.

Even with the epidural, contractions were pretty miserable. Saul's head was pressed up against my pelvic bone and I could feel bone on bone with every squeeze. At some point during the morning, my mom and my in-laws showed up to hang out in the room with us. The labor nurses estimated that I would be fully dilated and ready to push around 6:00 pm, so my in-laws went out to get some lunch and B ran home to pick up the things we had left in our rush to the hospital.

Sometime around 2:00 pm, I mentioned to the nurse that I was feeling an awful lot of pressure. She looked surprised, but checked and found that I was 10 cm and ready to push! When Saul decided to be born, he was in a hurry. I only pushed for about 45 minutes. But those 45 minutes were maybe the most intense of my entire life. I was so exhausted and in so much pain that I had forgotten all about the baby. I remember asking B over and over again "and when I finish, I can have a Sprite?" When he was finally born, the nurses had to tell me to open my eyes. When I did, there was a slippery, screaming baby on my chest. His blue eyes were looking straight at me and I somehow recognized him. I couldn't say or do anything, all I could do was look at him in awe.

B cut the cord and they took him to the corner to clean him up and weigh him. While that was going on, I delivered the placenta and got stitched up, but I didn't even notice. All I could do was watch the baby across the room.

The last few days have been somewhat of a blur. Everyone had told me to expect some hard days at first as my hormones came crashing down. But I have never been so happy in my entire life. I had no idea that anything was missing, but it feels like for the first time, my life is complete.