Monday, April 28, 2008

The Backseat Pug 4

At about five weeks of age, Benjamin flashed me his first social smile. I remember the moment clearly. I had been up all night, and I was blearily trying to wrestle him out of his barf-covered onesie. Just as I was about to cry from frustration and exhaustion, Benjamin looked up at me, uttered a little "Ga," and flashed me a toothless, gummy smile. My heart absolutely melted.

Since then, the camera has practically been glued to my hand. I mean, the pics at the top of this post were taken at about six a.m. yesterday as I was changing a diaper. I don't even think I'd put on my own pants yet.

Benjamin had plenty to smile about, as it was a week of happy meetings in the Chan household. Last Thursday, my mom returned to LA after a month away. When she walked in the front door, she barely paused to nod hello to me before swooping up her precious grandbaby in a hail of kisses. A few days later, my dad flew in from China to meet Benjamin for the first time. Grandfather and grandson bonded immediately, not least because they had the same hair.

Where's Waldo? A quick flip through my pictures reveal a disturbing trend of favoritism for the new child in the house.

Unfortunately, not everyone shared in the joy. Oliver, usually the focus of family reunions (or at the least the recipient of ample hugs and ear-scratches), quietly watched from the sidelines. Vince did try to involve him in the festivities, but not in a way that he appreciated. To be fair, I don't think that pugs were ever meant to be ridden.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"They Don't Come With A Mute Button, Do They?"

...said my husband. That's gotta be the quote of the day.

To be fair, Benjamin has had a trying week, and it's only Wednesday. Yesterday, he had his blood drawn, which is never fun. Then today, he had his two-month checkup, which included vaccinations - five separate shots in his arms and thighs and one shot of liquid down his screaming, bawling gullet. At least the nurse was nice enough to plaster his boo-boos with racecar-themed bandages. Don't let that coy smile in the above picture fool you, though. Not one hour after I snapped that photo did Benjamin have a meltdown to end all meltdowns. I was at the mall attempting to eat lunch with friends when he suddenly remembered the morning's indignities and decided to get back at me. First he vomited all over himself and his blanket, and then he howled so loud that every head within a fifty foot radius whipped around to see what monster was beating her child.

On a happier note, Benjamin and I had a smashing time at Gymboree yesterday. Unfortunately, he decided to take nap as class was starting. Just as I was berating myself for wasting my husband's money, Benjamin smacked his lips, opened his eyes, and joined in the fun. There he is eyeing a beach ball and then giving Gymbo the Clown his best staredown.

I have to admit that the best part of Gymboree isn't what Benjamin gets out of it, though it is exciting to watch him respond to more and more during each class. The best part of Gymboree is the fact that I get a chance to meet other REAL, LIVE MOMS who are learning how to do this crazy Mommy thing, too! One such mom is Catherine, shown above with darling Lucy. Catherine and I bonded over our babies' love of infant massage and our mutual fear of mommy cliques at the park. Perhaps one day we'll bond over a toast at Benjamin and Lucy's wedding. Oh, wait... I may be getting a bit ahead of myself here. Let's wait for Benjamin to discover his own feet before hoping he discovers his love for Lucy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Benjamin's Blanket of Many Colors

Last week over lunch, my buds Lisa and Yvonne presented me with a most unexpected and delightful surprise: a beautiful baby blanket knit by members of the Friday Knitting Group. All I could do as I unwrapped the gift was intone over and over again, "Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God..." Valley Girl-esque reaction notwithstanding, this blanket was one of the sweetest gifts Benjamin received and will be one of the most treasured. Thank you, ladies!*

The blanket came in handy a few days later when, unfortunately, Benjamin had to check into the hospital for his second transfusion. The blanket was momentarily stripped away as Benjamin flashed the pediatrician Dr. Lloyd his baby goods and then tried to charm her with a cheeky smile. You naughty baby, you! You'll be happy to hear that Benjamin came through the transfusion with flying colors and managed to win the hearts of every nurse on the pediatric floor in the process.

*And by ladies, I mean Jocelyn, Cynthia, Nancy, Bernadette, Pinella, Jenny, Heidi, Johyne, Melinda, Lisa, and Yvonne!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Backseat Pug 3 and Postpartum Top Fives

The Backseat Pug vs. The Angry Tomato. The photo on the left was taken as Vince and I left for the hospital to have Benjamin.

The second question on everyone's lips (after "How is motherhood??? Isn't it GREAT????") is "How is Oliver doing?" I have to admit that he has been quite neglected. I didn't think it would happen, but Oliver has, indeed, taken a backseat to the Tiny Dictator. Hubby asked me the other day if I'd been paying attention to the Pug. I looked down at the spit-up and milk-stained sweats I'd been living in all week, gazed longingly at the shower that I hadn't used in two days, and quelled a rumble in my empty stomach that had yet to be fed although it was afternoon already and told him, "No, I haven't been paying attention to anyone." I have faith that in time, both Oliver and I will make a comeback though. He'll finally get another marathon walk around the neighborhood with me and I will finally get to brush my teeth for two days in a row!

I'm going to use my Hubby's pointed question about the state of Oliver's care to segue into the next part of this post.

Top Five Things Not to Say to Your Wife Right After Your Baby is Born
# 5. "Have you been paying attention to the dog?"
# 4. "Chinese food again?"
# 3. "I can't get the door right now... I have to beat this high score."
# 2. "My jeans feel tight right now."
# 1. "I've been averaging only five hours of sleep a night."

In the "Top Five" spirit, here are a few other Postpartum Top Fives for you...

Top Five Books
# 5. Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali
# 4. The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins
# 3. Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields
# 2. The Baby Book by Sears and Sears
# 1. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp

Top Five Postpartum Lifesavers
# 5. My Brest Friend - It allows me to nurse Benjamin and check emails (i.e. stay in touch with the real world) at the same time.
# 4. Glamourmom nursing tanks
# 3. Baby wraps and slings
# 2. The Pump Station

I can't emphasize that last one enough. As I touched on in a previous post, other moms (especially my own) are what have kept me from jumping out of my skin and off of my balcony on an almost daily basis.

Speaking of my previous post, Benjamin has decided to continue working on his dance moves. Instead of Fosse, he's taken up the Macarena.


Before I go, I want to quickly comment on that first Top Five List. To be completely fair, my husband has been the perfect partner through our postpartum odyssey. He's taken on nighttime baby-calming duties, taken my PPD meltdowns in stride, made it a point to tell me that I look like I never had a baby (good one, Vince!) and dutifully refused to work late since the baby was born. So I won't begrudge him the occasional foot-in-mouth comment, though I will draw the line at more than two consecutive hours of video game playing. But you know what they say about boys: They will be boys. And it is my fervent hope that my little boy will grow up to be just like his Dad.