Letters to Holly

Friday, October 8


The clogs are gone. A visit with the doctor led to an all-clear diagnosis for infection and more home remedy notions. The local lactation expert was consulted, and one odd piece of advice arose from both sources: apply cabbage leaves.

Allegedly, the leaves will hold warmth and conform to the chest better than washcloths, making for a more efficient clog melter. By the time I got home, Your Sister was much better. I can vouch for the results: The mass is no more. Keebler is feeding normally again, and he drank from her all evening to keep the flow, um, flowing. So. Cabbage. Yes. She was also warned to not sleep on only one side at night.

Also, the nurses reminded us of the mandatory new-parent video session: A colicky baby can be left along in a room to cry it out. Before we left the hospital with our new roommate, we were given a TV and video with instructions that we weren't leaving until we watched it. It concerned PURPLE crying and how we should handle it. To break a cycle of frustration, the video commanded us to just walk away. Put the baby safely on his own and skedaddle and breathe.

If we can do it, that is. We did that very thing the first time he had a colic attack, and he went to sleep quicker than any time after when we ministered and cooed. But it tore up Your Sister. She literally had to clutch the couch to stay in the TV room. So maybe this is something we need to let him work out alone -- the first of assuredly thousands of such laissez-faire parenting decisions.

He was fine last night. He got plenty of feeding time with her instead of from a bottle, and colic stay away even when he did swig from a fridge batch. She ran low, as one might expect. He fought sleep again, and I plopped him in his bassinet and carried both to the nursery. After about ten minutes, he was out for the night. This is his new default night mode: seven hours of sleep. Huzzah.

Picture of the Day
The southern lights seen from the International Space Station.

Thursday, October 7

Backed Up

Your Sister is suffering clogged milk ducts, and it's no fun. She noticed yesterday that one side isn't emptying, and there's a significant mass there. I felt it. It's hard and delineates the gland structure. You can easily feel the threads branching out. She's sore and called for help to the local sources didn't provide much help. They said to soak and try to warm up that side enough for the milk to move. It's not working. As I type, she's headed to the doctor for relief. Tylenol and baths aren't doing it, and the breast pump and nursing are removing very little. I don't know how the docs will remove the excess, but I almost expect to find a bag of cheese curds when I get home. Your Mom is watching the deputy while she goes to the doctor.

Speaking of him, he had another colic burst last night. My Friend Esther suggest breaking up the gas with a rectal thermometer (like sticking your finger in a beer to kill the head), and it did seem to work a little. But it was still an extended attack, and we had to use sugar-water drops to settle him down. We ate that pot roast very, very late.

Before all this started, I ran my route. I clocked in between my last two times, and that's an improvement over my most recent post-work time.

Picture of the Day
Not everything has a magic button.

Wednesday, October 6

And I Quote: Baaah-Maaaa-Ruuu.

We are still learning the language of the deputy, and now he has become quasi-verbal. He's much more -- much more -- vocal, as if he's getting the hang of vocal cords and enjoys this new toy. It's a new plateau for him; he was a quiet child before, and now he's happy to keen like a tiny whale, whether or not anyone else is within earshot.

It's possible he's humming to quell the beginnings of teething. Last night's colic seemed different (and longer and louder), and I wonder if he finally collapsed into sleep heavy enough to cloud gum discomfort. He's not chewing on anything except his fingers and bib. Teething toys hold no interest. It's a little early to teethe, but ...

We cook turns carrying him, alternating cooing and backrubs to fight his gas build-up. The other would clean the dishes or start tonight';s pot roast. I hadn't made one before, but how can it fail? it has things I like to eat. The pot can't change the ingredients into yucky food, can it? Is crockery magic? Is that why the pot looks like a cauldron?

We ate very late after he finally achieved oblivion, and this happened only after I banished him to his crib. He would nod off as we held him but crank up again once we set him down. By putting him on the opposite side of the house, I removed us from the equation, and he quieted quickly. He slept from 10 pm to 6 am. Victory.

Your Sister posed for reference pictures for a convention promotional piece, and I hope to dust off the drawing table this weekend.

Picture of the Day
I'm considering a banana costume for the race.

Monday, October 4

It's Brisk

I hate running at the end of a workday. I'm stiff from the desk chair and the commute. It rarely goes well. Thursday's run was painful immediately despite an extended stretching session. When I run in the morning, however, as I did Saturday, the run is much easier and faster. I beat Thursday's time by 40 seconds. Discounting any winds and pain reaction, that's a shocking advancement. I'd run before work if it weren't for the school traffic. My run routes are smack in the bus, bike, pedestrian, and car traffic, and I run either in front or onto the school property. No es bueno.

Immediately after Saturday's run, Your Energetic Sister was determined to walk in the forest, and I changed into less sweaty clothes and girded the deputy. The jogging stroller works great on the path -- the same you and she walked a few weeks back -- and he slept through virtually all of it. We parked at Lowe's and crossed the road into the forest, and after the walk, we went into the store and looked at firepits. Our current one is kaput from this winter's snowfall.

We gobbled lunch and discovered in the restaurant parking lot that his diaper had leaked again. This was not the first in the last few days, suggesting he's outgrown that size. I had just bought a monstrous box of now too-small diapers, and I hope Target will trade me for the current size. He does seem a bit heftier lately, but his proportions are good. He's almost slender.

My Elton John ticket is bought, and I'll be just fine seeing him on my own. He was my first concert 22 years ago. He was scheduled to play Charlotte the night after Hurricane Hugo hit, but the city was dinged up enough that the show was pushed back a few months. I cannot remember a time when he was not on the radio, AM or FM. I always dug his music, particularly for the background harmonies I consider the best in pop music. They're not far from the Beach Boys', but I do think they are superior. I've had various songs in my head since I first heard he was coming to town. I will only convince Your Sister that his songs are worthy if I sing them, and she's of course liking them only because she hears me warble.

As she took pics of the new deck, I trod upon it for the first time. It's solid. It should be finished well in advance of our annual pumpkin carving party.

We had a teacher buddy over Saturday night to watch the Blue-Ray of Star Trek, and we geeked out all night long.

It's officially fall, and the furnace was switched on. The deputy is now styling in long sleeves and a hoodie. It's green, and I've taken to calling him Keebler. He really is merely a scaffolding for nicknames.

Picture of the Day
Ready for their close-up.