November 30, 2006

In Which We All have Colds

So, we all have colds. Our house is a wash of wadded tissues and forgotten mugs of chamomile tea. Elliot is really doing the best of the three of us: he had a bit of a running nose last weekend, but that's over now. Periodically he coughs rather awfully, but it doesn't seem to both him much. Now that his nose isn't running I've stopped coming after him with mucus aspirator, and that's all he cares about. That mucus aspirator: he hates it.

But brandon and I, we are drooping. We're operating on low reserves anyway these days, and we're not doing very well at fighting off the viruses. And the sinus headache on top of the runny nose and the lack of sleep pretty much sucks. Oy. B and I agreed that it is sort of a shock to the system that we are both so sick and uncomfortable, and yet Elliot is still here. our lack of energy makes no difference to him! Nope! He's just as eager to hang out and eat and be taken care of as ever.

I mean, you know that going in, of course: you'll be a parent, and your infant will have needs that supercede your own need to crawl under a blanket feel sorry for yourself. But it's another one of those things that didn't evidently didn't really sink in, like the fact that babies really do eat 8-12 times a day, and really do poop all the time. I secretly believed I would never have to actually use a mucus aspirator, because how gross, right? But here we are.

knee deep in kleenex,

ps: the good news is that elliot has started to kick, awesomely! And he has some new toys designed for awesome kicking infants. He will sit and kick for minutes at a time! And while he does so, we blow our noses and pull the covers over our heads, which really does make you feel a lot better.

November 27, 2006

Elliot meets Juanna

Juanna and Elliot

About a week after great-grandad Wally passed from his world and beyond his ken, Elliot managed to meet his great-grandmother on the other side -- Launa's mother Juanna. 93 years old, she lives in Price, Utah, in her house there.

On Sarah's side of the tree, Elliot has three living great-grandparents. Norma, retired historian and lover of western movies, is Barb's mother. She lives in Lamoni, Iowa, where Sarah's parents also live. Both of Bob's parents -- Carl and Kay -- live in Independence, Missouri, about two hours south of Lamoni. Around Christmas, Elliot is going to meet all three of them for the first time.

Check our flickr site, where we've posted a passel of pictures from the last week, covering two continents, four generations, a funeral, and a major holiday.


November 25, 2006

Preliminary Update

We've been gone for oodles! What, with the transatlantic travel and the major holiday and all, we've just not been good correspondents; I'm not sure how we'll catch up on all the news of Elliot's adventures and developments.

We'll eventually fill in some details. Let me just start by saying: Elliot did not himself do the transatlantic travel. He was not allowed to go with Brandon to Grandad Wally's funeral. Why, you ask? Why was Elliot not allowed to take advantage of this chance to see the British relatives, gathered together? Well. Because Elliot, being not quite three months old, does not have a passport. So he can't go to England, no matter how little a threat he seems to pose to national security.* England has an open door immigration policy, but evidently it does not extend to undocumented infants! No, it doesn't.

SO. Brandon and the rest of the Harveys went to England, and Elliot and I stayed home. And friends, my three days at home as a single mom convinced me that I'm glad I don't usually have to be a single mom. It's a lot of work. It is very demoralizing to never have two hands free at once.

The pinacle of my single-mom adventuring, for sure, was last Monday when I had to take Elliot on his first airplane ride all by myself. Me and Elliot and twenty-three burp rags, braving the thick of holiday travel at O'Hare airport! It was very thrilling, especially since in the 45 minutes before we had to leave for the airport Elliot urped on himself, and I am not exagerating, EIGHT TIMES. He urped on me, on the couch, and on his diaper. He urped in the bathwater and he urped immediately upon being taken out of the bathwater. He urped everywhere, and also he peed all over the changing table on which, yes, he had also urped. But fortunately Peter came over to take me to the airport and save me by holding Elliot so I could at least clean the urp off myself before bolting for the door.

Anyway, mentioning Peter-the-rescuer leads me to say that really, I didn't have such an awful time as a single mom because all these great people came to help me out. Sarah and Ed and Matt came to entertain on Friday**, and Kati and Kelley came on Saturday to spend the night and watch the dvd'd first season of Felicity and DO MY LAUNDRY, and then obviously Peter came on Monday to take me to the airport and Ken picked me up at the airport and then Jenny and Jason bought me dinner in Salt Lake. And that is not even counting the folks (kate, katy) who offered to entertain in chicago and the nice people in the airport who helped Elliot and I get through security.

Obviously, then, there is much to be thankful for around here: anytime you find yourself referring to the "nice people" employed at O'Hare, you know the world is looking out for you. But I haven't yet told you the reason I am MOST THANKFUL OF ALL! Here it is, as a teaser for the rest of our thanksgiving update: on Thursday, following a delicious turkey dinner, Elliot slept for seven hours.


It was so miraculous I can't properly convey my feelings on the subject. So let's just say that we here in the Mesle/Harvey household are full to brimming of holiday cheer, and promise to write more soon.



*Jason thinks maybe we could have taken him afterall, with just a birth certificate? Does anyone know about this? Regardless, we're applying for the passport anyway just for future emergencies. The instructions say that Elliot has to get an official passport photo taken that must be sure to "include the baby's face." Okay.

**Brandon actually was still here that night, but S/E/M didn't know he would be here when they offered to come over, so they still get full single-mom-sitting credit.

November 14, 2006

Two month appointment results

Folks were asking about Elliot's two month appointment with the pediatrician. He weighed in on November 6th at 10 lb, 6 oz, which means he's still gaining more than an ounce a day -- almost an ounce and a half. I reckon we give him perhaps thirty ounces of milk a day (which amounts to a gallon every few days), so he incorporates about five percent of that into his own body. Consider -- he turns a twentieth part of his food into himself. A parlor game of ours is for me to point out some enlarged or altered part of his anatomy, and for Sarah to make the rejoinder that what I'm pointing to is, in fact, "made of milk". All that new hair he is growing? Made of milk. Scratchy fingernails that need to be cut again? Made of milk.

It kind of knocks me out (and seems to gross other people out) to try to think about what an ounce and half of baby's body actually looks like, and how much living *stuff* that is to create in 24 hours flat. Every 24 hours. That's a lot of petri dishes growing a lot of cells.

He has moved from the 10th percentile of weight up to the 22nd percentile, which impressed the doc because among other things it means (gather round, math people) that he has moved up one whole standard deviation. He is mounting a frontal assault on the south face of the bell curve.

I think he's about 22" long. And he is beginning to outgrow a few of his favorite newborn (0-3 month) clothes.

His eyelashes are darker and longer, long enough that they have begun to curve around and outwards.

The skin on his skull is thicker and more flesh-colored, less translucent, hiding more of the tracery of the veins on his head.

He can hold his head up and look around for almost as long as he wants, though eventually it will topple over, either because he gets worn out or because he gets ambitious and loses control.

He sleeps 3-5 hours at a stretch in the night. But we haven't developed a set bedtime. Sometimes we're all in by 9:30, sometimes it's 11.

After losing the birth hair from the top of his head, and having a stubbly scalp for a couple of weeks, he grew back a new crop of downy hair. It spirals around a point just to the left front of the middle of his head -- like a cartoon baby. It's getting long enough -- almost -- to be able to get messed up, or have bed-head.


November 13, 2006

Walter James Edward Harvey, b. 1912, d. 2006

Today my Grandad -- Peter's father -- is dead. He did not meet Elliot face to face, and they will never meet face to face. But among the gifts of Wally to Elliot, from across the ocean, can be found these four letters -- E, J, W, H -- and these two names -- Walter Harvey.


November 07, 2006

My Wish for Elliot's Two-Month Birthday...

...clearly, is for sweeping democratic gains in congress. In fact, I first crystallized my desire to have a baby immediately following the 2004 election when it became apparent to me that one of my social duties was to raise up new progressive voters. That's what the 2004 election taught me: that the intellectual left needs to procreate!

Of course, now that I have my proto-voter, I am for the most part too tired and distracted to think much about politics. And it's hard here in Illinois because the major races (governor, cook county board pres) are saddled with uninspiring candidates on both sides.

Still, this morning Brandon and I are exchanging intense glances, fitfully checking headlines, both of us hoping that today our country turns at least a small corner back towards the left. Elliot deserves at least a democratic house, eh? Surely that is a not too greedy a birthday wish.



ps: I have to confess what a party-line girl I am. Elliot has a lot of clothes with elephants on them, because I like elephants and because evidently elephants are the new fashion in boys clothing (that is, if you don't want footballs and trucks). But while I was up in the night nursing I was really really wishing that Elliot had some donkey infantwear for today. Surely they make such things? If anyone knows where to get some, let me know. And we are definitely in the market for "Barack in 08" onesies! Oh yes we are.

Update: that was easy!

Political Onesy

November 06, 2006

2 months old

It's been eight weeks already, and Elliot's moon -- the full moon that was up on the morning he was born -- has come and gone twice. This is what he looked like then, and what he looks like now, in the same outfit.

He was very small!

He is much less small!

New Noises

Elliot responds! More and more often.

He also, to answer a comment, does enjoy his tummy time. If he's in the right mood, he'll struggle with the burden of being facedown, completely uncoordinated, and larval for as long as ten minutes. He seems to really get sort of a kick out of it, treating it as a solemn project. (A project to do what exactly, it's not clear. But one day we'll find out.)

November 02, 2006

What Not to Do

What Not To Do

Sarah: "I have to say I am a little scared of plastic bags. But really, this fails to trigger my scaredness in any meaningful way. it looks like someone holding a theater mask in front of their face. And I'm certainly not scared of crawling babies in space helmets."