Thursday, June 30, 2011

Baby Products

This post has been stewing in my mind for a few weeks, so I'm finally sitting down to write it. I thought I'd mention a few baby products that are a little out of the mainstream that I found and have loved. These are mostly things that I had to do a little research to discover, knowing that we would have specific and unique needs, both with coming to China and with living in a small apartment.

The Puj Tub: I was really excited to find this baby bathtub. It looked perfect both for small apartment living and for folding up and fitting in a suitcase. It's basically a flat piece of soft foam that snaps into a bathtub shape and fits into your bathroom sink. It has worked fantastically for Brax. He's getting close to being too big for it now--he looks a little scrunched when we put him in. But I think it will work until we get back home in a few weeks. I know we could have probably just bathed him in the sink, but that idea freaks me out a bit. The sink surface is so hard and cold! And we don't have a bathtub here in China, so it isn't an option to take him in a bath with us. When we do get back to the US, I'm hoping to transition straight so something that sits in our bathtub. I've heard it works well to get a Bumbo seat and suction it to the bathtub. We don't have much counter space in either the kitchen or the bathroom for a separate baby bathtub.

On the subject of bathtubs--anyone have any other good ideas for how to bathe the baby while traveling? We'll be flying to visit my parents and some friends in August, and I think Brax will be too big for the Puj Tub. Do I just use the sinks wherever we are? Or take baths with him? He'll be a little over 4 months old at that point.

My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow and Travel Nursing Pillow: For some reason, the Boppy has gained more popularity than this (awkwardly named but totally awesome) nursing pillow. Fortunately, I had a couple of friends who told me when I was pregnant that the My Brest Friend was far superior to the Boppy, so that's what I registered for. And then my sister-in-law was thoughtful enough to buy me the inflatable travel version, which has been a lifesaver. There's no way the non-inflatable one would have fit in our suitcases.

First of all, if you breastfeed, you spend LOTS of time doing it. If you're sitting in a weird position or straining your back, you're going to feel the effects. Or if you  have to hold your baby the whole time and don't have your hands free, you're going to get very bored. It's so worth it to make breastfeeding a comfortable and enjoyable experience! Even though I do it six times a day for 20-30 minutes each time (and that's less than it was at the beginning), I still look forward to it. And I have gotten so much reading done because I can breastfeed with my hands free!

Many women seem to be happy just using pillows while nursing. I have tried this, both in the hospital and in the past few days when my inflatable pillow sprang a leak (it is now fixed with super glue--yay!). It is not comfortable for me. The baby just slides down into the crack between me and the pillows. And football hold, which is my favorite, is much harder.

Reasons why My Brest Friend is awesome:
1) It wraps around your body, giving you back support and a place to rest the baby's legs as he gets longer and you still want to do football hold. The Boppy does not wrap all the way around.
2) It has a clasp that you can tighten, so it stays close to your body and the baby doesn't slip into the crack between you and the pillow.
3) It's flat and firm on the top, which also helps keep the baby in place and not slipping off.
4) It has a little pocket that's perfect for storing nipple cream, gas drops, baby fingernail clippers, and anything else you might use frequently while feeding.

MaxiMom Baby Carrier:  What is it with these companies and their awkward names? Oh well. We have loved  this baby carrier. I picked it out because it seemed more versatile than other carriers out there and was a bit cheaper than the Ergo or Baby Bjorn. And it works for newborns without any special insert or anything. You can wear it on your front or back, with the baby facing in or out, or angled as a sling. You can also carry the baby laying down in it (we haven't tried this). And it works as a make-shift high chair, when we get to that point. It has good back support and has fit both me and Pete well. And it seems to be very high quality. Also, it's apparently the only carrier out there that could work for triplets (if you buy 3 baby harnesses). I'd like to see someone strong enough to carry three babies around for longer than 5 minutes!

Those are the main items. We have also loved the Summer Infant SwaddleMe swaddlers, our City Mini stroller, our Graco Travel Lite Pack n Play, and lots of other things--and some things we haven't needed that we thought we would , of course. But those are all more obvious. I will make one note about the swaddlers. I thought before we had a baby that special swaddlers were pointless--why couldn't you just use receiving blankets, or the Aden + Anais muslin swaddlers? I did register for a few of the SwaddleMes, though, and was given even more than I registered for. I'm so glad! We tried several times in the beginning to swaddle Brax in the muslin wraps, and there was no way those things were holding his arms in, no matter how tightly we wrapped! And any receiving blankets were just too hot for the summer. Maybe some babies would stay in the muslin wraps, but it's hard to imagine.

One last note--you can never have too many burp cloths. And I prefer using the thin white squares sold as cloth diapers than the fancy flannel ones.


In other news, Pete and I are going out on a hot date tonight to celebrate our fifth (!!!) anniversary. Our actual anniversary is next Friday, but our babysitting resources are limited here. The only family we felt like we knew well (they used to live near us in California and went to our church) enough to ask to babysit was only available tonight. So we'll be dropping Brax off at their place with a bottle and a Pack n Play and going out to a shwanky restaurant for dinner. Brax has been a bit off from his usual sunny self this week and having trouble going down to sleep at night, so we're crossing our fingers that he's sweet for them!

We actually spent our first anniversary in China, and now we're spending our fifth here. Pretty cool! I think we had always imagined we'd do something more grandiose for the fifth, not knowing that we would have a very young baby at this point. But we're thrilled to actually get a night out sans baby!

Friday, June 24, 2011

11 weeks

This has been one of the nicest weeks so far in Brax's life--at least for me. We had a bit of a breakthrough with naps, he's been sleeping over 8 hours most nights, and he's been happy, alert, and interactive when awake. What more could I ask for in an 11-week-old?

Night Sleep
...has been terrific. My baby is sleeping through the night by anyone's definition. He goes to bed around 7:30ish (whenever he looks tired enough) and is usually asleep within 15 minutes. He does protest a bit if we put him down before he's really tired, but he still goes with it eventually. Then I get him up at 9:45 to feed again and put him straight back down (he's pretty much asleep by the end of that feed anyway). We've often heard some peeps at around 6am, but he quiets back down and either falls back asleep or lays in bed contentedly (I don't know which since I can't see him) until I go get him at 7. And then he's super happy and interactive in the mornings.

Like I said, we had a breakthrough with naps this week that also had a big effect on the night sleep. On Monday and Tuesday, he started waking early from naps again. I was frustrated and confused. It seemed like every time he started to become more consistent, he would start waking early again. Then I wouldn't know if I should feed him or should wait until the normal feed time, and he would be tired too early for the next nap, so it was just a vicious cycle. It was stressing me out, mostly because I felt like I was doing something wrong. Other Babywise moms all seemed to be able to get these nice, predictable schedules at this point. But I didn't want to risk not feeding him if he was waking out of hunger.

He helped me out on Tuesday morning, though. I decided to feed him whenever he woke up for a day and see if the problem corrected itself. However, after waking early from his first nap, he was clearly not interested in eating, which is extremely rare for him. He ate for a few minutes then just kept stopping and pulling off. So I knew for sure that the early waking was not a hunger issue. After that, I decided to give cry-it-out a go when he woke up early.

Other Babywise moms are hesitant to do cry-it-out when babies wake early from naps. They'll do it before naps but not mid-nap, especially this young. However, my gut was telling me that cry-it-out was what Brax needed. It seems confusing that I wouldn't rescue him when he cried before naps but would after--how was he supposed to figure out a pattern? And he was waking consistently after 45 minutes, which is when babies go through a sleep transition. So I realized he needed to learn to self-soothe and put himself back to sleep. If we had our swing here, I probably would have picked him up and put him in the swing to finish his naps. But we don't, and every time I've tried rocking him back to sleep, it doesn't work (he often just gets more angry).

So Pete and I determined to give CIO at least a week. And it was magic! Though he woke up early for the next nap and cried for a while, he actually went back to sleep on his own! After that, the mid-nap crying has diminished greatly. Though he still wakes up early pretty often, he just yells a bit for a while and then gets quiet and is often back to sleep by the time I get him for the next feeding. So we have predictability in our days, which has enabled me to relax and enjoy him so much more, since I'm not always worrying about having to go rescue him earlier than I expected.

I think this is also what made things click with the night sleep and morning wake times. He was consistently waking at 6, which was still over 7 hours sleep, so pretty good. I was planning to slowly extend things to 7, which seemed a much nicer wake time for me. However, the day after we started CIO mid-nap, I heard him make some noise at 6. I decided to wait a little while and see if he would go back to sleep. And he did, within about 5 minutes! I was stunned. He and I both slept straight until 7, when I went to get him so we could start our day.

Now I actually feel much more confident that I will know when he's going through a growth spurt, because I think the early waking and crying will be different than the light, on-and-off fussing he does at times now.

We took Brax out for a "late" evening for this first time this week. It helped so much to have a more predictable schedule in place so we could plan our evening a bit. A family I know from before invited us to their apartment for dinner last night, starting at 7. He actually woke early from his last nap anyway (the last nap is definitely the worst for him--I'm thinking it needs to be quite a bit shorter than the others), so we transferred him to the sling to take him over. I brought a bottle and planned to feed when we got there. Our friend offered to feed him so I could eat, so I let her do that. But he seemed so content that she concluded he wasn't hungry. I knew that wasn't the case and that she just wasn't holding the bottle the way he was used to. But I let it go and let her play with him a while. We finally got her to try again (around 8--an hour and a half later than he normally eats and 4 hours after the last feeding), and he took it pretty well, though it took a while with lots of distractions. He was so happy and content the whole time, though--too interested in the new surroundings to be grumpy, I guess. We finally got him back in the sling to try to get him to sleep around 8:45, and that's when the overtiredness hit and he started fussing. So we left. He napped in the sling until I fed him at 9:45 and put him down. He did wake up at 5, and I decided he deserved some grace after the late night and fed him. He went back to sleep until 7 and seems back to normal today.

I'm so thankful we have a little guy who doesn't make a huge fuss when he mess with his routine every now and then. He's usually okay, we just have to accept that we may pay for it with a slightly fussier baby or less sleep at night if we go out late in the day. So the outing needs to be worth it, and we need to accept those consequences without blaming Brax!

Growth and Development
Brax is enjoying tummy time more and especially likes it laying on my chest with his mirror close by to look at. He's grasping his toys more often--still on accident, I think, but he's working so hard to figure it all out! He's starting squealing quite a bit this week, along with making lots of other noises. But he only talks if he's looking straight at a face, or sometimes to the toys in his gym. Otherwise, he stays pretty quiet and observant of the world around him. I put him on the bed one morning to watch me while I exercised, and he seemed pretty fascinated. He kept kicking his legs like he was trying to imitate me...but that may be just me being overly aspirational :).

I'll stop there. I just wanted to put out a quick disclaimer before ending. I may come across as being a super confident mom in these posts. I'm not always! I definitely think that following a routine has helped me gain lots of confidence and get to know my baby and his needs better. But I'm someone who thrives on routine, so I knew I needed that to be a happy mommy. And Brax must take after me, because he's responded to the routine better than I could have hoped. But I've had many moments of confusion and frustration. It's very good for me and reminds me that the routine is truly not my end goal at all. And that all stages will change into something different at some point!

Okay, enough said. Time to eat and head to Walmart. That is, Wa er ma.

Oh, and wish me luck--or pray for me if you do that--this week. Pete's headed to Shanghai from Sunday through Wednesday, so I'll be trying my hand at being a single mom. I probably won't get out of the apartment much. At least we just got a vpn, so I may be able to watch some movies online if I'm lucky. And I think Brax will be sleeping in my room for a few nights to keep me company!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

To Break Up the Monotony

We just finally got a VPN working--only a month before we head home. Oh well. So I thought I'd break up the monotony of the weekly updates with a few pictures of my little man.

He's starting to enjoy tummy time a little bit more!

And now for the smiles...

Friday, June 17, 2011

10 Weeks

My little xiaohair is 10 weeks old! 10 weeks sounds old to me, for some reason. The first half of this week was a little off, but the second half of this week has been great. His off-ness actually helped us accidentally happen onto a new evening schedule that has extended his night sleep. Now I can sometimes get just enough sleep between his dreamfeed and when he wakes up in the morning! With no interruptions! Yippee!

Night Sleep
We'll start off here since I was just talking about it. At the beginning of this week, our routine was to feed him around 7pm, do a bedtime routine (reading a book, singing Amazing Grace), and putting him to bed. Then we would go to bed around 9:30, and I would set my alarm and wake up at 11 to do his dreamfeed. That was painful--waking up about an hour after I've gone to sleep. And it kind of defeats the point of a dreamfeed. Anyway, he was generally waking up hungry between 4:30 and 7am. If it was after 6, I would treat it as his first morning feed and let him be awake afterwards. But it was more often before 6, so I would feed from one side, then put him back down and hope he went back to sleep, then wake him by 7:30 for the first morning feed.

He seemed to be having trouble extending that night sleep much longer than 6 hours, even though I felt like he could go longer without eating. However, this past Tuesday was one of his wake-early-from-naps days. I decided to go with it and feed him when he woke up and see if it was a mini growth spurt. This meant that everything got moved up through the day, and his evening feeding took place at 6. We put him down for bed, and I was planning to let him sleep until 11. But he woke up around 9:30--very uncharacteristic of him. He had worked his right arm out of his swaddle (another recurring theme this week). I went ahead and fed him again and put him back down, and we went to bed. Next thing we know, it's 6am and he's just waking up! I had always heard that moving bedtime earlier can extend night sleep, but you never believe it will work for you. But I can go with that! So we've kept that schedule. He still wakes up before 6 sometimes, and I treat it as a night feed, then wake him back up shortly after 7 to eat again. I then bump his schedule up through the day so that his last feed is around 6pm and he's going to bed by 7, then I dreamfeed around 9:45, and we go to bed and hope for a good night!

Day Sleep
Naps have gotten better by the end of this week, but I've just accepted that they are rarely going to be perfect. Waking early happens at least once most days, and he still often needs to fuss a bit before falling asleep. No big deal.

One sleep issue we've started having this week is with the swaddle. If he wakes early from a nap or in the middle of the night, the most common culprit is a right arm that has worked itself free and then startled him (I'm guessing). I really don't think he's ready to drop the swaddle, though. He's definitely gaining more control over his arms and hands, but they're still jerky at times, and he still has the startle reflex. We use the Summer Infant SwaddleMes. We have aden + anais muslin blankets, but keeping him swaddled in those is hopeless. So, we've started putting him in one SwaddleMe and then wrapping the top part of a second one around his upper body. If we do this tightly enough, it seems to hold for now. The other issue is that he's getting close to being too long for our swaddles, and I'm not sure where I would go about getting bigger ones while here. I'm hoping we can make it with this size and not have to buy new ones before we can wean off the swaddle. (We do also have one Halo Sleepsack with the swaddle wrap, but he's even managed to work his arm through the arm hole and out of that one. It would probably work if I pinned the arm holes shut.)

Growth and Development
Braxon has discovered his voice this week and become quite the talker! It's really fun--we can carry on nice conversations with him :). It seems like he makes a new sound (and facial expression to go along with it) every day. He sometimes lays in his bed cooing for a while before falling asleep, which makes me think he's exploring his voice and enjoying it. Like I said earlier, his hand and arm control is coming along nicely. He absolutely loves his activity gym and could lay batting the toys--and now grabbing them and pulling them and talking to them--for a long time. I give him independent play time in the gym most days while I sit far enough away that he doesn't know I'm there. 

Nursing is still going great, not too many changes other than the schedule. I had a nice adventure trying to get a new breastpump. Like I mentioned last week, I had a major brain fart and plugged my Medela Pump-In-Style straight into the wall without a voltage converter. Stupid. It popped and is basically useless now. At least I didn't pay for it--someone gave me a hand-me-down. I managed to find a baby store here in BJ that had a nice website in English and sold Medela pumps. They were way more expensive than in the US, though. So I decided to go with the cheapest one--a manual pump--to tide me over until I make it back home. It was still $50, and the same one on Amazon was only $30. Ah well. I hated the caged feeling of not being able to pump at all. Like many stores here, they do free delivery. So I ordered my pump online and a delivery guy arrived the next day at my door! I can't complain about that part. I've actually been surprised with how well the manual has worked. I get about the same amount as I did with the electric--about 2 oz on a good day (since I pump between feeds, I don't get much more than that and don't want to compromise how much I have for Brax's next feed). And it doesn't take that much longer, since I usually had to sit there squeezing my boobs one at a time to get enough out with the electric anyway.

We did our first evening outing with Brax in a while last night. Another American professor and his wife had us over for an early dinner, and we brought Brax. He was really fun and interactive while we were there, which was fun for them. He was awake for almost 2 hours straight, though, with lots of stimulation. I could tell he was approaching the edge around 7. We started to leave around 7:15 and put him in the carrier. He fell asleep right away in that, but then we had to transfer him to his bed when we got home. He was not happy about being woken so soon and cried loudly for about 20 minutes. Pete finally went in and rocked him to sleep. Evening outings are hard.

I thought I'd put in a few words about myself. I have been super lucky with postpartum recovery. I did have tearing and lots of stitches (honestly, have you ever heard of anyone who didn't have any tearing? I think that's a false hope we cling to while pregnant. The OB who delivered me even remarked on how roomy and stretchy my vagina was, which I could attribute to the faithful perineal massages and kegels I did. And my baby had a nice small head. But I still couldn't avoid the tearing). That area was painful, uncomfortable, and bleeding on and off until about 7 weeks PP. But the rest of my body recovered fast. I fit in my pre-pregnancy jeans within the first week after delivery. My goal was to stay about 5 pounds heavier than pre-pregnancy for at least a few months, but I haven't been able to manage that here in China. It's hard to eat enough, I guess, and I do a lot more walking and bike riding on a very heavy bike. And I have been doing yoga and other aerobics to get my core strength back and ease the sore back. So I'm back to pre-preg weight, and I'm pretty sure my boobs are at least 5 pounds heavier. I'm hoping I can gain a little back when we get home. I really want to start cycling on my own after weaning, at least, and not return to the HA realm. But I feel great. My biggest complaint is the size F boobs, which mean I still can't fit into a lot of my shirts without looking like a porn star, especially here in China where women tend to be...much less well-endowed. Since I plan to keep breastfeeding until around a year or so, I guess I'm going to have to live with them for a while.

To what do I attribute the easy postpartum recovery--other than luck and breastfeeding, which burns an amazing amount of calories? I think the biggest factor was probably that I kept exercising throughout my pregnancy. And I didn't walk, which is supposedly one of the best prenatal exercises. I did dorky prenatal exercise videos and yoga at home. The advantage of these is that they work your whole body--especially core, back, legs, etc. I really think muscle strengthening exercises help a ton during pregnancy. I never had lower back pain and only had upper back pain at the very end, when everything hurt. And then my body was ready to bounce back quickly. Not that I felt like I was in good shape the first few times I exercised post-partum (I started light yoga about 10 days after delivery and tried jogging within 2 1/2 weeks. I don't recommend that to everyone--I may have been pushing it a bit). I worked up slowly. The sore back I had at the end of every day, after toting a growing baby around all day, was good motivation.

I also only gained 26 pounds through the pregnancy. I didn't feel like I had to eat much more than usual to gain the textbook pound a week after the first tri. And my biggest pregnancy irritation was constant gas pain, which definitely dampened my hunger. But the big take-away: if it's not too risky in your situation, exercise while you're pregnant, and focus on appropriate muscle toning more than cardio. By the end of your pregnancy, walking up a flight of steps will be plenty of cardio on its own! Other than that, I think a lot of how your body reacts to pregnancy is kind of random and not in your control. I expected things to be much harder than they were postpartum. But I had prayed a lot about it while pregnant, with the trip to China and everything, and God has been gracious.

I think that's long enough. We're going for a nice massage later this afternoon to celebrate Father's Day. 80 kuai--about $12--for an hour-long full-body massage! And that's at a more expensive and thus reputable establishment. I'm sure it could be cheaper if we didn't care whether or not the massage parlor would be willing service us--namely, Pete--in other ways.

Monday, June 13, 2011

9 Weeks

This is my summary of Brax's ninth week of life (from 8 to 9 weeks old), which technically ended on Saturday. Woops. I will warn you that it is long and potentially boring :). Braxon turned 2 months old on Thursday--I can hardly believe it, though in some ways it has been a long 2 months (in a good way). I guess he's two-thirds of the way through with being a newborn, if you count the first 3 months as the newborn period.

Babywise calls the first 8 weeks the "stabilization period," so we are theoretically stabilized. Do I feel stabilized? Not really. We have our textbook, perfect-nap, happy days, and we have our crazy, unpredictable days. And we almost always have at least one weird nap each day. But the textbook days are more numerous than the crazy ones. And he's still rarely fussy for no reason, and definitely more often happy than upset.

Nighttime Sleep
Many people do Babywise for the simple promise that Babywise babies sleep through the night early on. This is not why we're doing BW, but we are definitely looking forward to when it happens. And happy about where we are. For the past week or so Brax has consistently slept over 6 hours in one stretch at night, after his 11pm dreamfeed. He even made it over 7 hours a few nights. This means that he has technically eliminated the middle-of-the-night feed. This is wonderful and in some ways totally astounding. In other ways, it presents a challenge, because it means he wakes up in the morning only an hour or two before my desired morning wake time of 7-7:30. I've tried both treating his wake-up time as the first feed of the day and treating it as a night feed and putting him right back to bed afterwards and then waking him at 7:30 to eat again. I'm not sure which works better, as he often doesn't go back to sleep after the 6-ish feeding. Time will tell...and maybe he'll start stretching that night sleep longer anyway.

Daytime naps are definitely much less consistent than night sleep, which I guess is normal. I think we've gotten pretty good at reading Brax's sleepy cues (usually several yawns in close succession) and getting him down, and he's pretty good at falling asleep on his own. Actually, he's a champ at falling asleep on his own. He cries or makes noises sometimes for a little while, but he always goes to sleep. The inconsistency comes when he wakes up. Some days I have to wake him to feed him within 3.5 hours of the last feed. Other days, he wakes up crying after only 30 minutes to an hour. Those are my less favorite days. I'm then left to figure out if he's hungry or just got roused during a sleep transition, and if I should feed him now or put him off. If he does it consistently for several naps in a row, I usually just go with it and feed him so we don't get our feed/wake/sleep thing too off-kilter and in case he's going through a growth spurt. He seems to have mini growth spurts about once a week if that's the case. I just always hope they're on days when I don't have to go to language tutoring so that I can flex with his schedule and not have to leave Pete to give him a bottle--especially now that I blew up my Medela Pump-in-Style and will be making do with a cheapo manual pump until we get back to the US. (I fault the so-called mommy brain. Why else would I suddenly forget to plug the pump into the voltage converter first?)

Braxon is still a champion eater. His pattern is about 10-15 minutes per side these days (around every 3 hours, on average). He stays awake easily while eating now, except for sometimes at the 11pm feed. He's also becoming more efficient, taking fewer pauses while eating than before. I  love hearing that satisfying suck-suck-swallow! I still haven't had any major boob issues other than a couple of plugged ducts in the first weeks :). No thrush or mastitis, though, thank God. I find I really enjoy breastfeeding. And it gives me lots of time to either read or practice my Chinese (using the amazing Pleco app on my Ipod Touch).

Growth and Development
I'm amazed at how much Brax is learning and changing every day! He became much more interested in our faces this week. I think he could stare at us and make faces back all day, which is super fun. I always feel very special when he lights up so much upon finding my face! He also started looking at  me more often while nursing which is pretty cute. He even smiles at me while sucking away sometimes, which of course distracts him from the task at hand. Speaking of hands, he is figuring them out more, as well. He often finds them and sucks on them a bit. And he loves batting his toys in his activity gym and occasionally (accidentally) grabbing them He still loves "standing" and is getting better at holding himself steady. He likes tummy time for about 2 minutes and then starts getting frustrated with it, even though he can hold his head pretty high I often put him on my chest for tummy time, which he likes okay, but then he starts pushing himself forward with his feet and then rams his head into my chin. He continues to grow physically pretty quickly--up to somewhere between 12.5 and 12.8 pounds at the end of this week (our scale is not the most accurate). Judging on the way his clothes fit, most of that must be going into length and not width on him.

Health Concerns
Praise God, the only issue we've faced so far (besides the occasionally gassiness and lots of spit-up) is heat rash. I can deal with that. I've found that daily baths and wiping his skin with baking soda (dissolved in water) clears it  up. He does still definitely favor turning his head to his right side and consequently has a flat spot on the back of his head since we can't get him to sleep with his head to the left. I emailed our pediatrician in CA and she said not to worry about it for now, and she'll check on it when we get back (when he'll be 3 months). Other than that, he has been amazingly healthy considering how dirty his environment is and how bad the air is here! And how his parents are not the most fastidious when it comes to germs (it's just too hard here).

We ventured out with Brax three times this week. I know that doesn't seem like much, but it's just much harder and more complicated to pull off here, and the air's so bad, that we usually go out one at a time. We've learned that the stroller is no good if we won't be moving the whole time and we want him to sleep, so he comes with us strapped to his dad's front in our baby carrier (we have the little-heard-of Maximom, which has a terrible name but is totally awesome and highly recommended if you are in the market for a carrier!). Pete just can't be still for too long. We've even taken him like that on a bike sometimes--so illegal in the US! He came to church with us on Sunday and slept great until I woke him to nurse near the end of the service (in a corner in the overflow room, not in the main auditorium). We went out to lunch with a couple of professors on Thursday, and he came a slept through the whole thing. Then we went to a clothing market on Saturday and brought him. He was a little fussier this time. We're not sure if he was hot or just tired of staring at Dad's chest We do flip him around sometimes to face out, though his neck muscles are only barely strong enough.  Wherever we go, we get tons of attention from the Chinese. They are not used to seeing white babies, let alone such young ones and being carried in a carrier. The women usually tell us what we're doing wrong (he should have shoes on, he shouldn't be out, he's cold, he should be horizontal, etc.) which Pete understands for the most part. We've learned that giving advice is a way of showing kindness in China, so we take the criticism in that spirit.

I think that's about it for this week. Stay tuned for the thrilling 10-week report in a few days! It's really amazing how important the minutiae of a baby's life becomes to a mom....

A Bloggy Change

I've been thinking a lot about this blog and its future, though it may seem like blogging is the furthest thing on my mind.* I want to keep blogging but find it hard to motivate myself or figure out what to write about without boring you all with gushing about my baby. At the same time, I've been trying to keep regular notes on what's going on with Brax each week, both so I can look back when going through this with my next child and for posterity's sake.

It dawned on me that perhaps I should try combining the two. Yes, this will mean that I will write about things that probably don't interest anyone who doesn't have a baby and may make those of you who want a baby sad or annoyed with how wrapped up in my son I may come across as being (whew, that was a poorly constructed sentence if I ever saw one!). But at least I'll be writing something. And since I'm implementing Babywise with my child and tend to do tons of reading and research in general on what's going on, maybe it will be informative for some. And perhaps those with experience may be able to occasionally shed some light on what's going on--or at least offer some perspective when I get particularly frustrated (like today, when he has refused to nap for longer than 45 minutes).

With all that said, I think this is going to require a blog name change, but I'm fresh out of ideas. Maybe I should name it something in Chinese. But all ideas from the peanut gallery are welcomed.

And I will reserve the right to include updates of the non-baby-obsessed variety. When the mood strikes and the internet isn't being too annoying.

So stay tuned for the upcoming belated 9-Week/2-Month update. You're on the edge of your seat, I can tell.

*Though I may not be blogging much and my commenting on your blogs has decreased, please know that I am still regularly reading. Google Reader is accessible here, but not Blogger. So I can read your blogs easily, but if you use Blogger, which most of you do, I have to go through a whole long rigamarole to get around the Great Firewall and comment on your blog. Something I often don't have the time or patience for.