Thursday, August 30, 2012


In East Boothbay today I was joking that the wholesome sea air, lack of graffiti, and absence of absurd fashion displays was beginning to make me nervous.

In 4 days, we head back to Brooklyn, with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it will be wonderful to sleep in our own bed and to have some time together as a nuclear family after so much socializing. As much as I love Maine, I am looking forward to being on our home turf again.

Axel, 2012

On the other hand, in a week, Will heads back to work after a month of paternity leave and I have to figure out how to keep this sometimes, er, melodramatic baby happy all day long on my own.

I think I have a handle on things. Mostly.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More on Maine

A few friends have asked me for my tips on places to stay in Maine and I am working on a post. In the mean time, I found a great collection of Maine images today on one of my favorite blogs, Honestly WTF. I've been meaning to check out Salt Water Farm for some time and now I have one more reason to. This trip, I've also been a huge fan of our local general store, The Walpole Barn.


Maine, 2012

Just a few scenes from the little BBQ we went to last night. I have good things to say about mosquito netting. Our neighbors were moving to Burma and gave us this mini car seat net, which works great on the stroller too. It makes us much more mobile up here!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Order

Maine, 2012

Yesterday my mom was asking me if having a baby was what I expected it to be. My answer was yes, though I would say I've learned a few things in the last several weeks...

I'm much more patient and relaxed than I thought I'd be, for one.

Aside from a few moments of "Aaaaargh!!!!" at 2 a.m. or when Axel is unexpectedly screechy and furious (just as I am trying to get something done) I feel like he has needs that I can meet. Although I have the normal new mother worries, I also feel like he is a tough little fellow and will be okay.

I don't think I'd have felt nearly so calm if I had had a baby at, say, 24, or without such a supportive husband. I feel very fortunate that when it's all just too much, I get to pass Axel to Will and say "You have the conch!"

The fact that we are both grown ups who are equally invested in this little boy makes things a million times easier. It sounds trite, but it helps that we are both looking after one another as well as the babe. When I think "But I've had the baby for four hours," I try to nip it in the bud and ask for a break instead of just stewing over it. It helps that when I look harried, Will reminds me to take some time for myself.

When things get tough in the middle of the night I try to remember all the endless stretches of time I had in my twenties doing exactly as I pleased. I am glad I became a mother at 33...and had plenty of time for plain old self-indulgence as I learned to be an adult with my ducks (somewhat) in a row. Without that decade to get to know myself really really well, I'd certainly feel a little pushed to the limits by all this responsibility.

The other lesson I'm learning is that I can't be too frustrated with the new reality of doing things in very small increments. It's kind of the ultimate living in the moment-ness. Completing tiny tasks...returning an email, or making a cup of tea, or taking a walk (all without the expectation of doing 500 other tasks afterwards) is a big adjustment. But I can actually see that it's good for me to sloooow down and just accept that this is how life is right now, and that's okay. It's a very yoga-ish mentality and that resonates with me.

Lastly, well, I think I am learning to stick to our philosophy of saying yes to pretty much everything we want to say yes to. That means the dinner out, the long road trip, the boat ride. Even if it seems ambitious and we have more gear in tow, saying yes makes this whole baby raising seem more like a seamless part of our lives. Meltdowns included.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Three Weeks Old

Axel, 2012

Well, we've had some highs and lows this week. Axel is getting much more interactive, which is lots of fun. He often looks like he's drunkenly conducting some imaginary orchestra and is increasingly bright eyed and bushy tailed.

On the other hand, all this awareness and expanded awake time seems to lead to overstimulation and fussiness (and very sleepless nights.) So we've had to expand on diversion tactics, whether it's the ugly vibrating chair or the extreme swaddle.

Bottom line: when the baby gods are happy, we are all happy.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Maine, 2012

In addition to all this baby business, this month we've been celebrating my mom's retirement to Maine. After some picture hanging, flower picking, and bar stocking, the new house is looking very handsome. I have been getting my organizational fix while Will's been very handy with the DIY. Just a few more days of unpacking and I think she will be happily settled in her stylish new digs.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Boat Trip

Maine, 2012

Yesterday Axel turned 16 days old. To mark the occasion, he took his first boat ride, across the Damariscotta River to Lobby's for dinner.

Last night the stars were just incredible and it was so cool seeing the phosphoresence as the boat's motor churned through the water. Am so glad we came up to Maine for these first few weeks as a family.


Maine, 2012

This morning we woke up very late (thanks to a sister-in-law watching the babe) and took a very long walk to the aggressively charming Island Grocery (otherwise known as the "Groc", because it used to have a rickety old sign that had lost the letters E-R-Y.)

As far as I can see the advantage of having a newborn is that you are forced to slow down and thus feel excessively pleased when you manage to accomplish one thing, like a good walk, in a day.

The advantage can sometimes feel like a disadvantage. If you fight the new, sluggish tempo of your days, you feel incredibly frustrated. If you go with it, it's actually kind of liberating. No running around trying to please everyone by saying yes to things you are on the fence about. Only the things you really want to do win out. For every overstuffed day you feel like the next day you get a hall pass to do very little.

I do think that after the mayhem of living in New York for eleven years, learning how to slow down is quite a revelation. So many new parents struggle with it, but I think it's a matter of perspective. Thank god we don't have to do All.The.Things!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

So So Hangry

Maine, Axel, 2012

Maine is almost cartoonishly lovely at the moment. Breezy, blue skies, the sound of the lapping water...and the dulcet tones of our screaming, hangry baby echoing across the Cove.

Just kidding. Sort of. Mostly, Axel is cartoonishly lovely as well. Except when he oversleeps and awakens to discover that he is ravenously, desperately hungry and we are clearly STARVING him.

Our pediatrician adheres to the "never wake a sleeping baby" maxim, but occasionally Axel gets so cozy and comfy sleeping that when he does wake up he wants to eat incessantly for hours on end. Which is lots of fun for his mama. He balls himself up, clenches every muscle in his tiny body, turns bright red, and belts it out for a while. By this point, he is so furious he can hardly find my nipple and it takes quite a while to get him to chill out and focus. It's both nerve-rattling and endearing all at once.

Yesterday was one of those nerve-rattling days. No matter how many people tell you that newborns have no set schedule or rhythm, it's hard not to read into every little thing and try to discern patterns. But just when you think, "Oh, he usually takes a 2 hour nap around our dinner time," all hell breaks loose and he decides to upend the pattern and stay awake fussing for 8 hours straight, leaving you totally confused and frazzled. So we are taking it one day at a time up here.

Fortunately today he has been much more mellow and allowed us to have a very relaxing day puttering around the coast for lunch with my mom and errands in Damariscotta.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Two Weeks Old

Axel, Maine, 2012

I can't believe it's been two weeks.

I think Will, Axel, and I are settling into life as a family of three. It's funny how normal and natural things feel so quickly. The sleep deprivation is obviously tough, but I do get a good 2-3 hour stretch now and then and that feels pretty luxurious.

Axel is definitely filling out and looking long and chubby-cheeked. He's still a little, little guy, but I can tell from how his clothing fits that he's growing, and quickly. His cousins are obsessed with him. Leo, who is two, calls him "Babynaxel." Every so often I hear my door nob turn and some combination of little people are panting in the entryway looking for the bambino.

Today we have big plans for a long walk around the island, a nap, and bed by 9:30!

In other news, I had my first batch of oysters in ten months yesterday and they were fantastic.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Clothes Horse

Maine, 2012

Clearly this boy is not going to go naked. This afternoon, my sisters-in-law helped organize all the hand me down baby clothes they brought over for Axel. As the youngest (so far) of 8 first cousins, Axel is now swimming in handome attire. We have a huge bag of 0-3 month clothing to take home with us in September, and 2 ginormous bags of 6-12 month things up in the attic to pick up at Thanksgiving. He's still a bit small for anything but his Carter's newborn onesies, but there is a lot of cute stuff coming his way soon.

Feeling very spoiled up here!

First Summer in Maine

Axel, Maine, 2012

We arrived safely in Maine on Thursday night to a lot of fanfare (picture 6 children under the age of 8 clamoring to hold/touch/arm wrestle the baby!) We figure he will have a very robust immune system after this trip.

We've had a few very loong nights since we got here but the extra help from all his aunts and uncles has been invaluable during the daytime. Lots of baby experts around to hold him while I eat breakfast, or check email, or take a shower. And tons of fabulous meals I haven't done a thing to help prepare, which feels like the ultimate luxury.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Axel, 2012

Our two days of road tripping it went pretty smoothly. Axel slept in the car for both legs of the trip and we enjoyed our overnight in Boston. He met his 7 week-old cousin Charles (you can see they got along swimmingly.)

He also took his first bath. I got into the tub and Will handed Axel to me and he was instantly blissed out by the warm water...he obviously takes after his mother. Afterwards, he got a full body massage with coconut oil and has been smelling delicious ever since.

When we got to Maine, in the midst of an epic downpour, he was a little overstimulated from meeting all of his extended family, but by 1 a..m he had settled down to sleep. I am toasting the fact that the three of us made it in one piece with Advil and coffee. Looking out at the ocean as I type!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

7 Pounds

Axel, 2012

Well, we took Axel off for his second check up this morning. He's gained an astounding 14 ounces since we left the hospital and is now 7 pounds even. That explains his Jaws-style night feedings, I suppose! So he's regained the weight he lost immediately after birth and has now surpassed his birth weight. This makes me feel much better about all the cluster feeds and taking him on his first vacation.

Will and I celebrated with coffee at Blue Bottle and are now busily packing up the car for our epic, Griswold-style road trip. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Close Up

Axel, 2012

This morning, we had a visit from portrait photographer Jami Saunders, who took some pictures of Axel and the three of us. This shot above is from my dinky camera so her images will be much better, but I couldn't resist a sneak preview. He was an excellent model and I can't wait to show off the final pictures. I've worked with Jami on magazine shoots in the past and she's fabulous.

Since I am usually the one behind the camera, it was also great to get some of the two of us. In anticipation of this morning I actually managed to get a manicure and put on some makeup and jewelry. Amazing.

Axel, 2012

Other than that, today we are going to have BLTs for lunch and then get down to packing up our family caravan for the ride north. The little one has been practicing his smiles.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Maine-ward Bound


On Wednesday we are decamping to Maine for the rest of the summer. Before Axel was born, it was really tough to anticipate how I'd be feeling and what the logistics of a road trip might look like. Now that he's here, we're feeling confident. Our plan is to break up the trip in Boston, where we'll stay with Will's cousins and introduce our little guy to his brand new second cousin, born in late June.

On Thursday, we'll drive the rest of the way up the coast to see my mom and Will's extended clan. Axel will be meeting 3 grandparents, 3 aunts, 3 uncles, 7 first cousins, and dozens of family friends over the course of the next three weeks.

Meanwhile, I'm really glad we had this quiet time at home in the very beginning without any overnight guests. Initially it was a little daunting, but the great thing about doing it on our own, without any family, is that now we're not intimidated by being solo with him. In fact, Will left for three hours this morning to get our car tuned up and Axel and I had a mellow morning together.

I'm looking forward to walks with the stroller in the fresh pine-y air, Axel's first glimpses of the ocean, and sleeping to the sound of real waves rather than the Sleep Sheep. It's bound to get a little hectic with so many people around, but the good news is that I can always retreat to our room if I need a bonding fix. Am also looking forward to my first dark & stormy of the season.

Now we just have to figure out how to get all of this baby's gear into the car!

One Week Old

Axel, 2012

Can't believe he's so OLD! I feel like we've had such an action packed first week together. On Thursday, Axel's umbilical cord fell off, which was exciting, except that it made me think, gah! He's nearly off to college.

I coped with that nutty thought by booking a newborn photographer for tomorrow morning so that we can capture him, and us, before he becomes a giant.

Other than that, I think we are getting into the swing of things. Last night we went out for a lovely dinner at Betto and a walk down to the waterfront. Amazing that our last walks down there were when I was in labor. He's been letting me sleep in 2-3 hour stretches at night, and I have pretty much cracked the breastfeeding thing.

The first few days home were really frustrating on the breastfeeding front, especially in the wee hours of the night when I was exhausted. I think my technique was a little wobbly and I just couldn't quite accept that a newborn needed to eat quite so often.

Until he was weighed at the doctor's, I was convinced that he wasn't getting enough milk and that was the root of his nighttime freakouts. Turns out that's not the case. He's eating just fine, and latching properly. He is just THAT hungry. Getting a lactation consultant and going to the breastfeeding support group at Caribou Baby helped a lot. For me it's a matter of confidence and going with the flow. I threw out those charts that tell you to track when the baby eats and stopped writing down feedings. Turns out Axel tells me when he needs to eat and that all that paperwork only serves to stress me out. If I'm not thinking, "But you only ate an hour ago," I am much more relaxed and so is he.

Will and I have been trying to strike a balance between getting out and about and getting naps when we need them. I had a ton of energy when I came home from the hospital and couldn't quite still my mind enough to sleep. But I'm gradually figuring out how to do it when I need to and also how to set boundaries and say no to visitors when I just can't keep my eyes open.

We've gone out for lunch a couple of times and on our usual errands. It makes me so, so grateful to live in Brooklyn, where there's so much to do in a 4 block radius, and the knowledge that if he does have a meltdown, we are about 3 minutes from home at any given point. In appreciation of our neighborhood, I updated the Williamsburg Baby Resources page. More to come as we go! I feel like our decision to raise kids in the city was 100% the right one.

I'm also recovering fairly well too. A few more reruns of Breaking Bad on the sofa and I should be back to my usual self.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...