Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Monday, May 31, 2010

Update #2: Autobiographical (Episodic) Memory

A new board to work on autobiographical memory!  I switched it for the first time... a little late, but it was about the month I was shooting for.

This kid amazes me!!!  We took our time reviewing and discussing these pictures of Cameron reading and this is what he came up with!

I am a person who: 
• has a jiffy brain
• can read hard books even to late-in-the-year fourth graders
• works hard
• wants to learn new things all the time
• is able to do things by myself

Talk about evaluating reality and forming a solid foundation for self-esteem!  That last picture is him reading "The Brave Little Tailor" as one of his bedtime books.  He often reads for an hour or more, so this was a topic that provided for lots of examples of his progress from two day old infant where he couldn't even hold his head up to independent reader of "late-in-the-year fourth grader" books today.  I also included one of me reading more complicated books to him.  After finishing the full Harry Potter series and Black Beauty, we're reading through Little House on the Prairie  (the inclusion provided discussion about the books he could understand and how the reading difficulty has progressed, starting with listening).  I know it's going to get harder to come up with topics that progress like this, but hiking and reading boards have been awesome.  If I can hand him a photo album with boards from a year, that would be fabulous.  I'm still so in love with this idea!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Stuck! Get the Saw!

How about a funny story this week?  At least, funny in hindsight!

Saw him out.  That was my conclusion when my 2 1/2 year old appeared solidly stuck.  Now, to give myself credit, I paused before destroying his lovely, oak crib to consider.

He wasn't screaming, so he wasn't in pain yet.  (I'd just noticed the noises from the monitor didn't sound quite right.  Ha!)

I'd wiggled and jiggled his body every way I could think of without success.  The situation still looked the same as it had when I first entered: one toddler leg outside the crib, one toddler body inside the crib, firm crib slats maintaining this distressing separation.

He was likely to start swelling and getting upset soon despite my presentation of a no-big-deal tone.

If he'd already swelled too much and there was no other way to get him out, saw it was and... better sooner than later.

Get the saw and... I decided to see if the fresh perspective of my husband could come up with another solution.  As the phone rang, I thought OIL!  So, I headed for the kitchen while presenting the situation.  Aside from asserting that if my son got his leg through the crib slats he could certainly get it back out, my husband also seconded the oil idea.

This saga has a happy ending for both progeny and property!  Fully slicked, my son was released with no lasting damage.

So, I take from the experience:
1. Present the calm face and try to keep calm thinking.
2. Know a second opinion can help (especially in addressing spiraling thoughts).
3. Saws should really be a last resort in parenting!  :)

Beginning Jiu-Jitsu

My son's key love this week has been learning Jiu-Jitsu.  We got this video program where the parents are the kid's buddy and the techniques are learned together at home.  He is so thrilled with pinning us to the ground and we're excited about the confidence building potential for him.  We were also incredibly impressed with the basic parenting knowledge presented in the preliminary parent DVD... these guys know their stuff (the bully-proof program)! 

Other things to share:

This week's Objectivist Round Up.

Cute antics:
• after asking me about the time for a third time he commented, "I drive you up the wall a lot."  (I do so love the successes of the idiom dictionary!)
• instead of our usual list of to do items, he requested we think about the day using a "topic circle".  (It's a technique from the social group that tries to help the kids follow the topic of conversation by linking things logically.)
• when looking for the word distractions, he came up with "disturbons". (If I recall correctly, he got it eventually.)
• insisting again and again that Daddy "reply" the Jiu-Jistu clip.  (That would be "replay".)
• skipping in and out of our room this morning to announce, "It's 7:01.  It's 7:02.  It's 7:03..."  (The alarm goes off at seven, so he didn't wake us, but he made it clear that the snooze button wouldn't help!  :)  )

• introducing Flat Benjy ( to the frog pond in his bathroom (It didn't turn out to be as scary as it sounded: marbles, stones, and toilet paper in a tin.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Formspring Questions

Ooops, I didn't realize I needed to check Formspring to get the questions!  So, the idea here is that you can ask questions (potentially anonymously) and I get to pick if I answer or not.  I'll skip the one that was a pick up line, but I'll answer these two.  I'm pretty open to sharing and I agree with several of my fellow mom bloggers that these are easy post ideas :)

How/why did you choose to leave your nursing career in favor of a Mommy career?

I started working in high risk maternity right out of college.  Sometimes the conditions were near ICU intensity and many of the experienced nurses on the floor didn't think new grads belonged there.  My preceptor told me that was her opinion my first day on the hospital floor.  There is an expression in the field, "nurses eat their young".  That unit certainly fit the expression.  Many of the new grads left after six months or, at most, a year.  It was an absolutely brutal learning experience and I had all the signs of depression (not that I recognized it at the time, I just thought it was hard work to learn).   I loved the patients.  I loved that we were so often able to reach happy outcomes.  I realized early in my clinical rotations that caring for those with chronic illness was not for me and, even if they get sick, no mom stays pregnant forever!  So... I stuck it out and learned and earned a bit of respect from that cranky crew.  After three years, my husband and I decided we wanted to start a family (years of discussion) and that we wanted to do that on the west coast because he'd always wanted to live there.  So, we left Connecticut, separately.  

On my way driving cross country, I stopped in Las Vegas and received training to become a Legal Nurse Consultant.  I liked the idea of being able to work from home and use my nursing knowledge to quickly interpret a legal record for an attorney.  I also wanted to have a clinical job to keep up my skills, so I made an appointment with a home health nursing agency.  The day I accepted the job as a home health nurse, I had a positive pregnancy test.  Woo hoo, that was fast!  I liked home health nursing and meeting some true characters as patients, but I wasn't passionate about it.  Pursuing the legal nursing was a constant undercurrent with minimal success.  I worked as a home health nurse until the day before my son was born and then did phone triage from home on weekends for about a year afterwards.  I finally got a consistent legal client at about the same time and spent four years doing his occasional cases from home (closed that business a few months ago).  Again, it wasn't a passion and it had become quite clear that parenting my spunky kiddo was!

So... long answer to "how" I left nursing and as for why...  
High risk maternity was, eventually, wonderful for me, but it is not available outside of large centers and requires hours that would take me away from my son.
Home health nursing and legal nursing were pleasant, but never provided me the same kinds of great joy.
I adore the parenting process and have no desire to enter the current medical system as a practitioner.  I  could write for hours about all the wonderful aspects of parenting... and, voila! That's what this blog is mostly about :)

If you had to throw away either your TV or your computer, which would you choose?

It's only recently that we've actually started to use the TV again after an eight year break (and just as a screen for Wii / DVDs).  My husband and I found that the time we spent in front of the TV wasn't worth the cost in either money or time.  So, I'd definitely chuck the TV first.  We could go back to watching DVDs on the computer and the Wii's value doesn't even compare to the wonders of having the resource of the internet at my fingertips.  There are so many times when my son asks a question that Google yields the answer with fascinating pictures and details to boot!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hike in the Rain

The babysitter cancelled so... we went for a family hike.  There was a mild meltdown with the rain, but the joy returned and we completed the six miles up and down Squawk Mountain!  Here he is refueling his tanks (read on for clarification):

Other things to share:

The latest Objectivist Round Up.

Cute antics:

• maintaining he had 200 fuel tanks inside that needed refueling during our hike.  (I laughed and said we needed to operate to check this out, but he added that they were invisible.)

• enlightening us that there were many different worlds and...
Dining room, world one- Cameron is King
Cameron's room, world two - Mommy is Queen
Back yard, world three- Daddy is king

• asked about Oregon, "Do they have rights there?" (Still gets a bit confused about the difference between states and countries.)

• gleefully lifting up a piece of breafast bacon and declaring, "This is the muscle of pigs!"  (Squeamish kid?  Not yet.)

• breaking the silence of a car ride with, "It took an aweful lot of pushing to get me out."

• clearly working on childhood amnesia, he related his own birth story.  "It was black and dark and a little bit red and there were slippery slugs and then it was light and I came out.  And there was Daddy and Chad and Ginger and zoom I was four years old."

• trying for the the word exhausted, he came up with "eeegzawsted".

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Make It Less Messy

Little kids just aren't that coordinated and it takes lots of horrific disasters adorable practice for them to learn.  It doesn't take long for most parents to figure out the value of bibs, newspaper under the high chair before "art", and planning a bath following bowl/beater licking (especially when it's red velvet cake batter)!

But, as I was scanning through family photos, I thought of a few more to share :)

Use biodegradable materials outside so you don't have to worry about clean up.
A nice hosing down of the deck and we were all done!  

The same idea works for when finger paint is in order; moving it outside makes for a much more relaxing, hose-down clean up including the child in the wash down process. 
(I found leaving clothes on made the bodily hose down  a non-traumatic experience on hot days and the clothes washer doesn't mind if the clothes are already wet.)

When a coloring passion hits, cover the table with paper and give free reign to table cloth creations.   Although... the paper isn't likely to be the only spot decorated.

(There is definitely a time for them to learn about staying on a sheet of paper and cleaning up their messes, but he's less than two years old here.)

When handing over a box of extra whipped cream from The Cheesecake Factory (or another substance which can double as both body paint and food)... the bathtub is a great spot!

And finally, when exploring water is the passion of the day... turning the hose on low and letting the back yard be their play ground allows for much more exploration than a bath tub.  

Alas, I should also mention that there are times when messes shall prevail and this is one of the most endearing incidents where that occurred.  My son discovered this magical ball in the refrigerator.  You drop it and it makes this fascinating sound and turns yellow!

I caught the experiment at number two egg and prevented number three's demise :)

Happy relishing of childhood learning!



Aren't they beautiful?!?!  This is one of the butterflies we raised as a spring time treat.  Cameron received the kit for his birthday, in the fall.  But, he wanted to be able to release them outside, so we needed to wait for warmer weather.  The Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden comes with a little habitat and then you send away for the larvae when you're ready.  You get to watch the caterpillars triple in size as they eat the prepared food and then they form a chrysalis and then... they come out of the cocoon with their glorious, colorful wings.  You feed them sugar water and watch them flutter around for a few days and then you can let them go.

It was especially nice to see he him so gentle in helping them find a flower.

Other things to share:

This week's Objectivist Round Up.

Cute antics:

• "It says happy birthday because I made it early." (Explanation of a card he gave me with lots of stickers that included a few birthday ones.)
• "I did most of the work." (Andrew did say Cameron was an excellent helper making my Mothers Day breakfast, but he seemed to want all the glory :) )
• amusing sentences that have floated down from upstairs:
"Um, that muscle will be OK.  That muscle is healing after doing some work."
"A tarantula is a big spider.  Aragog was a tarantula" [Monster spider in Harry Potter, much bigger than a tarantula...  more like the size of a car.]
• telling me I'd find a present "under my desk".  (Another nice picture... he's been on a drawing kick recently.)
• making up his own acronym for our to do list, BTS.  (Bed Time Stuff)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Door Hanger Hide and Seek

So, you know how door hangers can be personalized to say all sorts of things besides "do not disturb"?  Well, I thought, wouldn't that be awesome fun to combine reading practice with hide and seek?!?!  I started with one word written on the hanger (although you could start with a word and picture to get going).  I'd put the hanger on the door and my son would count.  "1,2,3... Ready or not, here I come!" Then he'd go read the one on the door and come find me.  

Of course, it was lots of shock and surprise and laughter when he found me :)

 Didn't read it right?  He'd go back for a second look because he wouldn't usually find me without the clue.  

Then it was his turn to hide.  He'd pick one of the choices, hang it on the door and hide while I counted.  Ahhh, this is another of those mommy-successes which I hope will bring others joy as my little guy has mastered reading to the extent that it's no longer a challenge.  However, this brought many, many gales of laughter and it's easily shared with grandparents or other visiors too :)

The best part was how it blossomed as his reading grew and he was so motivated to read better and better!  (It's wonderful practice for relational concepts like "between"  or "in front" too as kids are learning those ideas.)  Here are some of the clues we came up with together that turned this game into a wild favorite:
opening and closing the dryer door while singing the hokey pokey
squeaky kissing in front of the laundry bin in Mommy and Daddy's closet
sitting on the edge of the bathtub nodding your head up and down 
squeezing the legs of the rocking chair in the library
lying on your tummy on the office table
tapping your forearms sitting in front of the kitchen sink
lying on your side next to Cameron's bed with the blankets on and the lights off
moving your elbows up and down in front of the guest room closet
Hopping between the green table and the hot tub
on your back with your eyes closed counting to ten under the dining room table
clapping your hands loudly on a stool by the fireplace

Even though it lacks the usual element of surprise, it's really a grand time.  You can get all sorts of different door hangers on Amazon and I just noticed this one is dry erase so you could practice writing!  I wonder if I can resurrect this game this weekend... seems worth a shot!  If you've invented favorite games, I'd love to hear about your successes :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010


My dear son is only six and he was flirting.  After surviving a trip with over 70 kindergardeners to the zoo, I watched as he pretended to fall asleep on his favorite classmate's shoulder.  Check out this grin!

Other things to share:
This week's Objectivist Round Up.

Cute Antics:

• informing me that he didn't want to sing with the music teacher because, "She does not have good business for me." (He was adamant that he would not sing in the kindergarden concert this week which has been the focus of music class for at least a month.  That was definitely not a battle I was interested in fighting, but the explanation didn't help much.  He also told me he doesn't like to sing with grown ups?)
• taking me up on the choice to sleep in the bathtub (He still doesn't necessarily wake up if he needs to pee at night, so I've been quite clear that he has choices of his bed (protected) or the bathtub.  He does like choices!)
• yelling as he got off the bus, "IS IT HERE?!?!?" (All I had to do was nod and he was sprinting.  He spent allowance money to buy a lego police station and has been anticipating it all week.
We finished the sixth Harry Potter book while he was doing legos.  I said, "The end" and he started pondering while picking up different pieces. He mused, "Snape killed Dumbldore.  Bad, bad, man.  You know, Snape is a bad man killing Dumbldore after saving Harry's life... bad... crazy."  (As Andrew pointed out, my reaction to the event was much more dramatic!)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Father Memories

As I was considering topics for this week's post, I thought of something that I wish I'd supported more, capturing father memories.  Mostly, I have pictures that I've taken and many documents I've written (tool) which show my marvelous husband in the father role.  But, after my son was born, I asked my husband to write up his memories.  I read it again this week and it's so endearing to me because of its distinctive aspects that I recognize as characteristic of my husband.  It's the report of an engineer.  It's precise.  It's exact.  It's so different from my writing and so powerfully him :)  I'm wondering about ways to record more of these moments for my son.  I suggested writing a letter each year at my son's birthday that just mentioned what my husband likes most about being a father and about my son.  My husband is considering that idea, but I'm certainly interested in other brief, thought-capturing options that others have found effective.  Please do share in the comments if you have a tool / technique that's worked for you :)

So, without further ado, and if you're up for a birthing story, here is my husband's account:

Andrew's Memories 
Rachel's labor began while she was sleeping at about 02:35 on 10/10/2003 when her water broke.  Apparently, Cameron had done something unusually vigorous which simultaneously broke the amnionic sack and woke Rachel up.  After a few minutes of gushing, she turned and woke me up as well. 
After a few minutes of consideration, we decided to call the hospital and figure out what their policy was.  We'd figured that they would probably want us to come in, but we hoped that we could get a few more hours of sleep first.  Alas, they wanted us to come in soon, but said that we could take our time.  Rachel got up and showered while I packed a bag of things to take with us.  As we prepared, Rachel's contractions were rather mild and between two and ten minutes apart.  Finally, at about 03:45, we left for the hospital. 
At this point, I was feeling pretty excited and confident that things were going according to plan.  I knew that with her water broken, the doctors would to want her to deliver in less than 24 hours, and I was rather excited at the prospect that before the day was out, I would meet my son.  Rachel's calmness greatly quieted my own nervousness as we drove to nearby Providence Centralia Hospital in Centralia, Washington. 
Naturally, when we arrived at the hospital, things were pretty quiet.  There was one other couple in the emergency room, and nary a hospital person around.  After a few minutes, an admitting person showed up and called down to the Family Birth Center.  A few minutes later, we were shown into room 129 and began the process of getting settled in. 
On our arrival, the unit was nearly full, and so our first nurse was soon relieved by Jodi, a short, blond, middle-aged nurse who proceeded to guide us though the sign-in paperwork.  Very soon, the questions were asked and answered, vital signs taken, and Rachel was hooked up to the Maternal/Fetal Monitor (a device with measures the fetus' heart rate and the mother's contractions). The waiting had begun. 
At this point, Rachel and I chatted about various things and passed the time.  We both marveled on a number of occasions at how quickly the time was passing.  Rachel's contractions weren't severe, and it seemed as though things were progressing well. 
Around the change-of-shift, our nurse came in and said that she'd probably hand us off to another nurse, and thus we were introduced to our third nurse, Karen.  Karen was a tall, stocky, friendly woman who at once seemed very eager to help and was all business.  She was to be our nurse for the full day-shift: until 18:30. 
Having contacted the obstetrician (OB), she told us that Rachel's regular doctor, Dr. Yarter, was unavailable and that Dr. Demun was the doctor on call.  With much foresight, Rachel had scheduled one of her previous OB appointments with Dr. Demun (knowing that he was Dr. Yarter's back-up), and she found him to be extremely easy-going and pleasant if a bit rough with his Leopold Maneuvers (at type of pre-natal examination). 
It was about this point when Rachel got off the monitor and had her first vaginal exam. Rachel found this particularly uncomfortable, and I did the best I could to comfort her.  The nurse declared that she was about 2cm and 70% effaced. (The cervix, the opening from the uterus to the vagina, is normally several centimeters long and is completely closed.  During labor, it must reduce in length to paper-thin and open to 10cm.  The contractions serve to perform this function, and you can well imagine that it's not very comfortable). 
After the exam, Rachel was taken off the monitor and allowed to walk about.  We began what was to be a very common sight in the hospital over the next hours: Rachel and I walking along the hallways, stopping occasionally while Rachel had another contraction.  During these contractions, we would face each other, and she would place her head on my chest and sway back and forth. Meanwhile, I would massage her arms, shoulders or head.  When it was over, we'd simply continue down the hall. 
After a few hours, we returned to the room where Rachel got out the birthing ball (a rubber ball about three feet in diameter which is sturdy enough for an adult to sit upon), and tried it out. At first, she tried bouncing on it vertically, but found that this wasn't terribly helpful. After a bit of consideration, she tried simply bouncing very gently, and rocking back and forth during contractions. This was nearly as good as walking/swaying, and it allowed her to get off her feet. 
This was the pattern for most of her labor. She'd get an exam, use the birthing ball while she was hooked up to the monitor for a half-hour, and we'd head out walking for a few hours when she was done.  Eventually, we'd head back to the room to start things over again. The nurse, Karen, conducted the exams and got Rachel set up with the monitor, but Rachel did quite a bit of adjustment while peeking at the strips. 
For the first two-thirds of the labor (about 12 hours) we remarked about how quickly the time seemed to pass. Just thinking that we'd meet our son pretty soon, and the excitement of the situation seemed to make things go quickly for both of us. Rachel was dealing well with her contractions, and had figured out several techniques to make contractions bearable. I was focused exclusively on what Rachel needed and helping her though every contraction. Rachel made sure that I ate (sometimes extra trays of hospital food, sometimes stuff bought in the cafeteria) even though she wasn't hungry (not that they would have let her eat, anyway). 
The first exam at 4 AM showed her at about 2cm, 70% effaced, with Cameron in -2 station (the relative position of the baby's head to the mother's pubic bone. Negative numbers are above the pubic bone, 0 is lined up exactly, and +4 is the position at birth). Early on, Dr. Demun floated the idea of giving pitocin (a drug with induces contractions) which I knew was definitely not in Rachel's plan. She very politely refused the offer. This did, however, plant a certain amount of urgency to the labor... she was quite certain that she didn't want any intervention which wasn't absolutely necessary! Throughout the day, she made progress with effacement, but very little progress with dilation; she was only dilated to 3cm by her 15:00 check, but she'd gotten to 95% effaced and Cameron had settled down to a 0 station. We were somewhat disappointed by this news, but we kept hopeful that things were still moving in the right direction. The specter of intervention loomed larger... 
The next two hours proved to be the hardest part for me. By this point, I'd been helping Rachel for quite a few hours on little sleep and little food.  My back was terribly sore, and I just wanted to lay down for a bit. However, there's very rightly little sympathy for my part in all this, and I kept on giving Rachel all the help I could despite my own discomfort; she certainly had much more claim to sympathy than I! We spent most of this time in the room with Rachel on the birthing ball with me sitting or standing in front or behind her. For a while, we'd just rest our heads on each other's shoulders between contractions and sleep for the few minutes we had. 
My most frightening moment happened during this time as well. Rachel was on the sitting on the birthing ball hooked up to the monitor, and I was sitting directly in front of her on a stool.  We were both exhausted, and Rachel was getting some fitful sleep between contractions by resting on my chest.  I happened to be facing the monitor, and having been taught by such an expert as my wife, was able to interpret the squiggles as the state of our son. After one contraction, as I watched the machine, I could see his heart rate start to slip (one of the primary signs of trouble is a deceleration of the fetal heart rate after a contraction).  Starting at a normal and healthy 130, it starting falling by bits... 120, 110, 100, 90, 70...  I was getting starting to feel tinges of panic; should I wake Rachel and cause her the same panic? Should I call the nurse? How could I do so without waking Rachel?  Just as I was getting to the point of jumping up, the nurse flew into the room and proceeded to take charge of the situation.  Changing positions and getting Rachel moving around again produced a dramatic improvement as the baby's heart rate jumped back up to where it belonged. After a while longer on the monitor, he showed all the signs of recovery and no ill effects. Whew! Rachel says that such events - while potentially dangerous if left unchecked - are quite common, and most women experience them at some point during labor. Well, common or no, it sure got my adrenaline going! 
The next exam at around five o'clock showed Rachel dilated to 5cm and at 100% effaced. Finally, some progress! Dr. Demun had turned up shortly after this particular exam and was quite pleased with this turn of events. He said that pitocin was probably not going to be necessary, but that if she went beyond 18 hours (20:35) it would be advisable to give her some IV antibiotics. This was yet another step that Rachel wanted to avoid, and yet another incentive to keep with it! 
After the doctor and nurse left, Rachel's contractions took a definite turn. They became a little further apart, but much more powerful. Change of shift came and went, and we were introduced to our new nurse.  Denise was somewhat shorter than Karen, and more petite. Her ready smile and pixie-like features reminded me very strongly of one of our friends from Connecticut, Kim Turner. And although our previous nurse had done a great job, Denise's extremely caring attitude was very welcome. 
Shortly before 19:00 we took a short trip down to the cafeteria to get me some dinner. When we got back, it was time for another exam, and this time she was 10cm and fully effaced! Time to get down to business! 
At this point, I remember feeling a huge surge of adrenaline... In just a short while I'd meet my son! Rachel seemed to take the news considerably more calmly as she was still very focused on pain management and just getting through everything.  I think she was at least a little excited, though. 
With a flurry of activity, and due to the change of shift a new nurse, Denise, the room was prepared for delivery.  Out went the normal chairs and tables; in came the doctor's table with all the tools of his trade.  A birthing bar, a simple padded, metal tube, was placed across the bed to allow Rachel to kneel during the pushing stage, and Rachel clambered up on the bed. The stage was set. 
For the next few contractions, Rachel valiantly tried to push while kneeling on the bed. This was a definite change in difficulty as Rachel now had to really focus on that area instead of thinking about something else. After a few contractions and deliberate efforts to push, Denise sagely noted that Rachel really wasn't making the kind of progress she should. Aptly suggesting that Rachel may be better off lying on her back, something she'd wanted to avoid, she managed to convince Rachel that it really would be a better option. Gingerly, and with considerable skepticism, Rachel lay back and took on the next few contractions. Sure enough, Denise knew her stuff, and Rachel made very noticeable progress in the new position. Before too long, Dr. Demun arrived fully scrubbed and dressed in medical garb. 
By this point, one could see the crown of Cameron's head when Rachel pushed, but he slid out of view when she stopped. With Dr. Demun present, Rachel continued her amazing performance.  Before too long, the head remained in view whether she was pushing or not, and eventually one could see more and more. 
Rachel's true grit really began to show as the baby descended lower toward his ultimate destination. One began to clearly see Rachel's body bulge and stretch as he came closer and closer. Though it all, Rachel kept her cool, but was very clearly in great pain and distress. While not quite able to speak more than a word or two distinctly, she communicated volumes in determination and self-control as she panted, grunted, and strained though the contractions. Never once did she begin to lose her focus, and with miraculous self-control, she forced herself to relax and go limp between contractions. 
In what seemed like only a few moments, but was really the better part of a half-hour, Cameron was born. First, one could only see the abundant growth of dark, curly hair on the back of his head. Then, after a mighty push and a loud, rumbling groan, one could see his head up to the eyebrows. With another push, he was clear up to the neck, and the nurse cleared his airways with a suction bulb. Another push and a little tactical assistance from Dr. Demun cleared one shoulder, then another, and then in one swift motion Cameron was drawn out into the light! 
Relief, amazement, joy, and a dozen other emotions fought for dominance as Cameron's body dangled in the air before me. I don't think I'll ever forget that first sight of my son. Though it was only a second, that moment will be etched in my mind forever. Within moments, I had cut the cord, and he was placed on Rachel's bared chest and covered with a blanket. For long moments we were both too stunned to do much more than just stare at the new arrival. The placenta was delivered nearly as an afterthought, and Dr. Demun started to repair the few minor tears Rachel had suffered.  Meanwhile, the nurse had taken Cameron and had started to weigh, measure and otherwise perform the first few necessary care items. Once the first few of these was done, she handed him to me. 
When the nurse placed that neatly wrapped bundle in my arms, and he looked up at me, it just felt right. Despite previous feelings of uneasiness holding small babies, holding my own son seemed very natural and easy. As I held him and walked about the room, Dr. Demun continued to repair Rachel's wounds while she chatted easily with him about a number of light topics. I joined in after a while, and finally the mess was cleared away, Cameron placed on a warmer, and Rachel's bed was once again converted to a place for sleeping with a nicer mattress for Rachel's bed and a roll-away cot for me. 
Once the room had been fully converted back into a sleeping chamber, the nurse returned to determine that Cameron had sufficiently warmed up to take a bath.  I decided to film the bath, and once I was ready, the started to unwrap him... and he immediately began to pee all over her! One gets the impression that this wasn't the first time since she took everything with good humor and merely proceeded to give his bath. Once finished, he was wrapped up and placed in the bassinet, and after a little while talking, Rachel and I decided to call it a day. 
In hindsight, one must admit that the experience wasn't nearly so bad as I had expected.  Certainly, it was very difficult, long, and trying (and that was just my side of things!), but overall, the stories one hears were much worse than our experience. I have to say that Rachel's neigh-heroic bravery made the difference. Through each contraction, she simply focused her mind on what she needed to do and never faltered. She had her plan and persevered through it all. I knew my wife to be an amazing person, but I have never personally witnessed such resolve and determination. And it is that strength, purpose and resolve that makes me love her as much as I do. 

New daddy and son, shortly after the finale at 8:35pm

Saturday, May 1, 2010

History Delight

I so highly recommend Scott Powell's "First History for Adults" courses and, now, my son is getting a taste of his delightful approach to history!  Cameron absolutely loved the first painting / discussion!

Other things to share:
This week's Objectivist Round up!

Cute antics:

• playing battleship which was fun until he turned his board a bit and I noticed one of his ships hanging off the grid!  
• leaving the light on in my car so that I had the pleasure of meeting a friendly AAA man (That was actually last week, but it wasn't funny yet.)
• deciding a new reading therapy I'm considering would be called Camp Kookooskoos (The one from The Trumpet of the Swan.)
• getting up from a breakfast of bison sausage, scrambled duck eggs and bacon with a gleeful declaration, "I'm full of yummies!"
• informing me that at 8:30pm he was going to teach divination. (Of all the teachers from Harry Potter to pick, I wouldn't have expected him to identify with the ethereal, phony fortune teller!  Then he informed me that his version of divination involved legos teaching which made more sense.)
• mastering substitutions so well for pattern matching that I gave basic algebra a try and he picked it right up?!?!?
• declaring, as a teenage waitress walked away after taking our order, "She's not a grown up!"
• completing a talent chart in his room based on what different zoo book animals were good at except, he used our family!
Cameron's talent: legos
Daddy's talent: strong
Mommy's talent: heart (which he clarified meant that I had good body talk that made him feel good).