Thursday, July 27, 2006


So is it normal to worry about your child all the time?

I know that my parents say that they still worry about me to this day. They always want me to call them when I return home from a trip, to let them know that I arrived safely. I always sort of rolled my eyes at that (but complied) until William was born. Now I'm the mom who tiptoes into the baby's room to make sure that he's still breathing. I'm the one who worries that maybe I didn't swaddle him right, that the blanket will get wedged up around his face and that he will smother to death, and it will be all my fault.

Last night, David dressed William in his footy pajamas and cotton blanket and put him to bed aroun 9 p.m. We didn't hear a peep out of him again until about ten minutes 'til 4. But I woke up several times between 1 and 4, worrying that he wasn't okay. I fretted that he had stopped breathing, that something horrific had happened. I worried because the nursery monitor isn't sensitive enough to pick up the sounds of a baby breathing quietly, so the monitor did me no good.

All the info that I had read about SIDS swirled around in my head, even though we had taken all the correct steps to reduce the likelihood. There are no pillows, no loose fabrics in the crib, no soft toys to fall over on the baby's mouth and cut off his airway. The bumpers ere tied tightly to the rails of the crib. The room was cool, and the baby was wearing a sleeper that fits him perfectly (no extra material to get caught up by his neck and mouth).

I had to make myself not get up and check on William. That's despite the fact that I was exhausted and just wanted some uninterrupted sleep. That's despite the fact taht I moan and groan over the nights when he does wake up at 1 or 2, wailing for someone to feed him or soothe him or just love him.

It was a weird relief when I finally heard William cry out at ten minutes 'til 4, ready for a pre-dawn meal. I groped for my slippers on the floor and made my way to his room to find him pink-faced, waving his arms and kicking up his legs, healthy as can be.

Does this crazy worrying lessen once I get used to him sleeping in his own room? After all, we just put William in his own room about a week ago? Am I eventually going to be able to enjoy the wonderful nights when the baby sleeps for long stretches--and I will be able to, too? Will I stop worrying about him breathing at night and start worrying about other things? How on earth do you parents do this, when the worries begin to cluster at the base of your brain when you're trying to sleep? How do you ever get anything done?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Too cold? Too hot? How do you get "just right"?

I'm learning that parenthood, at its very essence, is a series of trials and errors.

Take William's bath last night. My role in bathtime is to run the bathwater in the tub and pick out a clean towel and washcloth for William, while David takes off the baby's clothes and gives him the actual bath (with musical accompaniment, of course). For two nights in a row, David worried aloud that I had run the bathwater too cold. So last night, I turned up the heat a little. I put the little temperature-gauge rubber ducky in the tub and turned on the water.

Well, when the water is too hot, you're supposed to see the word "HOT" appear on the bottom of the rubbery ducky. But I guess I either didn't leave the ducky in the water long enough or just didn't see the warning before giving the bathwater the Larson Seal of Approval.

David plopped the chubby little guy into his tub, only to see William's little face start quivering.

"His eyes, like, popped open, and his poor little lower lip started shaking," said a protective Papa Bear Wyckoff.

I guess it was a bit too hot. David urgently called me into the bathtub and expressed his outrage over the too-warm water. Clutching a wet naked William, he inquired whether I had even glanced at the rubber ducky's bottom and wondered, with great drama, what would happen to his medical license if someone called Child Protective Services on him for giving his child a bath in scalding water.

I swear the water was not scalding! It was just, er, maybe a few degrees too warm. But I'll admit that I have a history of not getting the bathwater the precise right temperature (read back if you don't remember William's first bath in the sink), so I guess maybe David had a teeny-weeny point.

In the meantime, William had made his own point about his discomfort. He peed all over his daddy's shirt while he was waiting for his new bathwater. (Hee hee.)

I sighed and ran some cool water into the tub and swirled it around. I invited Mr. Rubber Ducky to pronounce the water acceptable, then waved the boys back into the water. Order was restored, William got his bath, and all was right with the world.

At least for one night.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Three months already?

Happy Three Month Birthday, William!

In some ways, it just doesn't seem possible that three months have passed since that bright Saturday morning in April when Dr. Souther put a brand-new William on my belly and David sagged in relief that we were all okay. In other ways, it seems like much more time has passed. It's hard to really explain. So much has happened in the three months of William's life, and yet, here I am, in the exact same place, if not the exact same person. I guess William's not the exact same person either, though, so it makes sense.

William's three month birthday was mostly an uneventful day. Mostly, we just hung out at home. We watched "Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit," read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and played with the activity mat.

William took a couple of short naps in his bouncy seat, too.

And of course, like a big boy, William went to bed in his crib in his own room. For the second night in a row. I have to admit that I cried a little this morning when I started moving his stuff out of our room. I had been keeping a stack of onesies and sleepers on my dresser, since he slept in our room. Now that he's in his big boy crib, I figured it was time to move those remaining outfits into his room, too. Now the only thing that remains in our room is the actual Pack n Play, with one blanket, a binky, and a couple of diapers and wipes. My little boy is growing up. He's getting so independent, sleeping in his own room all by himself like that!


Friday, July 21, 2006

Transition time

We're making a major change tonight. I hope that William is ready for it. In honor of his three-month birthday tomorrow (April 22), we are going to put him to bed tonight in his crib in his own room.

He's been sleeping in his Pack n Play in our room since we brought him home from the hospital. It has a bassinette insert, but it's only designed to hold babies up to 15 pounds. I don't know what William's current weight is, but I know it's upward of 13 pounds, so it's about time. We actually hadn't intended on keeping him in our room this long, but it just sort of turned out that way. It was easier to keep him with us as long as he was waking up multiple times each night to nurse. Now that he's flirting with a more normal (well, more normal for adults) sleeping schedule, we're going to transition him to his regular crib.

The crib's been ready and waiting for months. In early April, David set up the crib over the course of a couple weekends (a long boring story involving a broken part and instructions that were practically written in Greek), and then I dressed the crib with Pottery Barn Kids choo choo train linens. We didn't have the Pack n Play ready for him when he was born, but the crib's been ready for ages. William's taken short naps in there for the past month or so, but we've never put him down for the night in there. I don't know how he will react to it. But it's definitely time. I don't relish the idea of staggering down the darkened hallway to his room to feed him in the middle of the night, but he makes noises at night that wakes both of us up even when he doesn't actually wake up to eat. So hopefully David and I will sleep better overall when William's in his own room. Those may be famous last words, but we're going to try it anyway. If we have to bring him back into our room into the Pack n Play in the middle of the night tonight, we'll do that.

Anyway, wish us luck.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

More photos from the Natchez trip

At First Presbyterian with Grandaddy Johnny and Mama Judi.

Hanging out in his bouncy chair away from home.

Snuggling with Mama Judi.

Getting ready for church in his train outfit with Mommy.

Three generations of Williams.

With Mama Lou, his great-grandmother.

Glad to be home with Daddy once again!

Home again, home again

William and I returned safely home to the desert last night. Our tour of Natchez was succesfully completed, albeit a week after we originally thought it would be completed. We stayed an extra week, due to the wildfires that were ravaging parts of Morongo Valley and Yucca Valley, not far from 29 Palms. Luckily, the fires never endangered our town, nor did they even necessitate the closing of the main road that goes from Palm Springs to 29 Palms. But I worried anyway, and I felt better, not trying to make it back last week, when the fires were not under control at all, and a sudden shift in the wind could wreak even more havoc.

I have to admit that I enjoyed the extra time away. We took a day trip up to Vicksburg to see my grandparents, and I got to eat a few more shrimp po'boys. And I got spoiled, having Mom to help me out with the baby. I was making a list of all the stuff that I did while I was away: I visited Magnolia Hall, one of the gorgeous antebellum mansions on tour in Natchez, I went to Vicksburg, I saw my grandparents, I went to church twice, I saw fireworks over the Mississippi, I met a lot of my parents' friends and neighbors, and I got to eat catfish, beignets and shrimp a whole bunch of times. All in all, a very nice trip.

And William got to spend a lot of time with his maternal grandparents.
I think he was a hit, too. He sure did smile at his grandparents an awful lot! And much to my mock chagrin, Daddy's magic touch came through. If William was wailing and "turning into a tomato," then all Daddy had to do was pick him up, and carry him around the house for a few minutes, murmuring softly to him. Zonk. Sleeping baby. And here I was, looking forward to William ruining Daddy's perfect record with crying babies during their baptisms. Well. October is still three months away. A lot can happen between now and then.

So I hated to leave Mom and Daddy, but I was glad to return home to my husband. Poor David: William slept all the way home from the airport, but as soon as I took him out of his carseat to put him to bed, he started objecting. Loudly. What a nice way to greet your daddy after not seeing him for two whole weeks, huh?

Now, we are really looking forward to our trip to Holden Beach, NC, with David's parents and the Bryans, McDonoughs and all their kids. In fact, we've been looking forward to it since we got home last year! But now I'm especially looking forward to it, because it will be fun to introduce William to everyone. And I can't wait for William to log in some quality time with his paternal grandparents. I think Diane is going to be amazed with how much he has changed since she cuddled a six-day-old William in her arms! He's smiling and laughing and cooing now, and he has so much more personality. At the time, I didn't realize how little and puffy William looked during that first week or so, but now I look at those pictures, and I marvel at how much he has changed.

Oh yes. Here's a picture of William with my father. This is a record of his first visit to a casino. Oh, don't worry. We're not introducing him to gambling at this tender age. My grandparents love to eat dinner at the buffet at one of the casinos, so we did that on our trip to Vicksburg. No gambling at all!

I'll post some more pictures from our visit as soon as I can get them downloaded.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Reverting to past behaviors

Okay, I guess I spoke or wrote too soon.

William was back to his usual tricks last night. Go to sleep, wake up at 3:30, demand to eat, go back to sleep, wake up two hours later, demand to be fed, etc. I brought him into the bed with me around 6:40 a.m., hoping that he would nurse and then fall asleep next to me. Which he did...for a little while. When he decided it was really time to be awake for the day, he started talking. I don't exactly know what he was saying, but I think "ohhhhh, ohhhh, awwww" probably translates into something like, "Jolly jump up, Mama. Time's a-wasting." And he was wriggling around like Gollum's fish, kicking and squirming next to me. When I finally gave up and decided to get up, I leaned over him. There he was, wide awake and adorable in his little gingham sleeper. He saw me looking at him, and he beamed one of those huge gummy toothless grins up at me. Little stinker.

But like I posted earlier, I figured that it would be like this. He won't even be three months old until this coming Saturday, after all. So I'm not too discouraged, although am I pretty tired. And I remember when it was a huge ordeal each evening to get him to go to sleep. I also remember when three or four hours of sleep in an entire night would have been a major victory. So it's all about keeping things in perspective.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Oops, he did it again

Hey, I don't give William nearly enough credit sometimes. Once again, he slept through the night!

It was similar to the night before last: he went to sleep after a bath and nursing session, probably about 10 p.m. He fussed and grunted for a little while around 3:30, then fell back asleep on his own, while I listened to him, poised to jump and grab him if he began to really cry so we wouldn't wake up my parents. Then he woke up for real, starving for breakfast at 6:15.
AND he behaved himself through the entire church service and almost the entire post-service luncheon, too. AND he looked gorgeous in his little train outfit. Okay, I thought he looked gorgeous, but then, I am hardly a reliable source on that matter. (Miller, if you are out there reading this, or any of my English major friends, I guess that makes me an unreliable narrator, eh?)

I admit, I feel so much better about being a mother when things are going well. When William sleeps, or naps, or coos at me, I just feel so happy. He grins at me, and like Pavlov's dog, I automatically grin back. But there are times, like this past Wednesday, when I just fall to pieces. I guess it's just part of the learning process. William's never been a baby before, so he doesn't always know what to do, and that goes double for me as a new parent. We're rookies together. I wonder, does it get easier with the second baby? Do parents with more than one child ever second-guess what they're doing, even though they've done it before? Or is it easier to just go with the flow, so to speak?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Major announcement

Attention! If, for some strange reason, you happen to be standing up while you read this blog, please take a seat. You need to be seated for this news.

Everyone all settled now? Okay, good.

Ahem. I would like to announce that William--yes, the William David Wyckoff--slept through the night last night.

Did you get that? Here, let me repeat it. William slept through the night last night.

Mom, Daddy and I piled in the car and drove up to Vicksburg yesterday afternoon to go to their credit union and then meet Mama Lou and Grandaddy Bill for dinner. We had dinner at the Ameristar casino down on the river (yes, my 12-week-old son visited his first casino, a day after I took him to his first bar), then came back to Natchez. I gave William a quick bath, fed him, then put him down to sleep around 10:40. He played in his bassinette for a few minutes, then dropped off to sleep. I went to bed around 11:30 and woke up around 4:15, anticipating that William was going to wake up for a feeding. Around 4:30, he began to fuss and grunt, but he didn't break into full-scale crying. Tired, I just stayed in bed and listened to him. After 10 minutes or so of fussing, he began to quiet down on his own and went back to sleep. He woke up for real at 6:30, dirty and hungry. But since I didn't have to actually get out of bed and nurse him for 30 minutes in the middle of the night, I consider that to be an all-night sleeping episode.

Can you believe it?

Now, I'm realistic. With a young baby, everything is two steps forward, one step back. And sometimes, it's more of a matter of temporarily marching in place: one step forward, one step back until the baby decides it's time to finally move on. So I don't expect this sleeping-all-night thing, as glorious as it is, to be a regular event for awhile. William is still pretty young, not even three months old yet. But I will take it as a good sign that he CAN sleep through the night and that hopefully he WILL do it again someday. (Someday soon, ideally.) There have been nights where I wondered if I'd ever get a decent night's sleep ever again. I'm still tired because of the cumulative sleep deficit, and because I didn't really get that much sleep last night, but still! I can think of a million cliches to describe the feeling: the light at the end of the tunnel, etc.

By the way, William is crying right now. He did go back to sleep at 7 a.m. for an hour, then he played with Grandma, then ate again. I tried to put him back to sleep again, but he knows that he slept all night long, and he wasn't buying it. He's a funny little guy.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I often mention William's little meltdowns. They're a pretty common occurrence, given that he's just about 12 weeks old. They're to be expected when he gets overtired or hungry. His little pink lower lip trembles, then he pokes it out as far as he can. His face turns tomato red. His forehead wrinkles, and he arches his back. He begins to cry. "Mmmmwwaaaaah!" Then it escalates. If we're in public, people smile at first. Then they begin to look concerned--then alarmed. You half expect the lights to flicker off and on and the floors to shake.

But I'm 31. I'm not supposed to have meltdowns, right? I'm the Mommy. I'm supposed to be calm, cool and collected, ready with a binky or a clean diaper. I'm supposed to be in charge. Nothing should ruffle me. Right?

Ha. Just when I'm thinking that I'm doing so well, something happens, and I just temporarily lose it.

Today's adult meltdown was brought to you courtesy of a lack of sleep and a less-than-desirable haircut. I was looking a little shaggy, so Mom took me to get my hair cut at her local salon. Unfortunately, the appointment was at 8 a.m., and I'd been awake most of the minutes between 5:30 and 8 a.m., dealing with a baby who was alternately hungry and fussy. I arrived at the salon in shaky condition. So I don't know exactly where the breakdown in communication happened, but somehow my hair ended up a lot shorter than I really anticipated. As I gazed at myself in the mirror, the tears began to well up, and I began to sob, right there in the salon chair, the brown plastic robe still draped around my shoulders. I'd always said that I would never ever get a Mom haircut, and suddenly, I was looking at myself with a haircut that was, if not a Mom haircut, at least an Aunt haircut. And not the cool aunt with the trendy clothes, the iPod and the convertible, either. No, I resembled the aunt who takes her two young children to the park to play soccer on Saturday mornings while she sips Starbucks and chats on her cell phone.

I was just so, so tired, and now my long hair was gone, too. (It's still about shoulder length, so I guess it could be worse.) I missed my husband. I was stressed out from worrying about the massive wildfires blazing out of control a few dozen miles from my home in California. It was too much for a woman who hadn't even had a Diet Coke yet that morning.

So the tears fell. Meanwhile, William took a cue from his mama and sobbed on his grandma's shoulder in the waiting area. I emerged from the working part of the salon and cried some more. I took William from Mom, and we cried together.

A woman I don't even know came over to take the baby from me. She put him up against her shoulder and began to murmur to him, walking around the salon and soothing him. All of sudden, various women are telling me that it's just not easy to be a new mama, and that it'll be okay. The first woman came back over to me, handed the baby to my mom, and then hugged me.

I feel a little silly, having cried in public. I'll fully admit to having cried over a bad haircut in the past, but certainly not in the salon itself. But I just felt so overwhelmed. When I'm tired, the little things that would never ordinarily trip me up just loom so large. My hair will grow. I can wear a hat. The haircut really is not that bad. But when a hungry baby wakes you up every few hours, just as you're in the midst of a REM sleep cycle....well, it takes its toll after awhile. Even if the baby in question is a darling little guy with big navy eyes and chubby little pink cheeks.

The stylist graciously allowed me to come back to the salon later this afternoon, and she trimmed things up. I look better. I feel a little better. I'm still tired, but I guess I'm still in one piece. I guess it's okay to have a bad moment every one in awhile. I hope the next one comes when I'm not in public, though.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The flight

Hey, we made it!

William and I successfully navigated the friendly skies on Thursday, arriving safely in Baton Rouge, where my parents happily greeted us. And we only had one major blowout along the way. I completely lucked out and got to bring along the car seat on both legs of the flight, so William had a seat of his own in which to sit. That was a godsend. Almost everyone we encountered was really nice. Interestingly enough, the most common type of person to ask me if I could use some help was the little old lady contingent. I guess they've been there themselves and remember what it was like.

As for the major blowout, knew there would have to be one. I'm sure the people in the first class cabin weren't too thrilled to see me parade down the aisle, holding a poopy and wailing William at arms length in front of me, though. He was gross. I will not horrify y'all with the details except to say that he completely ruined his darling little plaid outfit that I had specifically selected for him to wear to meet Grandaddy Johnny and Mama Judi. The flight attendant (Roxanne on American Airlines-- should you ever encounter her, please be nice to her) was so helpful to me during that little episode. I am really grateful for people like that who helped make the trip better for me. I was so nervous and harried about flying with a little baby, and really, so many people were so nice. Sure, I got a few nervous looks from people who were surely thinking "Oh, no, is he going to cry like that the whole time?" but on the whole, most people complimented me on how beautiful William is or commiserated with me on the travails of traveling cross country with a baby. One lady watched William for me while I ran to the airplane bathroom, and her four-year-old son solemnly offered to share his candy with William. Another flight attendant cooed over William, and a college student asked if he could put my bags in the overhead bin for me. Seriously, this sort of thing restores your faith in humanity. I am really lucky. Please, God, let the return flight be half as smooth.

I don't know if William really appreciated the fact that he got a window seat twice, but I sure did appreciate the fact that I got an extra seat for him on both flights. And I'm grateful that we arrived safely. We both miss David, though. William has been looking a little, er, concerned about my singing skills during his nightly bath. I don't think he's too impressed; I can practically hear him thinking, "I love her, but thank goodness that Daddy is the one who gives me my regular bath."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Look, it's the whole family!

We were hanging out at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego on Sunday afternoon, after attending a baseball game. David and I had ice cream, and William people-watched. A balmy ocean breeze blew over us, while we listened to people splashing in the pool and the live band playing Jimmy Buffett tunes. We gawked at the bridal party members who streamed through the breezeway next to the ice cream shop, and we felt the heat of the sun, still hot on our backs and arms at 6 p.m.

It was fun to take William there. David and I have been visiting the Hotel Del ever since our first trip to San Diego together in 2000. Even when we lived in San Diego, we often drove over the bridge to spend a couple of hours on Coronado. We even spent part of Christmas afternoon there in 2002. We also stayed at the hotel itself for our first anniversary in 2003; David took me there as a surprise.

So, since it could be considered one of our usual spots, it was only natural to bring our new son there, too. It was the perfect way to cap off our first weekend trip as a new family. William won't remember these things, but I will. I'll file these little snippets of memories away in my mind, along with the slightly damp feel of the wind blowing over the ocean. I'll tell him about them, years from now, and show him the pictures.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Take me out to the ballgame

Along with our friend Kristin, we took William to his very first baseball game on Sunday, July 2. He took in the San Diego Padres losing to the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park in San Diego. Naturally, it was his mommy's pitcher (Chris Young for you aficionados out there) for her fantasy team who took the loss.

But not only did he get to attend his very first major league baseball game, William also got a free glove! The team gives away trinkets as promotional items for a number of home games, and Sunday's giveaway was a baseball glove for children 14 and younger. At ten weeks old, William definitely qualifies in that category. So they gave David a glove for William, who was asleep in his Baby Bjorn. Here's a picture of David holding William and William's very first baseball glove. Note that the glove is larger than William is. I guess he'll grow into it. Someday. A long time from now. Sadly, no one hit any fly balls to David, so the glove is William's only souvenir of the day. Still, not bad, eh?

Anyway, even though he slept through most of the game, including the half-inning when Chris Young melted down, I think William mostly enjoyed himself. Okay, he wasn't too happy when we first got there (see second picture), but he settled down after a little while and seemed to do just fine. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, his daddy got to eat a hotdog, and we all sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch.

The ushers were very kind to us, helping us find a spot in the shade so William wouldn't have to sit in the bright sun for more than a few minutes (long enough to have his picture taken). All in all, a pretty good day. Too bad the Padres lost.